Code of Ethics, adopted at XXXII Assembly of the Croatian Journalists’ Association on 27 February 1993 in Zagreb.
The right to information, freedom of expression and criticism is one of the basic rights of every human being, regardless of his sex, race, nationality, religion and political alignment. From that right of the public to know facts and opinions, originates the entirety of obligations and rights of the journalist.
In their practice, journalists are obliged to defend human rights, dignity and freedom, to respect pluralism of ideas and attitudes, to contribute to strengthening of the legal state and, as a democratic part of the general public, to participate in the control of the activity of authorities and politicians.
Journalists should observe the Constitution and the positive legislation of the Republic of Croatia, Statutes and documents of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the Council of Europe on freedom of expression and information and on human rights.
Journalists should care for culture and the ethics of public expression and respect the achievements and values of prosperous civilization.
Rights and Duties
1. In performing his duty and activities, a journalist must respect the general principles and ethics of his profession. Starting from the principle that the media in a democratic society is free, independent, investigative, and open to different opinions, a journalist is responsible for his work to the general public, the law and to his professional organization.
2. By expressing independent and critical opinion in search of the truth as the basic principle of his professional duty, a journalist participates actively in creating public opinion and collective judgement about matters or general interest.
3. A journalist, as any other citizen, has the right to political or other attitude and commitment. In his work he keeps a professional distance from actual events, which is one of the conditions for objective, professional reporting about events.
4. A journalist is obliged to express truthful, balanced and confirmed information. He identifies persons or institutions, sources of his information and statement. He has the right not to reveal his source of information, but he assumes moral, material and penal responsibility for the published fact.
5. A journalist has right of access to all the sources of information and the right of free investigation of all the facts which create public life. If unjustly denied access to demanded information, a journalist has the right to inform the general public about it.
6. A journalist shall respect the legal obligation of keeping state secrets. A journalist respects an embargo on publishing information. If he estimates that those limitations are misused for restricting access to information, a journalist warns the competent authorities about it and demands their explanation for the general public.
7. In reporting, and particularly in commentaries and polemical texts, journalist is obliged to respect the ethics of public expression and the culture of dialogue, and to respect the dignity and integrity of the person he debates.
8. The work of a journalist is subject to criticism by the general public. The obligation of journalists and editors is to refer with care to all the proposals, recommendations, remarks and criticism addressed to them, and to inform the general public about it occasionally.
9. Right and duty of a journalist is to advocate the free flow of information.
10. A journalist respects the authorship of other journalists and other subjects in public communication. He mentions names of authors whose materials he uses in his texts.
11. Abbreviated or modified materials: changing the basic meaning of the text can be published only with the author’s approval. In case of disagreement the author has the right to withdraw his material and to deny his signature.
12. Anonymous texts and those signed with pseudonyms are considered editorial texts.
13. Plagiarism is incompatible with the journalists’ Code of Ethics.
14. A journalist shall use only fair methods to obtain news, photographs and documents. He shall not use unfair or illegal means.
15. A member of the Journalists’ Association has the right to refuse a professional assignment if it is contrary to his Code of Ethics, Statutes of the Journalists’ Association, or professional and ethical standards of the profession.
16. A journalist is to protect a person’s private life from unjustified or sensational exposure to the public. Special care and responsibility is needed in reporting about accidents, family tragedies, diseases, children and minors, or court proceedings, where the journalist must respect presumed innocence, integrity, dignity and feelings of all the persons involved. In political confrontations the journalist is to respect civil rights and freedoms of the participants, and make efforts to remain impartial.
17. A journalist must not be involved in activities threatening his independence of judgement which would limit his objectivity in publishing true facts and undermine his journalistic dignity. He/she must not publish information in order to get some personal material benefit (bribe, corruption etc). A journalist must not be the author of a paid advertisement or other advertising material.
18. The journalist and the Journalists’ Association protect the respectability, dignity and integrity of their profession, co-operate and care for correct and friendly and fair relations and professional solidarity.
The journalist acting in accordance with this Code of Ethics has the support of his employer/ editor, his professional organization and his trade union. The Statutes of the Croatian Journalists’ Association defines sanctions for violation of this Code.
Editorial regulations imply responsibility regarding obeying of this Code of Ethics by those journalists, also, who are not the members of the Croatian Journalists’ Association, and by all the authors or editors of published text without regard to their status – full time employees, freelances or periodical authors.
Implementation and protection of the Code of Ethics is under the competence of the Journalists’ Ethics Council of the Croatian Journalists’ Association.