Lithuania – Lithuanian Union of Journalists, the Lithuanian Association of Journalists, the Association of Publishers of Periodicals, the Lithuanian Radio and Television Association, the Lithuanian Radio and Television, and the Lithuanian Centre of Journalism (1996)

Code of ethics, adopted by the Lithuanian Union of Journalists, the Lithuanian Association of Journalists, the Association of Publishers of Periodicals, the Lithuanian Radio and Television Association, the Lithuanian Radio and Television, and the Lithuanian Centre of Journalism on 25 March 1996.

I. Truth, Honesty, Decency
1. Neither publishers, nor journalists shall have the right to consider that news is their own property. Organisers of public information should not consider information to be merchandise. The possibility to receive and disseminate information is one of the major freedoms of the individual.

2. With respect to the human right to obtain fair information, a journalist shall propagate true and accurate news as well as a full range of opinions.

3. News shall be deemed to be the facts and data based on truth that might be established in accordance with appropriate means of verification and evidence.

4. Opinions shall be expressed by the journalist authorised by editorial staff or any other individual publicising the notes and comments on general ideas and news. Nevertheless, opinions tend to be inevitably subjective, and the author has to ensure that an opinion should be presented honestly and fairly, without any distortion of facts or data.

5. News and opinions should be clearly identified as such.

6. With due respect to diversity of opinions, the journalist has to present as many as possible opinions of impartial individuals. This is particularly vital in the case when certain mass media addresses any urgent, vague or contradicting issues of life.

7. The journalist shall assess his information sources in a critical way, scrutinise facts with due diligence on the grounds of at least several sources.

8. Journalists shall be solidly in defence of a colleague from prosecution for criticism.

9. The journalist shall use all his attempts to gather information from all available sources in order to be sure information is true, full and impartial.

10. Information shall be gathered in an ethical and lawful ways.

11. On request for information, the journalist has to identify himself/herself, specify the editorial staff and his position, to warn the individual that his/her words might be publicised, except in cases when officially inaccessible or confidential information is being gathered.

12. The journalist has no right to use pressure or offer any compensation in exchange for information to the source of information.

13. The journalist and publisher have to assess the information obtained from an individual under stress or shock, who is in a helpless position, or who is communicating for the first time with a representative of public mass media, with particular care.

14. The journalist should not use for direct citing audio and video recording means, if the individual providing the information opposes to it or the individual is under stress, shock or has obvious physical defects.

15. The journalist should identify the source of his information. For this reason he has to obtain permission to refer to the informant’s name. In case the source of information requests not to disclose his/her name. The journalist has no right to disclose it.

16. In preparing news for publication, the journalist has no right to supplement it with invented facts, to distort it or omit material facts.

17. The journalist shall distinguish between news necessary for public knowledge and that which satisfies human curiosity.

18. Disputable or insignificant facts or events should not be presented as a sensation or as material matters.

19. Rumours and reports of anonymous informants should not be published, except in the case the news is of vital importance for the public and shall be presented as unverified.

20. The journalist and publisher shall not violate human rights and dignity.

21. The journalist shall not humiliate or mock at the individual’s family name, race, nationality, religious convictions, age, sex or physical deficiencies even in the case such individual has committed a crime.

22. Journalists shall not publish artificially deformed photo arrangements, untrue signatures under photos that might insult the portrayed individuals. The journalist shall not publish audio and visual arrangements that distort the ideas or facts of the informant. This provision shall not be applied to publication of caricatures, cartoons or comic plots.

23. The journalist should not publish critical works, the arguments of which are based on the facts of their life, by making the impression that the journalist is settling an old personal score.

24. On quoting a speech of any individual, the journalist shall attempt to retain not only its essence but also the manner of speaking.

25. The mass media shall correct the mistakes and inaccuracies it has made without delay that might insult particular persons until the insulted individuals demands to do so.

26. In case it becomes obvious that the information in any mass media contains untrue facts, the information shall be specified or erroneous facts corrected immediately, by publishing them in an appropriate place in the next issue, radio or television program.

27. The criticised individual shall always have the right to justify himself/ herself and to explain. In case of failure to have such a possibility, the public shall be informed on it.

28. It shall be necessary to announce the evaluations of the Ethic Commission of Journalists and Publishers.

II. Independence of Journalism and its responsibility
29. The journalist shall not carry out assignments of any authorities, private structures or separate individuals and shall be engaged only in the assignments given by the managers of the mass media.

30. The journalist shall not have the right to accept gifts, travel free of charge, to go on vacations paid by somebody, or receive any other signs of benevolence that might affect his independence. If, in exceptional cases, the journalist travels free of charge (on business matters), he should state this fact in his work.

31. The journalist cannot receive any fringe benefits from anybody, except his editorial board, a professional union and non-profit public organizations.

32. People have the right to know the owner of the mass media and his/her economic interests.

33. The journalist and publisher shall not use professional information for his personal benefit.

34. Mass media shall clearly distinguish commercials, advertising, ordered articles from the works of journalists.

35. It shall be forbidden to publish commercials by covering them with impartial information. The journalist shall not receive compensation for concealed advertising.

36. The journalist should consider if it is appropriate to use his name, image and voice for advertising, except the cases when such advertising aims at humanitarian goals instead of commercial ones.

37. Not only mass media shall be free but its journalist shall also be free. He/she has to refuse to perform the assignment given by the manager of editorial staff in case it contradicts national legislation, the ethics of journalist and his/her personal convictions. The journalist has the right not to undersign his work in case it undergone material changes without his consent and it resulted in distortion of the idea of the work and emerged the ideas not belonging to the author.

38. The journalist shall have professional qualification.

III. Protection of Personal Honour, Dignity and Privacy
39. The journalist shall not have the right to publish the facts about the individual’s private life without his consent, except in the case they are related to any high official and these facts are important to the society or criminal actions are being fixed.

40. The journalist shall comply with the presumption of innocence. Only the courts shall have the right to accuse an individual on its enforced decision.

41. In case in the interest of society it is necessary to disclose the name of the individual who has committed a crime and afterwards the fact of crime has not been proved, the journalist shall inform about it immediately.

42. The journalist and publisher shall not publish groundless, unverified accusations.

43. The journalist should not publish the names of victims, particularly in the case of sexual aggression.

44. The journalist and publisher should consider if it is worth it to publicise the names of delinquents even when their fault has been proved in the court of law.

45. It shall not be proper to publicise the names of the individuals who commit minor crimes and have been lightly punished, except in the case when such individuals are high officials.

46. The journalist should not recall the old crime committed by an individual who has served his sentence. This rule shall not apply to the individual in case of undoubted recidivism and if such individual continues his work that was related to serious crime he has committed and claims to a high position in the society.

47. The journalist should consider if it is worth to publish the facts about family scandals.

48. The journalist and publisher should not overdo the pictures of catastrophes, accidents or violence that might insult the feelings of the relatives as well as sensitiveness of readers and spectators.

49. The journalist should be particularly careful in publishing the facts about suicides or attempts of committing suicide, avoiding mentioning the family names.

50. On publishing private letters, the consent of the author of the letter and addressee or their lawful inheritors shall be obtained.

51. The journalist shall not publicise medical information that has not been verified.

52. The journalist shall show particular respect to the rights of the children and adults with physical or mental incapacity.

IV. Relations among Journalists
53. In their business relations journalists should maintain the balance between fair competition and professional solidarity.

54. The journalist should not impede his colleague to gather information, to mislead him intentionally, or report on him to the authorities.

55. Neither individual journalists nor separate editorial staffs shall settle old scores with each other via mass media. Such behaviour makes harm not only to their prestige but also the prestige of their profession.

56. Plagiarism shall be deemed to be one of the most serious offences in the journalistic profession.

57. The journalist should identify the primary source of information in case he referred in his work to the facts used in any other author’s work even in the case he has not quoted them but adapted the work of the colleague.

58. The journalist should not work in the mass media that tolerates the principles of dishonourable journalism or unfair competition.

59. The journalist shall not write about any other individual or sign the work written by him.

60. The journalist shall not have the right to offer his work to any other mass media, without agreement with the chiefs of editorial staff.

61. In case a free lance offers the same work to several other editorial boards, he shall warn the latter about it.

62. The journalist shall keep in confidentiality the secrets of the editorial staff that are not related to violations of laws and the Code of Ethics.

63. The journalist shall protect his professional honour and prestige.

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