Saturday, October 24, 2009

Writer's Block: The Journalist's Code of Ethics

I shall scrupulously report and interpret the news, taking care not to suppress essential facts nor to distort the truth by omission or improper emphasis. I recognize the duty to air the other side and the duty to correct substantive errors promptly.

I shall not violate confidential information on material given me in the exercise of my calling.

I shall resort only to fair and honest methods in my effort to obtain news, photographs and/or documents, and shall properly identify myself as a representative of the press when obtaining any personal interview intended for publication.

I shall refrain from writing reports that will adversely affect a private reputation unless the public interest justifies it. At the same time, I shall fight vigorously for public access to information.

I shall not let personal motives or interests influence me in the performance of my duties, nor shall I accept or offer any present, gift or other consideration of a nature that may cast doubt on my professional integrity.

I shall not commit any act of plagiarism.

I shall not, in any manner, ridicule, cast aspersions on, or degrade any person by reason of sex, creed, religious belief, political conviction, cultural and ethnic origin.

I shall presume persons accused of crime of being innocent until proven otherwise.

I shall exercise caution in publishing names of minors and women involved in criminal cases so that they may not unjustly lose their standing in society.

I shall not take unfair advantage of a fellow journalist.

I shall accept only such tasks as are compatible with the integrity and dignity of my profession, invoking the “conscience clause” when duties imposed on me conflict with the voice of my conscience.

I shall conduct myself in public or while performing my duties as journalist in such manner as to maintain the dignity of my profession. When in doubt, decency should be my watchword.

(This Journalist's Code of Ethics was unanimously adopted during the founding congress of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines on July 30, 1988.)