Code of Conduct, including Journalists’ Obligations and Rights, agreed by AJK members.
The AJK members believe in the promotion and protection of Article 19 of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, where it is said:
Everyone has the right of the freedom of opinion and speech: this right includes freedom of opinion without interference and the right to ask, accept and display information and ideas in each media, notwithstanding national borders.
The main task of media is to publish accurate, important and timely information.
Code of obligation
Media organizations and AJK members accept the following principles:
-to investigate the truth on a sound basis so that the public shall know it and understand its consequences;
-to protect freedom of information and the inherent rights that it claims, freedom of opinion and criticism, independence and professional dignity;
-to publish only information and documents for which they know the source;
-to avoid cutting or omitting essential information or its basic elements and to not falsify any text, document, image or voice (excluding cases where it is necessary to change a voice or image in order to protect the identity of the source);
-to separate reporting of facts from personal comments and hypothesis;
-to inform the public every time they publish or broadcast unconfirmed news;
-to avoid headlines that are not in accordance with the text;
-to respect embargoes when they are in the public interest;
-to be insistent on gathering and verifying information but not use illicit methods to get information, facts or documents;
-to avoid plagiarism;
-to identify themselves when they are on duty, and carry a document such as a journalists’ card. Hiding of identity is forbidden while on duty;
-to disprove all published information which is shown to be inaccurate;
-to protect professional confidentiality and never to reveal the source of reliable information if the publication of the information in anyway might cause danger to the source;
-to respect peoples’ private lives in all cases except where exposure is in the public interest;
-to not accept other tasks except from their own editorial offices and avoid accepting any privilege or gain that might limit their professional independence or expression of opinion;
-to avoid mixing commercial information with editorial material;
-to avoid publishing anonymous or baseless accusations. The publication of baseless accusations, lies and attacks is in contradiction of the journalistic code.
Press releases from authorities, political parties, societies or other associations should be either summarized by giving the important elements or published in full.
When surveys are published or broadcast, journalists should give the number of people interviewed, the place and time the survey took place as well as the name of the surveyor.
Borrowing of Materials
When articles, images, telephonic information and other materials are borrowed, journalists should ensure that what they present does not diverge from the original.
Interviews are to be published only after obtaining authorization from the interviewed person. Special attention needs to be paid to people who are not used to being interviewed. They should be informed in advance as to whether what they say will be published as an interview or merely as information.
Media organization respect the author’s right, including moral rights of the team and freelancers who work for them.
Moral rights, including advises for changes in the given material, should be determined in the collective contract.
Readers’ letters, sent to be published, should be published if their content affects public opinion. As a rule, letters are published along with the name of the author. Authors and publishers carry the responsibility for content of letters.
In the case of unsigned articles or authorship under a pseudonym, all responsibility falls on the editorial office.
No editorial office may respond to a letter with a polemic, unless it is published side by side with the original text.
Accident or catastrophes
In the case of accidents and catastrophes, care for the injured and for the families of victims should take precedence over the right of information.
Information and secret services
Journalists who act as informers for the secret services discredit the journalistic profession and purpose.
Journalists and political activity
It is recommended that when a journalist accepts a senior function in a political party or government body he/she should make a clear distinction between his/her professional and political activities. For the reputation of the media it is preferable that in such cases journalists should discontinue their profession as long as they remain involved in political activities. According to this code of conduct, it is unacceptable for members of the media to use the media for personal political gain.
All these are in accordance with the Declaration of Milano of 1993 and 1995.
All kinds of discrimination, especially discrimination based on gender, ethnicity, religion, social issues and race, are completely inconsistent with this code of conduct.
During election campaigns, journalists, irrespective of the party they support, should conduct themselves with professionalism and absolute impartiality.
Decision of the Court of Honor
All members of AJK will publish and broadcast decisions and findings related to their media, immediately after the Court of Honor has taken its decision.
If an editorial office has published or transmitted any information against which there are reactions, it is required to leave enough space for the reactions, especially those that are accompanied by arguments.
Code of Rights
Journalists have the right to:
-freely publish or broadcast materials with no interference from government or public authorities;
-research without obstacles all issues which are of a public interest;
-write critically about all persons who are in charge of state and public functions;
-refuse to carry out any professional act that is against the policy of the news organization for which they work. This policy must be communicated in writing to them before they make final commitment and can not be changed unilaterally;
-enjoy working conditions guaranteed by collective agreements, including the right to participate in professional organizations, without any personal consequences;
-have an individual contract that should guarantee their material and moral security, and as a result of their function, responsibility and social role, also guarantee their economic independence.