Code of the Beninese press, adopted by the General Assembly of Journalists in Cotonou, Benin, on 11 May 1991.
The freedom of the press guaranteed by the Constitution of the Republic of Benin is founded on the principles stated in the “Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Journalists” adopted in Munich in 1971. It mainly implies that information must be free and independent.
It is obvious, however, that Beninese journalists cannot assume their mission properly unless they are aware of their responsibility towards the public, of the duties deriving from the prestige, the honour and the dignity attached to the exercise of their profession.
Due to those considerations and in order that journalists do not jeopardise the life or the honour, the physical or psychological balance of any persons, it is important that the following ethical rules be strictly observed:
1. The respect for truth and the honest information of the public are the supreme obligations of the press;
2. The news and other information destined to be published as texts or pictures must be checked with all the care that circumstances require;
3. Published news or statements that later prove to be false must be corrected as soon as possible under whatever shape is appropriate, by the press outlet that made them public;
4. All journalists have a duty to defend the freedom to inform, comment and criticise;
5. The press must respect the privacy of all individuals unless the public interest demands otherwise;
6. The representation of violence and brutality for the sake of sensation must be renounced;
7. As any accused person should be considered innocent until proven guilty, reports on police investigations and judicial processes are not authorised;
8. The names of delinquent minors should not be mentioned or their photos published, so as to preserve their future;
9. A journalist should use only fair methods to obtain information;
10. A journalist must avoid plagiarism, malicious gossip, libel, slander and unfounded accusations;
11. A journalist worthy of the name takes responsibility for everything he/she writes even anonymously;
12. A journalist will only accept assignments compatible with his/her professional dignity. He/she will not confuse his job with that of an advertiser or propagandist. He/she will resist any pressure and accept editorial instructions only from the directors of his/her newsroom;
13. A journalist abstains from claiming a title or a distinction to which he/she is not entitled. He/she will not try to obtain the job of a colleague and will not cause a colleague to be fired by offering to work for lower wages;
14. A journalist will respect professional secrecy and will not reveal the source of information obtained under condition of confidentiality;
15. A journalist can, in the course of his/her job, avail him/herself of the clause of conscience, particularly in order to refuse to write or read political comments or editorials contrary to the rules of professional ethics; or to refuse to censor the articles of his peers or their radio or television productions;
16. A journalist worthy of the name takes responsibility for everything he/she writes even anonymously. To avoid confusion, the same pen-name should not be used by several journalists at the same time.