Democratic Republic of Congo – Press Union of Zaire (1990)

Ethics of the Zairian Journalist, based on an original 1971 version, this code was drafted by the Kinshasa section of the General Council of the Press Union of Zaire, now the Democratic Republic of Congo, in July 1990.

A journalist worthy of the name :
1. Assumes entire responsibility for any text that he/she publishes with his/her by-line or some personal pen-name ;

2. Holds slander, unproven accusations, falsification of documents, distortion of facts and lying to be the most serious professional faults;

3. Never plagiarises, quotes his colleagues when he/she reproduces some text of theirs, whether he/she uses the actual terms of it or not;

4. Never applies for the job of a colleague, or causes him/her to be fired by offering to assume his responsibilities at a lower cost;

5. Keeps his source of information secret, even before a court;

6. In matters of professional honour, acknowledges only the jurisdiction of his peers;

7. Keeps within his functions, which he does not confuse with those of a police officer or secret agent, whatever the circumstances;

8. Does not confuse his job with that of an advertiser; nor takes instructions, direct or indirect, from an advertiser;

9. Respects individual privacy, public order and moral standards;

10. Avoids influence peddling by not pretending to some non-existent title or quality; and generally by not using unfair means to obtain some, acquiring a document or trick the confidence of anyone.

11. Refuses to accept a fee in return for the publication or the spiking of some piece of information;

12.   Does not accept that information that he/she has obtained be published with his/her by-line if  it has been adulterated;

13. Corrects any information published by him/her which has turned out to be inaccurate;

14. Respects truth whatever the consequences might be for him/herself  because of the right the public has to know the truth;

15. Defends freedom of information, of commentary and of criticism;

16. Resists any undue pressure and only accepts editorial instructions from his/her superiors in the newsroom;

17. Shows solidarity for his colleagues in trouble;

18. Abstains from any immoral act likely to stain the reputation of the profession;

19. In his/her selection, processing and distribution of information, he/she avoids any discrimination based on race, gender, language, tribe, region, religion, philosophy or political opinions.

1. A journalist is entitled to free access to all sources of information and has the right freely to investigate all the facts that determine political life; the secrecy of public or private business can only exceptionally be used to stop him/her and then for clearly expressed motives;

2. A journalist cannot be forced to do any professional act, or to express an opinion that would be contrary to his convictions or his conscience;

3. The editorial staff must be informed, via union delegates, of all important decisions that might affect the life of the company.
It must at least be consulted before any final decision is made on any measure that concerns the composition of the newsroom, i.e. the hiring, firing, mutation and promotion of journalists;

4. Because of his/her function and responsibilities, a journalist is entitled not only to the benefit of collective agreements but also to a personal contract that insures his material and moral security, as also to a salary that corresponds to the social role he assumes and is sufficient to guarantee his economic independence;

5. A journalist is entitled to continuous education at the expense of his employer, especially recycling and perfecting periods in the country and abroad;

6.  A journalist has the right to refuse any subordination that would be contrary to the ethics of the Zairian journalist and would bring into play the “clause of conscience”.

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