Latvia – Latvian Union of Journalists (1992)

Code of ethics, adopted at the Conference of the Latvian Union of Journalists on 28 April 1992.

1.1. Freedom of speech and freedom of the press are basic elements of democracy. A free independent press, radio and TV are the most important guarantee of the democratic development of society.
1.2. The mass media must defend the freedom of speech and freedom of the press. They should not submit to any influence that can limit the free flow of information and the usage of sources, or limit the debate on any issue having significance for society.
1.3. The duty of the mass media is to protect human rights.

2.1. The main task of a journalist is to provide society with true and verified information.
2.2. The facts should be set forth objectively and clearly, and with no misrepresentations.
2.3. The journalist carries a personal responsibility for the information presented and its interpretation.
2.4. The journalist should abstain from duties that are against his/ her convictions.
2.5. The journalist must respect intellectual property and refrain from plagiarism.

3.1. As it is declared in the Press Law, the editor is responsible for the information presented on radio, TV or press. He/ she should secure the flow of free and proper information, as well as the free exchange of opinions.
3.2. The editorial board should guard their integrity, so that they may be free to act independently of any persons or groups who would like to exercise their influence.

4.1. The journalist has no right to reveal the source without its permission, unless it is demanded by the court.
4.2. In particular, consideration should be shown for people who cannot be expected to be aware of the effectiveness of the information and statements they give. The journalist should take into consideration and never abuse the emotions and feelings of other people, their ignorance or their failing power of judgement.

5.1. The journalist should be critical in the choice of sources. The information should be checked and statements quoted should be verified.
5.2. In the publication journalist must always respect a person’s private life, nationality, race identity and religious belief.
5.3. In the publication factual information must be clearly and unmistakably separated from comment.
5.4. There should be strict bounds between the advertisement and the author’s material. The latter should not imitate the advertisement, as such publications create doubts of the objectivity of the editorial board as well as about the independence of the mass media.
5.5. Special attention should be paid using pictures out of their original context. Manipulation is inadmissible, as it creates a delusion. Photomontage should be marked with a special sign or in the caption of the picture.
5.6. The journalist must pay special attention if reporting from the law courts. The question of guilt has only been settled when a duly enforceable decision has been made.
5.7. If incorrect information has been printed an apology for the mistake should be forthcoming as soon as possible and it should be put in a well noticeable place.
5.8. Space should be made available as soon as possible for responses from persons or institutions who or which have been made the subjects of attacks in publications.
5.9. The author of the material has a right to see it after it has been edited by the journalist and before it is published; it can be published only with the acceptance of the author.

6.1. The journalist must respect the democratic institutions and moral standards.
6.2. The journalist should stand up for human values – peace, democracy, human rights, and people’s right to self-determination.
6.3. The journalist of Latvia, having respect for the national values of other nations, should esteem the history, culture, national symbols, independence and freedom of Latvia.

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