Munich Declaration of the Duties and Rights of Journalists, adopted by six syndicates of journalists of the six countires of the European community in Munich, 23-24 November 1971.
The right to information, to free speech and to criticism is one of the most fundamental freedoms of every human being. The whole complex of duties and rights of journalists derives from this right of the public to know facts and opinions. The responsibility of journalists vis-a-vis the public has precedence over any other responsibility, in particular towards their employers and the public power. The mission to inform necessarily includes the limits journalists spontaneously impose on themselves. This is the subject of the present declaration of duties. Yet these duties can be effectively respected in the exercise of the journalist profession only if the concrete conditions of professional independence and dignity are implemented. This is the subject of the declaration of rights quoted here.
Declaration of duties
The essential duties of the journalist in gathering, reporting on and commenting on events consist in:
1) Respecting the truth no matter what consequences it may bring abut to him, and this is because the right of the public is to know the truth.
2) Defending the freedom of information, of commentaries and of criticism.
3) Publishing only such pieces of information the origin of which is known or – in the opposite case – accompanying them with due reservations; not suppressing essential information and not altering texts and documents.
4) Not making use of disloyal methods to get information, photographs and documents.
5) Feeling obliged to respect the private life of people.
6) Correcting any published information which has proved to be inaccurate.
7) Observing the professional secrecy and not divulging the source of information obtained confidentially.
8) Abstaining from plagiarism, slander, defamation and unfounded accusations as well as from receiving any advantage owing to the publication or suppression of information.
9) Never confusing the profession of journalist with that of advertiser or propagandist and not accepting any consideration, direct or not, from advertisers.
10) Refusing any pressure and accepting editorial directives only from the leading persons in charge in the editorial office. Every journalist worthy of this name feels honoured to observe the above-mentioned principles; while recognising the law in force in each country, he does accept only the jurisdiction of his colleagues in professional matters, free from governmental or other interventions.