The Bangladesh Press Council declared 22 codes of ethics in 1993 (adopted up to July 1999) for newspapers, news agencies and journalists in Bangladesh.
22 code of Ethics:
1. The war of Liberation and its spirit and ideals must be sustained and uphold, and anything repugnant to the war of Liberation and its spirit and ideals must not be printed, published or disseminated in any manner in the press.
2. It is the responsibility of a journalist to keep people informed of issues, which influence them or attract them. News and commentaries have to be prepared and published showing full respect to the sensitivity and individual rights of the newspaper readers as well as the people.
3. Truth and accuracy in respect of information available shall be ensured.
4. Information received from reliable sources may be published in public interest induced by honest intention and if facts presented therein are considered trustworthy by logical consideration, then the journalist has to be absolved of any adverse consequence for publication of such news.
5. Reports based on rumours and not supported by facts shall be verified before publication and if these are considered not suitable for publication, one should refrain from publication of such news.
6. News items whose contents are dishonest and baseless or whose publication hinges on breach of trust shall not be published.
7. Newspapers and journalists have the right to express their views strongly on controversial issues but in doing so:
a. All true events and views shall be expressed clearly.
b. No event shall be distorted in order to influence the readers.
c. No news shall be distorted or slanted dishonestly either in the main commentary or in the headline.
d. Views on main news shall be presented clearly and honestly.
8. The editor has the right to publish any advertisement in newspapers signed by proper authorities, even if it is apparently against individual interest but not slanderous or against public interest. If protest is made with regard to such advertisement, the editor shall print and publish it without any cost.
9. Newspapers shall refrain from publishing any news, which is contemptuous of or disrespectful to caste, creed, nationality and religion of any individual, community or the country.
10. If a newspaper published any news against the interest and good name of any individual, agency institution or group of people or any special category of people, then the newspaper or journalist concerned should provide opportunity to the aggrieved persons or institutions to publish their protest or answer quickly and correctly within a reasonable period of time.
11. If the published news is damaging or is improper, then it should immediately be withdrawn and corrigendum or explanation (and in special cases apology) should be issued so that the impression (bad or erroneous) created by publication of such news is removed.
12. Sensational and pulpy news shall not be published to augment the circulation of a paper if such news is deemed vulgar, improper and against public interest.
13. Newspapers may adopt reasonable measures with a view to resisting crime and corruption even if they may not in some cases be deemed acceptable to someone.
14. The extent and durability of the influence of newspapers is greater than other media. For this reason a journalist writing for newspapers shall be particularly cautious about the credibility and veracity of sources and shall also preserve his source material in order to avoid risks.
15. It is the responsibility of the newspapers to publish the news of under-trial cases at all stages and to publish the final judgment of the Court in order to reveal the actual picture of issues relating to the case. But a journalist shall refrain from publishing such comment or opinion as is likely to influence an under-trial case until the final verdict is announced.
16. Rejoinder of the aggrieved party or parties directly involved with a news item published in a newspaper shall be quickly published in the same newspaper on such a page as would easily attract the attention of the readers; the editor, while editing the rejoinder, shall not change its basic character.
17. If an aggrieved party sends a rejoinder for the damage done to him by an editorial, it shall be the moral obligation of the editor to publish the corrigendum in the same page and also express his/her regrets.
18. The publication of malicious news is far more immoral than that of wrong news without malicious intent.
19. It is the moral duty of an editor to accept full and sole responsibility for all publications in his/her newspaper.
20. A reporter while reporting on a case of financial or other irregularity shall, to the best of his ability, ascertain the facts in his news item and must collect sufficient material to justify the truth of the matter reported. He should adopt the necessary precautions while investigating the case.
21. A responsible publication, which has not been contradicted, may be the source of a news but it shall be a moral duty on the part of a journalist not to avoid responsibility regarding the news on the pretext that it has been reprinted.
22. It is the responsibility of a journalist to highlight any news which projects degeneration of moral values in our society but it is also the moral responsibility of a journalist to maintain extra precaution in publishing any news involving man-woman relationships or any report relating to women.
Source: Tapan Bagchi, Researcher, Press Institute of Bangladesh (PIB), Dhaka, Bangladesh