Charter of the Professional Journalists in Niger, drafted by the “Etats généraux de la presse” in 1992, and ratified by the self-styled “press council” in May 1997.
The right to inform, to speak freely and to criticize is one of the fundamental liberties of every human being. It forms an essential element of democracy in Niger.
From the right of the public to know all facts and opinions derive all the duties and rights of journalists in Niger listed in the present Charter, entrusted to the Superior Communication Council of Niger.
The responsibility of a journalist towards the public must prevail over any other responsibility, especially towards their employers and the authorities.
The mission of informing is necessarily bound by limitations which Niger’s journalists have imposed upon themselves in this Charter: their sense of responsibility has led them to include more duties than rights.
Those rights, by the way, can be truly enjoyed in the exercise of the journalistic profession only if the material conditions of the journalists’ independence and professional dignity are achieved.
1. A journalist must defend the freedom to inform, to comment and to criticize.
2. A journalist must ascertain the truthfulness of the facts which he/she must report without any distortion.
3. A journalist will exercise his/her freedom of opinion with all due respect for the public’s right to information. Whatever the circumstances, the accuracy of the facts reported or commented must never be distorted by personal opinions.
4. A journalist will abstain from plagiarism, slander, libel and unfounded accusations.
5. A journalist must not use incorrect methods to obtain or distribute information.
6. A journalist must rectify any published information that proves inaccurate.
7. Any news item that could not be checked must be marked as such and proper reservations must be made.
8. A journalist is bound by professional secrecy. He/she must not reveal the source of information obtained confidentially. In exceptional cases, a journalist may reveal his source to a superior provided the latter is bound by professional secrecy too. A journalist can be released from the obligation of secrecy if the source goes public or if it can be clearly demonstrated that the source had willingly misled the reporter.
9. A journalist must respect the private life of people so long as it has no bearing on the life of the community.
10. A news item likely to bring a person into disrepute or to expose a person to contempt or hatred, should only be published if it is of public interest and important in the life of the community.
11. A journalist must consider any person that is suspected, arrested or charged as presumed innocent until that person has been sentenced following a fair trial.
12. A journalist must resist and denounce any attempt at corruption. He/she cannot receive and should not expect any advantage from the publication or non-publication of a news item or comment.
He/she should not confuse his job with that of an advertiser or a propagandist.
He/she must refuse any, direct or indirect, instruction from advertisers. He/she must not promote or advertise any commercial product.
He/she must defend his/her credibility and that of the whole profession. In particular, he/she must avoid any relationship with a group of people likely to jeopardise that credibility.
13. A journalist must refuse any pressure and accept editorial instructions only from the heads of his/her newsroom.
14. A journalist must not apply for a colleague’s position, or cause his/her dismissal by offering to provide the same service at a lower salary.
15. A journalist, in the exercise of his profession, is entitled to a free access to all sources of information. No measure can be taken to restrict that right save in exceptional cases and for clearly articulated motives.
16. A journalist, acting as a professional, is entitled to call upon anybody he/she judges competent in order to analyse or comment upon an event of local or international importance.
17. A journalist cannot be forced to accomplish a professional act, or express an opinion, that is contrary to his convictions or his moral conscience.
18. A journalist is not responsible for words spoken directly by some other person.
A journalist worthy of the name considers it is his/her duty strictly to observe the principles presented in the present “Charter of the Professional Journalists of Niger”: while acknowledging Niger’s laws and regulations, a journalist only accepts, in professional matters, the jurisdiction of the Superior Communication Council of – and will tolerate no governmental intrusion.