Code of Ethics, adopted by the Radio Television News Directors Association of Canada (RTNDA), last revised 17 June 2000.
Free speech and an informed public are vital to a democratic society. The members of RTNDA Canada recognise the responsibility of broadcast journalists to promote and to protect the freedom to report independently about matters of public interest and to present a wide range of expressions, opinions and ideas.
Article One – Accuracy
Broadcast journalists will inform the public in an accurate, comprehensive and fair manner about events and issues of importance.
Article Two – Equality
Broadcast journalists will report factors such as race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sexual orientation, marital status or physical or mental disability only when they are relevant.
Article Three – Authenticity
Broadcast journalists will present news and public affairs without distortion. Interviews may be edited provided that the meaning is not changed or misrepresented. Broadcast journalists will not present news that is rehearsed or re-enacted without informing the audience. Newsrooms should take steps to ensure the authenticity of amateur video and audio tape before broadcasting it. Editorials and commentary will be identified as such.
Article Four – Privacy
Broadcast journalists will respect the dignity, privacy and well-being of everyone with whom they deal, and will make every effort to ensure that news gathering and reporting does not unreasonably infringe privacy except when necessary in the public interest. Hidden audio and video recording devices should only be used when it is necessary to the credibility or accuracy of a story in the public interest.
Article Five – Independence
Independence is a fundamental value and we will resist any attempts at censorship that would erode it. Broadcast journalists will resist pressures to change or alter the news. Intrusion into content, real or apparent, should be resisted.
Article Six – Conflict of interest
Broadcast journalists will govern themselves on and off the job in such a way as to avoid conflict of interest, real or apparent.
Article Seven – Corrections
Errors will be quickly acknowledged and publicly corrected.
Article Eight – Decency and conduct
Broadcast journalists will treat people who are subjects and sources with decency. They will use special sensitivity when dealing with children. They will strive to conduct themselves in a courteous and considerate manner, keeping broadcast equipment as unobtrusive as possible. They will strive to prevent their presence from distorting the character or importance of events.
Article Nine – Fair trial
In reporting matters that are or may be before the courts, broadcast journalists will ensure that their reporting does not interfere with the rights of an individual to a fair trial.
Article Ten – Covering violent situations
Reporting on criminal activities such as hostage takings, prison uprisings or terrorist acts will be done in a fashion that does not knowingly endanger lives, offer comfort and support or provide vital information to the perpetrator(s). RTNDA members will contact neither victims nor perpetrators of a criminal activity during the course of the event for the purpose of conducting an interview that would interfere with a peaceful resolution.
Article Eleven – Intellectual property
Plagiarism is unacceptable. Broadcast journalists will strive to honour the intellectual property of others, including video and audio materials.
Article Twelve – Impediments
Broadcast journalists will seek to remove any impediments to or bans on the gathering or reporting of news in the public interest.
Article Thirteen – Sources
Broadcast journalists will make every effort to attribute news on the record. Confidential sources should be used only when it is clearly in the public interest to gather or convey important information or when a person providing information might be harmed.
Article Fourteen – Respect and enforcement
Members of the RTNDA will respect the provisions of this Code and the RTNDA itself will take all reasonable steps to encourage that all broadcast journalists in Canada are aware of and observe the Code, even if they are not themselves members of the RTNDA.