The Code Of Conduct And Ethics
1.1. Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Information and Freedom of Content Creation, Publication and Expression, whether in print, in hypertext, in audio or video are basic elements of a democracy. The ability to produce and distribute independent content is among the most important rights in a democratic society.
1.2. Content Creators have important functions in that they carry information, debate and critical commentary on current affairs. Content Creators are particularly responsible for allowing different and independent views to be expressed.
1.3. Content Creators shall protect the freedom of speech, the freedom of Content Creation and the principle of access to any and all information that pertains to the public. They cannot yield to any pressure from anybody who might want to prevent open debates, the free flow of information and free access to sources. Agreements concerning exclusive event reporting shall not preclude independent news reporting.
1.4. It is the right of any Content Creator to carry information on what goes on in society and to uncover and disclose matters, which ought to be subjected to criticism. It is a Content Creator obligation to shed critical light on how Content Creators including individuals, the established press, media in general and themselves exercise their role.
1.5. As citizens and members of a free and democratic society Content Creators have an obligation to to protect individuals and groups against injustices or neglect, committed by public authorities and institutions, private concerns, or others.
- Integrity and Responsibility
2.1. The Content Creator carries personal and full responsibility for the material contained in the publication, no matter the form.
2.2. All Content Creators must guard their own integrity and credibility in order to be free to act independently of any persons or groups who – for ideological, economic or other reasons – might want to exercise an influence over editorial matters.
2.3. When accepting commissions or offices, financial support, gifts, preferential treatment or employment that create or could be perceived as creating conflicts of interest or bias in relation to content creation it is the obligation of the Content Creator to make such relations known in such a way that those who access the content are aware of potential conflicts or biases. Be open on matters that could influence the Content Creator’s credibility as an independent observer.
2.4. Reject any attempt to break down the clear distinction between advertisements and independent, unbiased content. Advertisements intended to imitate or exploit an editorial product, should be turned down, as should advertisements undermining trust in the Content Creator’s integrity and the independence of Content Creators in general.
2.5. Never promise editorial favours in return for advertisements. As an Independent Content Creator all materials should be published as a result of editorial considerations alone. See to it that the vital distinction between independent content creation and commercial communication is being maintained when publishing web links.
2.6. When sponsorship or relationships to the subject matter affect content creation, the Content Creator is no longer an independent observer but an active participant in the subject
matter. This must be communicated to those that access the content in a clear and objective manner.
- Content Creator Conduct and Relations with the Sources
3.1. The source of information must, as a rule, be identified, unless this conflicts with source protection or consideration for a third party.
3.2. Be critical in the choice of sources, and make sure that the information provided is correct. It is good press practice to aim for diversity and relevance in the choice of sources. If anonymous sources are used, or the publication is offered exclusivity, especially stringent requirements must be imposed on the critical evaluation of the sources. Particular caution should be exercised when dealing with information from anonymous sources, information from sources offering exclusivity, and information provided from sources in return for payment.
3.3. The Content Creator should always clarify the terms on which an interview is being carried out. This also pertains to adjacent research.
3.4. The protection of sources is a basic principle in a free society and is a prerequisite for the ability of the Content Creators to fulfil their duties towards society and ensure the access to essential information.
3.5. Do not divulge the name of a person who has provided information on a confidential basis, unless consent has been explicitly given by the person concerned.
3.6. In consideration of the sources and the independence of Content Creators, unpublished material as a main rule should not be divulged to third parties.
3.7. It is the duty of Content Creators to report the intended meaning in quotes from an interview. Direct quotes must be accurate and interpretations must be stated as such.
3.8. Changes of a given statement should be limited to corrections of factual errors. The intended meaning of given statements must be communicated as intended by the source.
3.9. Proceed tactfully in journalistic research. In particular show consideration for people who cannot be expected to be aware of the effect that their statements may have. Never abuse the emotions or feeling of other people, their ignorance or their lack of judgment. Remember that people in shock or grief are more vulnerable than others.
- Publication Rules
4.1. Make plain what is factual information and what is comment.
4.2. Always respect a person’s character and identity, privacy, race, nationality and belief. Never draw attention to personal or private aspects if they are irrelevant.
4.3. Make sure that headlines, introductions and leads do not go beyond what is being related in the text.
4.4. Always reveal your source when the information is quoted from or based on other content creators including the general media.
4.5. In particular avoid presumption of guilt in crime and court reporting. Make it evident that the question of guilt, whether relating to somebody under suspicion, reported, accused or charged, has not been decided until the sentence has legal efficacy. It is a part of good press conduct to report the final result of court proceedings, which have been reported earlier.
4.6. Always consider how reports on accidents and crime may affect the victims and next-of-kin of both victims and the accused. Do not identify victims or missing persons unless next-of-kin have been informed. Show consideration towards people in grief or at times of shock.
4.7. Be cautious in the use of names and photographs and other clear identifiers of persons in referring to contentious or punishable matters. Special caution should be exercised when reporting cases at the early stage of investigation, cases concerning young offenders and cases in which an identifying report may place an unreasonable burden on a third party. Identification must be founded on a legitimate need for information. It may, for instance, be legitimate to identify someone where there is imminent danger of assault on defenceless individuals, in the case of serious and repeated crimes, if the identity or social position of the subject is patently relevant to the case being reported on, or where identification protects the innocent from exposure to unjustified suspicion.
4.8. Reporting on children, it is considered good press conduct to assess the implications that media focusing could cause in each case. This also pertains when the person in charge or parent, has agreed to exposure. As a general rule the identity of children should not be disclosed in reports on family disputes or cases under consideration by the childcare authorities or by the courts.
4.9. When using photos, graphics, illustrations, video, audio or any other type of content always credit the original creator.
4.10. Exercise caution when using photos in any other context than the original.
4.11. Protect the credibility of the journalistic photograph. Photos used as documentation must not be altered in a way that creates a
false impression. Manipulated photos can only be accepted as illustrations if it is evident that it in actual fact is a picture collage.
4.12. The use of pictures must comply with the same requirements of caution as for a written or oral presentation.
4.13. Incorrect information must be corrected and, when called for, an apology given, as soon as possible.
4.14. Those who have been subjected to strong accusations shall, if possible, have the opportunity to simultaneous reply as regards factual information. Debates, criticism and dissemination of news must not be hampered by parties being unwilling to make comments or take part in the debate.
4.15. Those who have been the subject of an attack shall have the chance to reply at the earliest opportunity, unless the attack and criticism are part of a running exchange of views. Any reply should be of reasonable length, be pertinent to the matter and seemly in its form. The reply can be refused if the party in question has rejected, without an objective reason, an offer of presenting a contemporaneous rejoinder on the same issue. Replies and contributions to the debate should not be accompanied by polemic editorial comment.
4.16. Beware that digital publication pointers and links could bring you to other electronic media that do not comply with the Ethical Code. See to it that links to other media or publications are clearly marked. It is considered good press conduct to inform the users of interactive services on how the publication registers you, and possibly exploits your use of the services.