Serbia – Journalists Association of Serbia (2001)

Journalists’ Code, adopted at the Elective Assembly of the Journalists Association of Serbia, on 24 February 2001 in Arandjelovac.

I. Veracity
1. The most sacred duty of any journalist shall be to show respect for the truth.

2. For the sake of unrestricted and unbiased information supply, any journalist shall have the right to free access to all sources of information and unobstructed research into all facts of importance for public life, other than those that had been excluded under law beforehand.

3. Scrupulous publication of information shall mean truthful, verified, comprehensive and timely information supply to the public, and the interpretation and appraisal of facts, developments and phenomena shall call for fair and unbiased commentary.

4. In writing about the facts the origin of which is known to him/her, any journalist shall denote the source of information, as well as reproduce the facts and accounts credibly and clearly mark the montages and symbolic illustrations.

5. No journalist may postpone or prevent the publication of important information.

6. It shall be impermissible to abridge articles by omitting important facts with a view to twisting the truth or presenting a false picture or make any modification at the expense of the truth. Alterations may be made in texts only with their authors’ consent.

7. Any journalist shall bear responsibility for the selection of facts and their wrong presentation and be answerable for the inaccuracy of news, if he/she fails to denote them as non-verified.

8. In writing about disputable issues, any journalist shall hear the both sides and present their views and if either side refuses to state its view, he/she shall include a note to that effect in the news or article.

9. Sensationalism, publication of unfounded accusations, libels, rumours and slanders, as well as fabricated letters or letters whose writers are unknown or whose identity cannot be verified, shall be out of keeping with journalism.

10. Unsigned supplements and pseudonyms written under pseudonyms shall be regarded as those of the editorial office.

II. Resistance to External Pressures
11. Servility shown to the centres of political and financial power shall be incompatible with journalism. Any journalist shall consistently stand up to all external pressures and tendencies to misuse journalism, by giving preference to responsibility to the public rather than to employers and government, regardless of the offers or threats that might be coming to him/her from that side.

12. Any journalist shall struggle for the freedom of collection and publication of news and free circulation of information and be opposed to any form of censorship.

13. Any journalist shall have the right to instigate open debates on all issues of importance for society.

14. No journalist may be forced into committing any act that is contrary to his/her convictions and conscience.

15. Any journalist shall protect individuals and groups that are exposed to injustice.

III. Principles to be Respected in Practice
16. Being consistently committed to the truth, journalists shall cherish the public speech culture and ethics, observe the right to response and correction and publish corrections timely, regardless of any consequences for him/herself.

17. Any journalist shall observe embargo and professional secrets and protect the sources of confidential information, for the publication and veracity of which he/she assumes the responsibility.

18. No journalist may resort to false representation of him/herself or use dishonourable methods for the purpose of acquiring news, photographs and documents.

19. Journalism may not instil unjustified fear in people or give them false hopes.

IV. Showing Respect for Persons
20. Based on the equality of citizens before law and protection of the citizens’ personal rights, any journalist shall show respect for the human dignity and integrity of the person he/she is writing about.

21. Journalism shall be free of any discrimination on the basis of ethnic affiliation, religion, race, sex, marital status, political determination, class affiliation, occupation, age, physical characteristics, ideological convictions and social background.

22. No journalist may misuse people’s feelings or their ignorance or mental incompetence and all journalists shall observe the right to privacy in reporting about mishaps, sufferings and pain, children, juveniles, diseases, family tragedies and accused persons, as well as in publishing their names and photographs, mentioning innocent relations and presenting the transgressors’ confessions.

23. When reporting on investigative and court proceedings, any journalist shall abide by the view that any suspect is innocent until proven guilty.

V. Advertising and Espionage
24. Journalism shall be free of overt and covert advertising, as well as of any kind of commercial publicity. Such supplements shall be clearly separated from the journalist texts.

25. The journalist profession shall be incompatible with work for intelligence services.

VI. Independence and Privileges
26. Journalism shall be incompatible with bribes received for publishing, covering up or preventing information from being published and all forms of unlawful acquisition of personal financial benefits. Any journalist shall notify the general public of any enjoyment of privileges and discounts.

VII. Attitude to Colleagues
27. Any journalist shall show an honourable attitude to his/her colleagues, compete with them in the spirit of fairness, not obstruct them in their work, observe their authorship and show professional solidarity on every occasion.

28. The appropriation of compositions of other people, their plagiarising and falsification of documents shall be impermissible.

VIII. Protection of Journalists
29. Any journalist who abides by this Code shall enjoy full support and protection from his/her professional organisation and editorial office.

30. Any person who is of the opinion that a journalist has violated any provision of this code may address the Court of Honour and the Public Service Council of the Journalists Association of Serbia.

31. In the case of proven violations, the Court of Honour shall pronounce the appropriate measures to the members of the Journalists Association of Serbia concerned, and the Public Service Council shall address the appropriate opinion to the individuals and other participants in the public information supply who are not members of the Journalists Association of Serbia, in an effort to confirm and highlight the journalist profession’s rule of profound ethicity.

[Translation by the Association]


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