Codex for journalists in Bosnia – Herzegovina, adopted in Sarajevo on 8 February 1994.
1. THE MAIN DUTY OF THE JOURNALIST IS A TRUTHFUL AND TRUSTWORTHY INFORMING OF THE PUBLIC.
A journalist informs as an eyewitness or on the basis of facts and evidence of known origin. Omitting the essential and known facts to the journalist, covering up and obstructing information or forging documents is adverse to the Codex. The standard of authenticity is valid for text, picture and sound. Misuse of cutting, montage (editing) or anything else that forges the essence of information is unacceptable. The right of the journalist is to collect and direct information freely and to protest in public in case he is illegally and without reason disturbed in that work.
Instruction 1.1. Pre-election period
Journalists reporting from the pre-election meetings may even inform about the attitudes they don’t agree with but objectively and usefully for free and balanced informing.
Instruction 1.2 Announcements for the press
Announcements to the public and press made by the authorities, parties, societies or other interested associations must be particularly marked, especially if it was not prepared by the editor.
2. INFORMATION IN PICTURE AND WORD INTENDED TO BE PUBLISHED MUST BE THOROUGHLY CHECKED BY THE JOURNALIST. ITS PROCESS, TITLES AND SUB-TITLES MUST NOT FORGE THE CONTENTS, UNCONFIRMED NEWS, RUMOURS AND GUESSES HAVE TO BE MARKED IN THAT SENSE, BOTH SYMBOLIC AND ARCHIVE PICTURE SHOULD BE MARKED ADEQUATELY.
Plagiarism is incompatible with the journalists’ Codex.
Instruction 2.1 Publishing questionnaires
The Codex suggests publishing the methods of researching: number of polled, time of making the questionnaire and the one who orders the questionnaire.
Instruction 2.2 Symbolic illustration
Whenever the illustration can be considered as an authentic snapshot, although it is not as such, it is recommended that the illustration is supplemented with an explanation.
– subsequent or accessory illustration,
– stylised illustration (artistic visualisation of the text)
– montage of photographs or other changes of the original
Instruction 2.3 Announcements or excerpts
Editorial staffs which publish announcements of the contents or excerpts of the articles must assure that shortening or supplementing will not change the meaning of the original nor they allow to have wrong conclusions made.
Instruction 2.8 Embargo
A time limit until which it is not allowed to publish certain news is professionally acceptable only if it serves informing. In principle, an embargo is a voluntary agreement between the sources and the media. To obey an embargo makes sense only if a professionally fundamental reason is in question: text of still not-read speech, business news sent in advance, information on the event that is going to happen (meetings, conclusions, ceremonies etc.) An embargo must not be misused for advertising purposes.
Instruction 2.6 Readers’ letters
(1) Publishing readers’ letters, which by the form and contents correspond to expressing opinion and, due to that, forming the public opinion, should be enabled.
(2) A reader’s letter is a clearly marked paper for public publishing. In case of perplexity, the editor has to consult with the author.
(3) As a rule, a reader’s letter is published with the full name of the author. Only in exceptional cases, known to the editorial staff, may a reader’s letter be signed with an abbreviation or in some other way.
(4) Legal restrictions regarding criminal acts are valid for publishing readers’ letters too. The editor in chief is responsible for that.
(5) Publishing forged readers’ letters deceives the public and it is incongruous with the journalists’ Codex. If a suspicion regarding the identity of the author appears, the editor is obligated to check it up.
(6) If a reader’s letter contains claims and data on a third person, the person in question has a right to respond.
(7) It is the inalienable right of man not to have readers’ letters shortened or changed without the author’s agreement. Shortening is possible only when that column contains a constant warning on advisable length and in advance published notice of editorial staff that too long supplements will be shortened and that the meaning will not change.
3. A JOURNALIST IS OBLIGED TO SEPARATE INFORMATION FROM COMMENTARY. A DISTINCTION BETWEEN STATING FACES AND COMMENTARY MUST BE VISIBLE.
4. ANY INFORMATION OR CLAIM WHICH TURNS OUT TO BE FALSE MUST BE IMMEDIATELY CORRECTED IN AN ADEQUATE WAY BY THE JOURNALIST WHO PUBLISHED IT OR BY HIS EDITORIAL STAFF.
Instruction 4.1 Correction
A correction must clearly prove that the previous information was totally or partially false. Therefore, the correction always has to cite the previous publishing. Correction is an obligation of editorial staff which cannot be avoided by publishing readers’ letters.
5. USE OF ILLEGAL AND UNFAIR DEVICES IN COLLECTING INFORMATION, EVIDENCE AND PICTURES IS ADVERSE TO THE CODEX.
Instruction 5.1 Identification
While performing his services, a journalist is obliged to introduce himself and show his journalist’s card on request. Falsification of identity is incompatible with the Codex.
Instruction 5.2 Investigation
Investigation is a legal device in journalism. Also, it is necessary to take care of limits contained in the Constitution, laws, as well as respecting human personality. Possible public interest does not excuse punishable and immoral methods of journalistic investigation. In the case of accidents and catastrophes, rescuing victims and endangered persons has priority over the right to inform the public.
6. A JOURNALIST IS OBLIGED TO RESPECT A CONFIDENCE REQUESTED BY THE SOURCE OF INFORMATION. A JOURNALIST SHOULD RESPECT BUSINESS SECRETS, DARES TO REFUSE TESTIFYING, AND HAS A RIGHT NOT TO REVEAL THE SOURCE OF PERSONAL INFORMATION.
Instruction 6.1 Confidence
A journalist is obliged to respect confidence always, except information is not an integral part of the plan for criminal act and there is no legal obligation for denunciation.
Instruction 6.2 Intelligence service
If a journalist is engaged in intelligence work he harms the credibility of the profession and the function of journalism.
(partly illegible paragraph, advising journalists to abstain from political involvement)
7. COLLECTING, ACCEPTING A BRIBE OR PUBLISHING INFORMATION TO THE BENEFIT OF OUTER CUSTOMERS ARE INCOMPATIBLE WITH THE JOURNALISTS’ CODEX. ADVERTISEMENTS AND NOTICES MUST BE CLEARLY AND UNAMBIGUOUSLY SEPARATED FROM JOURNALISTIC MESSAGES
Instruction 7.1 Separating journalistic messages from notices
Notices and paid texts must be separated from messages in the spirit of this Codex by form, contents and approach. If there is any kind of doubt, it has to be clearly added, that is, warned, that a notice is in question.
8. A JOURNALIST MUST PROTECT A HUMAN BEING’S PERSONALITY AND HIS PRIVACY FROM UNFAIR AND SENSATIONAL REVEALING TO THE PUBLIC. HE HAS TO BE PARTICULARLY CAREFUL WHEN REPORTING ABOUT ACCIDENTS, FAMILY TRAGEDIES, DISEASES, CHILDREN AND JUVENILES.
When informing from the field of the judiciary, he must respect the principle that no one is guilty until the sentence goes into effect. Glorifying crime, terrorism, violence and inhumanity is incompatible with the Codex.
Instruction 8.1 Mentioning names, publishing photos
In principle, it is not excusable to mention names and publish photos of perpetrators and victims in the news about accidents, investigations and trials. Public interest and the rights of the individual must always be taken into consideration. Victims of attacks and crimes as well as the family of the incriminated perpetrator deserve particular protection.
Instruction 8.2 Anniversaries
Publishing of anniversaries of persons who do not perform outstanding public service is allowed, in principle, but with the agreement of the person in question.
Instruction 8.3 Diseases
Physical, mental diseases or defects are inalienable parts of man’s privacy, and, in principle, it is not a subject of journalist informing with mentioning names.
9. PUBLISHING GROUNDLESS ACCUSATIONS, ASSAULTS, LIES, INSULTS AND CALUMNIES IS ADVERSE TO THE JOURNALISTS’ CODEX
10. DISCRIMINATION ON THE BASIS OF SEX, BELONGING TO AN ETHNIC, RELIGIOUS, SOCIAL OR NATIONAL GROUP, INSULTING OF RELIGIOUS FEELINGS AND CUSTOMS, WAR AGITATION AND INFLAMING INTER-ETHIC HATRED ARE INCOMPATIBLE WITH THE CODEX.
11. THE JOURNALIST HAS A RIGHT TO REFUSE A TASK WHICH IS OPPOSITE TO THIS CODEX AND HIS PERSONAL BELIEFS WITHOUT CONSEQUENCES.
No one has a right to essentially change, adapt or shorten his work without his agreement. A journalist has the right to sign his work. No one can put a signature instead of the journalist except he knows it or he is willing to do so.
Instruction 11.1 Unsigned articles and pseudonyms
Editorial staff should be responsible for unsigned articles or those marked with a pseudonym.
12. IN THE SPIRIT OF THE CODEX, A JOURNALIST IS OBLIGED TO RESPOND TO AN INVITATION TO A COURT OF HONOUR HEARING AND TO RESPECT ITS VERDICTS. IN THE SPIRIT OF THE CODEX, THE HARMED SIDE IS THE ONE WHICH PUBLISHES DECISIONS OF THE COURT OF HONOUR.