The GJA Code of Ethics was adopted by the National Council of the Ghana Journalists Association at Sunyani, capital of the Brong Ahafo region, on 27 July 1994.
The event was organized with financial assistance from the Friederich Ebert Foundation which also provided funds for the publication of the document.
1. The GJA Code of Ethics has been drawn up as a ready guide and is applicable to members of the association in the state-owned media, private media and local freelance journalists.
2. The code provides a frame of reference to the National Executive and the Disciplinary Committee and members of the association when it becomes necessary to initiate disciplinary action against any member who flouts any Article of the Code.
3. The code is meant to ensure that members adhere to the highest ethical standards, professional competence and good behavior in carrying out their duties.
4. As the fourth estate of the realm, the public expect the media to play their watchdog role. They should do this with a high sense of responsibility without infringing on the rights of individuals and the society in general.
ARTICLE 1: PEOPLE’S RIGHT TO TRUE INFORMATION
1. The duty of every journalist is to write and report the truth, bearing in mind his/her duty to serve
2. The public have the right to unbiased, accurate, balanced and comprehensive information as well as express themselves freely through the media.
3. A journalist should make adequate enquiries and cross-check his/her facts.
ARTICLE 2: SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
1. In collecting and disseminating information, the journalist should bear in mind his/her responsibility to the public at large and the various interests in society.
ARTICLE 3: PROFESSIONAL INTEGRITY
1. Journalists should not accept bribe or any form of inducement to influence the performance of his/her professional duties.
ARTICLE 4: PLAGIARISM
1. A journalist should not plagiarize because it is unethical and illegal.
2. Where there is the need to use another’s material, it is proper to credit the source.
ARTICLE 5: RESPECT FOR PRIVACY AND HUMAN DIGNITY
1. Journalists should respect the right of the individual, the privacy and human dignity.
2. Enquiries and intrusions into a person’s private life can only be justified when done in public interest.
3. A journalist should guard against defamation, libel, slander and obscenity.
ARTICLE 6: RESPECT FOR NATIONAL AND ETHNIC VALUES
1. A journalist should not originate material, which encourages discrimination on the grounds of ethnicity, color, creed, gender or sexual orientation.
ARTICLE 7: CONFIDENTIAL SOURCES
1. Journalists are bound to protect confidential sources of information.
ARTICLE 8: SUPPRESSION OF NEWS
1. Under no circumstances should news or a publication be suppressed unless it borders on national security or is in public interest to do so.
ARTICLE 9: CORRECTIONS
1. Whenever there is an inaccurate or a misleading report, it should be corrected promptly and given due prominence. An apology should be published whenever appropriate.
ARTICLE 10: REJOINDERS
1. A fair opportunity should be given to individuals and organizations.
2. Any report or a write-up affecting the reputation of an individual or an organization without a chance to reply is unfair and must be avoided by journalists.
ARTICLE 11: SEPARATING COMMENTS FROM FACTS
1. While free to take positions on any journalists should draw a clear line between comment, conjecture and fact.
ARTICLE 12: INFORMATION AND PICTURES
1. A journalist shall obtain information, photographs and illustration only by straightforward, means.
2. The use of other means can be justified only by overriding considerations of the public interest.
3. The journalist is entitled to exercise a personal conscientious objection to the use of such means.
ARTICLE 13: RESPECTING EMBARGOES
1. Journalists should respect embargoes on stories.
ARTICLE 14: VICTIMS OF SEXUAL ASSAULT
1. Journalists should avoid identifying victims of sexual assault.
ARTICLE 15: DEALING WITH THE UNDER-AGED
1. Journalists should protect the rights of minors and in criminal and other cases secure the consent of parents or guardians before interviewing or photographing them.
ARTICLE 16: PERSONAL GRIEF OR DISTRESS
1. In case of personal grief or distress, journalists should exercise tact and diplomacy in seeking information and publishing.
ARTICLE 17: HEADLINES & SENSATIONALISM
1. Newspaper headlines should be fully warranted by the contents of the articles they accompany.
2. Photographs and telecasts should be give an accurate picture of an event and not highlight an incident out of context.