Israel – Press Council (1973)

Code of Professional Ethics adopted by the Israel Press Council in 1973.

1. The freedom of the press and of expression is a basic right of man and a cornerstone of his freedom and rights in a democratic regime. This right will find its most complete and comprehensive realisation if journalists always remember and fulfil their moral duty of truthfulness and exactness in gathering and reporting news and in appraising the actions, thoughts and feelings of the public.

2. The maintenance of a high professional standard and a high sense of responsibility is conditional upon journalists feeling themselves to be servants of the public.

3. The task of the journalist and the newspaper is to supply the public with verified news and with comments that fit the facts.

4. Personal gain, or the service of the interests of any individual or body contrary to the common good or unbecoming to the profession are forbidden to the journalist. A journalist shall not resort to trickery, provocation, enticement, extortion or threats of any kind in order to obtain news. A journalist shall receive no benefit, either direct or indirect, likely to affect his way of writing. He shall not write or sign any story that appears in a newspaper, openly or in disguise, as a paid advertisement. He shall not canvass for advertisements. He shall not use information reaching him in the course of his journalistic work, or by virtue of his contacts, for a non-journalistic purpose unless the law expressly requires him to do so. He shall not act as an informant or serve any information agency.

5. A journalist shall receive no pay or other reward for writing articles or stories or supplying news for public relations purposes, and no other publicist work, for public relations purposes, at the suggestion or invitation of any institutions or bodies, especially those whose activities he reviews as a journalist. If a journalist is of the opinion that any such suggestion or invitation is not contrary to professional ethics, he shall obtain the written approval of the Press Council before accepting and carrying out the work. The approval is indispensable; it is additional to any arrangement on the subject that may exist between the journalist and the editor.

6. Vilification, incitement and unfounded accusations, on personal, national, communal, religious, racial or other grounds are serious offences when engaged in by journalists. A journalist and a newspaper must respect the good name and the private and family life of every person. Where any publication has damaged a person’s reputation, he must be given an opportunity to publish a reply. The journalist and the newspaper must take care to present things correctly and to prevent wrong conclusions being drawn by the reader.

7. Plagiarism, the exploitation of another journalist’s work in any manner whatsoever, and the use of copyrighted material without permission is absolutely forbidden.

8. A journalist shall not disclose his source of information if the informant has asked him not to disclose it. He must keep professional secrets and the secrets of the undertaking in which he is employed. A journalist and a newspaper shall not publish any news which it has been agreed is not for publication, and a journalist shall not transmit any such news to another newspaper or to a person not connected with his newspaper or to another journalist on his newspaper for the purpose of publication.

9. Complaints by institutions, bodies or individuals against a journalist or newspaper for an infringement of this Code shall be submitted to the Press Council, which shall deal with them in accordance with its rules of procedure and shall draw its conclusions.

10. A journalist shall not as an individual apply for a discount on a payment to be made to an institution or body connected with directly or indirectly with his work as a journalist. Reduced fees for admission to cultural or artistic events must only be arranged collectively by the Union of Journalists. Reduced payments to other agencies connected with journalistic work may only be arranged collectively by the Press Council, which shall determine in each case if no breach of journalistic ethics would result.

11. An offer of cheap or free tickets by an aviation, navigation or tourist company or any other agency to a journalist or group of journalists may be made only through the newspaper’s editorial board or through the central bodies of the Journalists’ Association. A request for such tickets by a journalist to any such agency may be made only through his newspaper or the Journalists’ Association.

12. A journalist shall not receive any article, gift or benefit from an undertaking or institution with which he is professionally connected, except samples of products for the purpose of writing about them. Whenever the article exceeds the limits of a sample, the journalist shall not accept it. In cases of doubt, the matter shall be brought before the Ethics Committee of the Journalist’s Association.

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