Azerbaijan – Code of Professional Ethics

Code of Professional Ethics for Journalists in Azerbaijan.

Considering freedom of speech as an important support to democratic system and People’s right to know the truth, WE, Journalists always and everywhere struggle against its limitation and bring it up as the main fact of duties of the media. Taking into consideration all above-mentioned facts we declare to conform to the below mentioned Professional Princi-ples:

Principle 1 – To serve truth, accuracy and objectiveness.
1.1. The primary goal of Journalism is dissemination of truth; and objectiveness is a main professional criteria.
Journalist should study the stance of criticism target in his/her article. In case of its impossibility, condition should be created for criticism target so that he could bring up his/her opinion, if he/she demands. Pluralism principles should be followed.

Comments in the paper should be expressed in a way that reader could differentiate them from news, facts and accept it as a position journalist stands for.

Principle 2 – Attentive approach to information sources.
2.1 The source must be noted while disseminating official information of organizations, parties, societies and other interested groups. However, if information provider prefers to be anonymous, Journalist or information body must adhere to his/her privacy rules. The confidentiality of the source-information should be protected if the purpose of the information doesn’t produce confusion.
2.2 The information, provided by unofficial sources, their authenticity and information value should be disseminated without further checking. When information is being sent out for print, its connotation should not be misinterpreted. When citing from another article and speech, a journalist should note precisely where it starts and ends. While printing the photo-symbols (illustration, photomontage), it should be noted that the photo-graph doesn’t characterize a document. The titles of the articles should correspond with their subject.

2.3 Journalist should try to have his/her interview signed by interviewee or his/her authorized person. In case of its unfeasibility, the interview and even the questions given by journalist and whether they are going to be changes or nor should be notified beforehand. 

Principle 3 – Protection of honour and dignity, inviolability of personal life.
3.1 Journalist must not condemn people for nationality, race, sex, language, profession, religion, and place of birth and exalt the kind of information.

3.2 Journalist should respect the honour, dignity, and inviolability of per-sonal life of the person he had met with and wrote about.

3.3 Journalist cannot disseminate the facts on citizens’ personal life without their consent, if it does not intervene social interest and is of public unimportance.

3.4 Journalist and mass media must eliminate the mistake as soon as possible, regardless of who discovered it. During amendment, it should be clarified whether the information is whole or part of it was wrong.

3.5 While publishing the letters implying personal information, the author, sender and person’s heir/ess should be asked for permission.

3.6 The name or picture of a victim as a result of bereavement or crime must not be proclaimed without her/his consent. This possible in special situations, only when the victim is a public official. If the crime was committed by teenagers or children and is of public unimportance, the dissemination of name or picture of the criminal must be avoided.

3.7. Publication of the name and picture of a suspect is possible when it can be of help or the person is already arrested or there is a link between his job and committed crime.

3.8 If the mass media disseminated the information on any citizen’s arrest as a suspect and after his/her innocence was proved, the information body must announce about this.

Principle 4
Protection of journalist rights and the right of the organization he/she works for.

4.1 Expensive presents, and free of charge services can damage the reputation of the journalist and the information body he/she represents. Therefore journalist must not accept any presents for the position he/she holds or should not create a condition for free of charge services. Journalist must not use the redaction document for realization of his/her personal interests.
4.2. During his/her employment in redaction, journalist should avoid the membership with any political organization or work that can damage the reputation of and belief to the information body.

4.3. If the redaction task contradicts with law and professional behaviour, journalist has a right to refuse it. If there is a misinterpretation of a journalist’s opinion during the editing, he/she has a right to refuse to sign it.

4.4. Journalist is ought to keep the redaction secret, if it is not related with violation of laws of Azerbaijan Republic and Professional Behaviour Rules.

4.5. Journalist cannot suggest the material he/she prepared to others, without co-ordinating with management of the information body he/she works for.

4.6. Plagiarism is intolerable.

4.7. Journalist must avoid the use of vulgar expressions, jargons and should try to contribute to enrich and protect the purity of the Azerbaijani language.


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