Austria – Austrian Press Council (1983)

The Code of Honour of the Austrian Press, adopted on 31 January 1983 in Wien by the Austrian Press Council.

Translated from German to Finnish by Terhi Brusin, from Finnish to
English by Tiina Laitila.

Newspaper and other publishers, radio and television companies and journalists, together bear the responsibility for the freedom of the media in a democracy. Therefore the Austrian Press Council appeals to all whose work or mission is to inform about and comment on current issues, to be conscious of their duty to truthfulness, purity and correctness.

Continuing self-control is a good means of fulfilling this duty.
That is why the Austrian Press Council has made the following basic principles for all persons involved in news gathering and editing, or in commenting.

1. Journalism involves the responsibility for the publication, for the medium in question and for the journalist’s own conscience. Therefore the most important duties of the journalist in his work as an information collector and editor are conscientousness and correctness. The same goes for the collection of news, photographs and other information material.

2. The interference of outsiders in the content or form of the information is unacceptable. Not only direct interference or pressure but also bribes and other personal gains not directly connected to the profession are regarded as such. Nor can personal interests have influence on the work.

3. When dealing with the private sphere, the public interest for information and the interest of the individual and his/ her close ones’ privacy must be balanced. Reports of the “false steps” of juveniles must not hinder or make more difficult their resocialization. In such cases the names must be shortened.

4. Freedom of writing and comment is an important part of the freedom of the press. The defamation of private persons, slander and libel are, however, misuse of that freedom and a violation of the journalistic ethos. This goes for “single” accusations or the defamation of persons or groups of persons. All discrimination on the basis of race, religion, national or other reasons is inadmissable. The conscious publication of misrepresentive and hurtful pictures is also impermissable.

5. The journalists of newspapers who play upon the fears of people in order to make money are regarded as guilty of one of the biggest misuses of the freedom of the press.

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