Adopted by Congress of Russian journalists on 23 June 1994 in Moscow. Translated by Jukka Pietilinen (research assistant, University of Tampere, Finland) in co-operation with Yassen Zassoursky (dean, Moscow State University, Russia).
1. The journalist is always obliged to act on the basis of the principles of the professional ethics fixed in this Code, the approval, acceptance and obeying of which is an absolute condition of his membership in Russian Federation of Journalists.
2. The journalist observes the laws of his country, but when the fulfilment of his professional duty is concerned he recognises the jurisdiction of his colleagues only, and rejects any attempts of pressure and interference from the side of the government or whoever else.
3. The journalist disseminates and comments only on information, the reliability of which he is convinced and the source of which is well known to him. He will strive as hard as he can to avoid damageto anyone, by reason of its incompleteness or inaccuracy, and refrain from deliberate concealment of socially important information or dissemination of information known to be false.
The journalist is strictly obliged to separate the facts he is reporting and that which comprises opinions, versions and assumptions, at the same time he is not obliged to be neutral in his professional activities.
When fulfilling his professional duties the journalist does not resort to illegal and unworthy methods to acquire information. The journalist recognises and respects the right of physical and juridical persons not to give information and not to answer the questions presented to him, excluding the cases in which the presentation of information is obliged by law.
The journalist considers malevolent distortion of facts, slander, the obtaining of payment for dissemination of false or hiding of truthful information under any conditions as a grave professional crime; on the whole, the journalist should not take, either directly or indirectly, any kind of compensation or reward from third persons for publication of any kind of material or opinion.
When convinced that he has published false or distorted material, the journalist is obliged to correct his mistake using those print and (or) audio-visual media which were utilised to publish the material. In case of need he is obliged to present his apology through his print media.
The journalist is responsible by his name and reputation for the reliability of all his messages and for fairness of all his judgements, which are disseminated with his signature, pseudonym or anonymously, yet with his knowledge and approval. No one has right to forbid him to withdraw his signature from any communication or judgement, which is even only partly distorted against his will.
4. The journalist keeps professional secrets in relation to the source of information which is acquired in confidential way. No one can force him to reveal this source. The right to the anonymity may be broken only in exceptional cases when there is suspicion that the source has consciously distorted the truth, and also when the reference to the name of the source is the only way to avoid serious and inevitable damage to the people.
The journalist is obliged to respect the request of the persons interviewed by him not to expose officially their statements.
5. The journalist understands fully the danger of limitations, persecutions and violence, which his activities may provoke.
In fulfilling his professional duties he counteracts extremism and restriction of civil rights on any basis including sex, race, language, religion, political or other view as well as social or national origin.
The journalist respects the honour and dignity of the people who become the objects of his professional attention. He refrains from any derogatory allusions or comments in relation to race, nationality, colour of the skin, religion, social origin or sex as well as in relation to the physical handicap or disease of the person. He refrains from publications of that kind of information with the exception of cases when they have direct relation to the content of the published article. The journalist is unconditionally obliged to avoid offensive expressions which may harm the moral and physical health of the people.
The journalist sustains the principle that any person is not guilty as far as the opposite has not been proved in court. In his communications he avoids mentioning the names of the relatives and friends of the persons found guilty or charged for committing a crime – excluding the circumstances when it is necessary to the objective presentation of the case. He also avoids mentioning the names of the victims of the crime and publishing that kind of material which leads to the identification of the victim. With the special strictness these norms should be observed when the journalistic communication may harm the interests of minors.
Only the defence of the interest of the society may justify journalistic investigations which involve intrusion into the private life of a person. These restrictions on intrusion have to be observed rigorously when it concerns persons placed in medical or related institutions.
6. The journalist considers his professional status incompatible with holding positions in organs of governmental, legislative or judicial power as well as in governing bodies of political parties or other organisations of a political nature. The journalist recognises that his professional activities cease when he takes a weapon in his hands.
7. The journalist considers it unworthy to utilise his reputation, his authority as well as his professional rights and possibilities to disseminate information of advertising or commercial nature, especially if this kind of nature of the material is not clearly and unambiguously evident from the very form of the material. The combination of the journalistic and advertising activity is ethically unthinkable.
The journalist should not use for his personal interests or for the interests of his kin any confidential information which he may possess because of his profession.
8. The journalist respects and defends the professional rights of his colleagues and observes the laws of fair competition. The journalist keeps away from situations in which he might cause harm to the personal or professional interests of his colleagues.
The journalist respects and insists on respect for copyright, arising from any kind of creative work. Plagiarism is inadmissible. Utilising in any form the work of his colleague, the journalist refers to the name of the author.
9. The journalist refuses an assignment if its fulfilment is related to the violation of one of the above-mentioned principles.
10. The journalist uses and asserts his right to use all guarantees provided by the civil and penal laws for defence in the court or other way from violence or the threat of violence, offence, moral damage or defamation.