Slovenia – Association and the Union of Journalists (2002)

Code of ethics of journalists, adopted by the Association and the Union of Journalists in Slovenia at Izola on 10 October 2002.

Preparing the new Code of Ethics of Slovene journalists special attention was focused on the IFJ Declaration of Principles on the Conduct of Journalists and the Code of Ethics of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ).

The first principle of professional conduct of journalists is the right of the public to be informed. Public enlightenment is the basis for proper functioning of modern societies and the foundation of democracy. In pursuance of the right of the public to be informed, journalists should at all times defend the principles of free gathering, disseminating and transmitting information, as well as the right to express opinions. Journalists are obliged to present a comprehensive account of events and – taking into consideration the rights of others – report in accurate and conscientious manner. Such conduct of journalists is the cornerstone of their credibility. This code of ethics applies to text, photography, video and audio.

Journalistic work
1. The journalist should test the accuracy of gathered information and exercise care to avoid mistakes. Each mistake – however inadvertently – should be admitted and corrected.

2. Publishing information involving serious allegations, the journalist should try to receive a response from those affected.

3. Publishing unconfirmed information or speculation, this should be expressly pointed out by the journalist.

4. The journalist should identify the source whenever feasible. The public is entitled to know the source if it is to appraise the significance and credibility of information. The journalist may consent to the anonymity of the source if information can not be acquired otherwise.

5. The journalist may decline testifying and disclosure of the source.

6. The journalist should avoid paying for information and be wary of sources expecting money or any special privilege in exchange for information.

7. The journalist should not conceal essential information he/she has gathered or falsify documents.

8. Montages, announcements, titles and subtitles should not misrepresent the content. Symbolic and archive material should be labelled accordingly.

9. Plagiarism is impermissible.

10. The journalist should avoid surreptitious methods of gathering information. If information vital to the public cannot be obtained otherwise, the journalist’s actions and the reasons for them should be made public and properly explained.

11. The journalist should distinguish news from commentary. A distinction between a factual report and commentary should be clearly defined.

12. If involved in the events the journalist reports on, he/she should disclose this or exclude himself/herself as a journalist.

Conflicts of interest
13. Interweaving or combining journalistic and advertising texts and actions is impermissible.

14. Advertisements, paid announcements and commercials should be clearly and unambiguously distinguished from journalistic texts. If there is any possibility of misunderstanding or doubt, an advertisement should be unambiguously labelled as such. Hybrids that blur the line between advertising and journalistic contents are impermissible.

15. The journalist should avoid situations that might lead to real or perceived conflicts of interest, which might compromise his/her integrity or that of the journalistic community.

16. To avoid real or perceived conflicts of interest, the journalist should refuse gifts, favours and fees, and shun free travel, special treatment, secondary employment, political involvement, public office and service in community organizations if this might diminish his/her credibility or that of the journalistic community.

17. The journalist should not take private advantage of information on financial events gained in the course of his/her duties. If the journalist trades in stocks he/she reports on, this should be disclosed to the public.

18. The journalist is obliged to refuse benefits offered to him/her by advertisers or special interests and to resist their attempts to influence his/her news coverage.

19. The journalist should disclose possible unavoidable conflicts of interest to the public or exclude himself/herself from reporting and commenting on them.

General ethical norms
20. The journalist should respect the individual’s right to privacy and avoid sensationalistic and unjustified disclosure of one’s privacy to the public. Intrusion into individual’s privacy is only permissible if there is an overriding public interest. With public officials and others seeking power, influence and attention the public’s right to be informed is greater. The journalist should be aware that gathering and publishing information and photographs may cause harm to individuals not accustomed to media and public attention.

21. Reporting on judicial matters, the journalist should take into consideration that no one is guilty until legally found so. The journalist should exercise caution in publishing names and photographs of perpetrators, victims and their relatives when reporting on tragedies and pretrial proceedings.

22. The journalist should be tactful when gathering and reporting information, publishing photographs and transmitting statements on children and minors, those affected by misfortune or family tragedy, the physically or mentally disabled and others having severe handicaps or illnesses.

23. The journalist should avoid stereotyping by race, gender, age, religion, ethnicity, geography, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance and social status. Discrimination based on sex, ethnicity, religion, social or national origins, insults about religious feelings and customs and incitement of conflicts between nationalities are impermissible.

Rights of journalists and accountability to the public
24. The journalist has the right to turn down any job in opposition to this code or his/her convictions.

25. No one is allowed to alter or revise the content of the journalist’s report or other piece of work without his/her consent. The journalist has the right to sign his/her piece of work and may not be signed without his/her knowledge or against his/her will.

26. Should the journalist be invited to the Journalists’ Ethics council session, he/she is obliged to attend it and to abide by its adjudications. In professional matters the journalist should recognise as competent the judgement of his/her colleagues only.

27. The journalist is obliged to abide by the same standards to which he/she holds others.

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