Greece – National Council on Broadcasting (1990)

Code of Ethics for Journalists and Audio-Visual Programmes, decreed by the National Council on Broadcasting and published (1990) as part of a collective contract signed by the Association of Athenian Journalists (ESIEA) and the management of ERT, Greek Public Broadcasting.

ERT and ESIEA declare that:

Article 1. Fields of Application
1. the rules in the present code apply to public broadcasting (national and local) as well as to private radio and television stations.

Article 2. General Principles
1. Broadcast programmes must be of the quality needed for radio and television to fulfil their mission and insure the raising of the country’s cultural level.
2. The diffusion of facts must be accurate, must conform to reality and be as complete as possible.
3. The country’s Constitution, laws and institutions must be respected in all circumstances even when they are criticised.
4. The writing of programmes and their presentation must carefully conform to the grammatical rules of the Greek language. The same applies to the pronunciation of foreign names in programmes made in Greek. As regards the writing and presentation of programmes in foreign languages, they should normally be presented by native speakers.
5. During the programmes, the rule for both presenters and guests is to be well-mannered, especially when the programmes are meant for or could be watched by under-age children.

Article 3. Participants
1. People participating in programs should adopt a dignified and respectable behaviour.
2. Using technological means or other methods to distort the opinions expressed by participants during the programmes, is not permitted.

Article 4. Crime, Terrorism
1. Demonstrating criminal methods should be avoided so as to prevent copy-cat behaviour.
2. Crimes, violence, terrorism and other reprehensible acts should not be presented and glorified.
3. The live broadcast of terrorist acts, of interviews with terror-ists or their mouthpieces should not serve as a pretext for them to reach the public and propagate their opinions.

Article 5. Demonstrations, Riots
During the coverage of demonstrations and/or riots:
a) it is not permitted to use special effects aimed at fooling the public;
b) broadcast stations are not authorized to air slogans that might incite people to participate in such acts;
c) in reporting events, the rules of objectivity, of neutrality and well as the other rules in the code of ethics should be re-spected.

Article 6. Competition and Game Shows
1. The management of such programmes should not make off-air arrangements with some participants: all competitors must participate on an equal footing.
2. Such programmes must respect the dignity of participants and public.

Article 7. Manipulation of the public, Causing a Panic
Broadcast programmes must not:
a) abuse the public, or start a panic, by simulating newscasts;
b) use hypnosis;
c) aim at causing the public to act hysterically or putting it in a state of hypnosis;
d) use methods likely to infiltrate messages into the public’s subconscious.

Article 8. Newscasts
1. News shows must be written and presented so as to give a full, objective, neutral picture of the day’s news.
2. Serious errors that occur during presentation must be corrected, as quickly as possible and in the course of a news show.

Article 9. Protection of Minors
1. The preparation and presentation of entertainment programs must take into account the negative influence they can have on under-age listeners and viewers, if they are aired at the time of day when that part of the public is watching.
2. Entertainment programmes which show acts of torture on human beings or animals, or which show violent scenes, should not be aired at times when minors are watching, unless the aim is explicitly educational.
3. Programmes should not contain pornographic acts or unjustified scenes of violence, likely to seriously harm minors’ physical, psychical or moral balance. If such scenes are shown, all necessary steps must be taken to avoid that minors view such programmes.

Article 10. Violence
1. Violent scenes are authorized within fiction or news programmes insofar as they are indispensable to understand the context of the action. They are strictly forbidden when simply used to stimulate the public.
2. The presentation of instruments or methods of violence is forbidden, except if the purpose is explicitly educational.
3. The presentation of perverse sexual acts, of masochist or sadist acts, is forbidden. A minimal use of them is authorized within educational programmes or fiction, insofar as they are absolutely necessary to the development of the programme.
4. It is forbidden to show programmes that encourage people to consume alcohol, drugs or to commit antisocial or criminal acts.

Article 11.  How Complaints are Examined.
Complaints concerning the quality of programmes are first examined by the director general or whoever is in charge of the station. Next, if need be, it is examined by the National Audio-visual Council.

Article 12. Concluding Clauses
1. The present code will become valid two months after its official publication in the State register of laws and regulations.
2. Starting in late 1992, a commission will evaluate how respected the present code is, as well as the need to revise it.

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