Canada – British Columbia Press Council (1992)

Code of Practice used by the British Columbia Press Council as the principal in considering complaints from the public about the conduct of the press in the gathering and publication of news and opinion, last amended on 26 November 1992.

Newspapers, periodicals and journalists have a duty to defend the freedom of the Press in the interest of the public, and to resist censorship.  Unethical conduct jeopardises this objective.

1. Newspapers must guard against deliberate or careless publication of inaccuracies or statements designed to mislead.  Significant inaccuracies or misleading statements for which they are responsible must be corrected promptly: apologies should be issued when appropriate.

2. It is the duty of newspapers to allow fair opportunity for reply when reasonably called for.

3. Publishing material or making inquiries about the private lives of individuals without their consent is not acceptable unless these are in the public interest overriding the right of privacy.

Comment and Fact
4. Newspapers may be partisan but should distinguish between comment and fact.  Conjecture should not be elevated to statements of fact.

5. Newspapers and journalists should use straightforward means to obtain information and pictures.  Their use of subterfuge can be justified only to obtain material which ought to be published in the public interest but which could not be obtained by any other means.

Payment for articles
6. Payment or offers of payment for stories, pictures or information should not be made to witnesses or potential witnesses in current criminal proceedings, or to people engaged in crime or their associates.

Intrusion into grief
7. Newspapers and journalists should in general avoid intruding into personal grief. Enquiries should be carried out with sympathy and discretion.

Innocent relatives
8. Newspapers should exercise care and discretion before identifying relatives of persons convicted or accused of crime where the reference to them is not directly relevant to the matter reported.

lnterviewing children
9. Journalists should exercise discretion when interviewing a child under the age of 18 in the absence of, or without the consent of, a parent or guardian.

Children in sex cases
10. Save in exceptional circumstances, newspapers should not, even where the law permits it, identify children under the age of 18 as victims, witnesses or defendants involved in cases concerning sexual offences.

Sexual offences
11. Newspapers should not identify victims of sexual offences, or publish material likely to contribute to such identification.

12.  Newspapers should refrain from publishing pictures which needlessly exacerbate grief or cause distress.

13.  Unless the information is directly relevant to the story, newspapers should not publish material likely to encourage discrimination on grounds of race, colour, sex, sexual orientation, age, mental or physical disability and should avoid reference to  the above in prejudicial or pejorative contexts.

Financial journalism
14.  Journalists should not use for their own profit financial information they receive in advance of its general publication.

15.  Journalists making injures at hospitals or similar institutions should identify themselves to a responsible official upon entering, except in very rare cases where information which ought to be disclosed in the public interest could not otherwise be obtained.

Confidential sources
16.  Sources should be identified routinely in stories.  Where confidentiality is appropriate, journalists have an obligation to protect such sources.

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