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International Professional Ethics in Journalism Cheat Sheet by

International Principles of Professional Ethics in Journalism
code     ethics     international     journalism


Intern­ational and regional organi­zations of profes­sional journa­lists, repres­enting altogether 400,000 working journa­lists in all parts of the world, have held since 1978 consul­tative meetings under the auspices of UNESCO.....

On this basis the following principles of profes­sional ethics in journalism were prepared as an intern­ational common ground and as a source of inspir­ation for national and regional codes of ethics. This set of principles is intended to be promoted autono­mously by each profes­sional organi­zation through ways and means most adequate to its members.

Principle I: People's right to true inform­ation

People's right to true inform­ation
People and indivi­duals have the right to acquire an objective picture of reality by means of accurate and compre­hensive inform­ation as well as to express themselves freely through the various media of culture and commun­ica­tion.

Principle 2: Dedication to objective reality

The journa­list's dedication to objective reality
The foremost task of the journalist is to serve the people's right to true and authentic inform­ation through an honest dedication to objective reality whereby facts are reported consci­ent­iously in their proper context, pointing out their essential connec­tions and without causing distor­tions, with due deployment of the creative capacity of the journa­list, so that the public is provided with adequate material to facilitate the formation of an accurate and compre­hensive picture of the world in which the origin, nature and essence of events, processes and state of affairs are understood as object­ively as possible.

Principle 3: Social Respon­sib­ility

The journa­list's social respon­sib­ility
Inform­ation in journalism is understood as a social good and not as a commodity, which means that the journalist shares respon­sib­ility for the inform­ation transm­itted and is thus accoun­table not only to those contro­lling the media but ultimately to the public at large, including various social interests. The journa­list's social respon­sib­ility requires that he or she will act under all circum­stances in conformity with a personal ethical consci­ous­ness.

Principle 4: Profes­sional integrity

The journa­list's profes­sional integr­ity
The social role of the journalist demands that the profession maintain high standards of integrity, including the journa­list's right to refrain from working against his or her conviction or from disclosing sources of inform­ation as well as the right to partic­ipate in the decisi­on-­making of the medium in which he or she is employed. The integrity of the profession does not permit the journalist to accept any form of bribe or the promotion of any private interest contrary to the general welfare. Likewise, it belongs to profes­sional ethics to respect intell­ectual property and, in partic­ular, to refrain from plagia­rism.

Principle 5: Public access and partic­ipation

Public access and partic­ipa­tion
The nature of the profession demands that the journalist promote access by the public to inform­ation and partic­ipation of the public in the media, including the right of correction or rectif­ication and the right of reply.

Principle 6: Respect for privacy & human dignity

Respect for privacy and human dignity
An integral part of the profes­sional standards of the journa­lists is respect for the right of the individual to privacy and human dignity, in conformity with provisions of intern­ational and national law concerning protection of the rights and the reputation of others, prohib­iting libel, calumny, slander and defama­tion.

Principle 7: Respect for public interest

Respect for public interest
The profes­sional standards of the journalist prescribe due respect for the national community, its democratic instit­utions and public morals.

Principle 8: Respect for values & diversity

Respect for universal values and diversity of cultures
A true journalist stands for the universal values of humanism, above all peace, democracy, human rights, social progress and national libera­tion, while respecting the distin­ctive character, value and dignity of each culture, as well as the right of each people freely to choose and develop its political, social, economic and cultural systems. Thus the journalist partic­ipates actively in social transf­orm­ation towards democratic betterment of society and contri­butes through dialogue to a climate of confidence in intern­ational relations conducive to peace and justice everyw­here, to d├ętente, disarm­ament and national develo­pment. It belongs to the ethics of the profession that the journalist be aware of relevant provisions contained in intern­ational conven­tions, declar­ations and resolu­tions.

Principle 9: Eliminate war & other great evils

Elim­ination of war and other great evils confro­nting humanity
The ethical commitment to the universal values of humanism calls for the journalist to abstain from any justif­ication for, or incitement to, wars of aggression and the arms race, especially in nuclear weapons, and all other forms of violence, hatred or discri­min­ation, especially racialism and apartheid, oppression by tyrannic regimes, coloni­alism and neocol­oni­alism, as well as other great evils which afflict humanity, such as poverty, malnut­rition and diseases. By so doing, the journalist can help eliminate ignorance and misund­ers­tanding among peoples, make nationals of a country sensitive to the needs and desires of others, ensure respect for the rights and dignity of all nations, all peoples and all indivi­duals without distin­ction of race, sex, language, nation­ality, religion or philos­ophical convic­tion.

Principle 10: Promotion a new world inform­ation

Prom­otion of a new world inform­ation and commun­ication order
The journalist operates in the contem­porary world within the framework of a movement towards new intern­ational relations in general and a new inform­ation order in partic­ular. The new order, understood as an integral part of the New Intern­ational Economic Order, is aimed at the decolo­nis­ation and democr­ati­zation of inform­ation and commun­ica­tion, both nationally and intern­ati­onally, on the basis of peaceful coexis­tence among peoples and with full respect for their cultural identity. The journalist has a special obligation to promote the process of democr­ati­zation of intern­ational relations in the field of inform­ation, in particular by safegu­arding and fostering peaceful and friendly relations among states and peoples.

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