Bulgaria – Centre for Independent Journalism (1997)

Ten Principles of a Professional Journalist, adopted by the Centre for Independent Journalism, 1997. (Based on the codes of conduct of the Centre for Independent Journalism, Union of Bulgarian Journalists, Freedom of Speech Civil Forum, Union of Bulgarian Journalists “Podkrepa”)

The rights and responsibilities of journalists result from the right of the society to be duly informed. Respect of truth and the right of the society to know the truth are journalists’ primary obligations.

Journalists’ responsibility before the society precedes any other responsibility.

In completing their mission professional journalists must adhere to professional and ethic rules in their daily work.

1. Professional journalists withstand the right of free information exchange, comments and critics and guarantee the right of affected people to receive an answer. They differentiate facts from opinions and comments. They recognize misinforming inaccuracy and correct it.

2. Journalists use only legal and fair methods of obtaining and disseminating information, visual materials and documents. They present events in context, check facts, cites resources. They treat official and unofficial resources equally important.

3. Journalists keep company secret and do not disclose sources of confidential information.

4. Journalists work to avoid discrimination and overcome prejudice against race, ethnic origin, language, religious beliefs, physical differences, sex, age, sexual orientation, political creed.

5. Journalist respect citizens’ privacy without violating public interest when people with important public functions and responsibilities are concerned. They draw special attention on cases children, juvenile, victims of violence and survivals from tragedies are affected.

6. Journalists condemn plagiarism, offence, libel, unjust convictions, releasing freedom of crime and violence, violation of presumption of innocence as unacceptable to professional behaviour.

7. Journalists defend their independence and the independence of their media outlets, contradicts with all attempts of external intervention and censorship, do not allow conflict of interest and abuse of their professional position, do not accept presents, favours and bribe. They preserve their journalistic reputation and honour even against the interests of media owners.

8. Journalists have the right to refuse completion of tasks, which contradict with their personal beliefs and conscience.

9. Journalists support freedom of opinion and view points even if they contradict their own.

10. Journalists work for openness and transparency of public activities, they are consistent and brave in pursuing responsibility of authorities.

When professional journalists adhere to these principles, they are responsible before the public, their profession and themselves. Whilst working for fair and objective journalism, they protect freedom of speech for the entire media community.

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