Slovenia – Journalists of the Republic Slovenia (1993)

Code of journalists, adopted by Journalists of the Republic Slovenia in 1993.

1. A journalist’s fundamental obligation is to provide the public with authentic and true information.

A journalist reports as a witness or on the basis of facts and proofs that have a known origin.

Omitting crucial and known facts, concealing and banning information or falsifying documents is against the code. The norm of trustworthiness; that is the principle of truth, must be respected in text, picture and sound.

Any violation done by cutting, editing or in any other deceptive way, that alters the true message of the source, is unacceptable.
It is a journalist’s right to be unimpeded in gathering and conveying the information and to report the cases where the access to information has been illegally or groundlessly restricted.

Principle 1.1. Pre-election period
For the sake of objective as well as free and balanced information, journalists are entitled to report from pre-election meetings also opinions that might be against their personal belief. This principle applies also to advertisements or announcements protected by the freedom of the press.

Principle 1.2. Press releases
The releases for public and press, issued by the authorities, political parties, societies or other associations of interest, have to be specially declared as such and is clearly marked, particularly when no editorial work has been done on them.

2. A journalist has to check very carefully all information in picture and words, intended for publishing; their arrangement, grouping and pattern. Titles and subtitles must not alter or falsify the contents. Unconfirmed news, rumours or assumptions must be declared in this regard. Library material (photographs from the archives) and symbolic pictures need also to be declared as such. Plagiarism is irreconcilable with the code of journalists.

Principle 2.1. Publishing of the public opinion polls
The code recommends publishing the methods of research: the number of people that answered the research questionnaires, the time when the research was done and who ordered the research.

Principle 2.2. Symbolic illustration
When an illustration could be understood as an authentic recording, although it is not, it is recommended to add an explanation:
– a supplementary or additional illustration,
– an illustration in the manner of stylisation (artistic visualisation of the text).
– a photomontage (photo-edit) or other alterations of the original.

Principle 2.3. Announcements or excerpts
Editorships that publish the announcements of the contents of excerpts of articles, are bound to assure that shorter versions or complements do not alter the meaning of the original and do not allow the creation of any wrong conclusions.

Principle 2.4. Interview
An interview is irreproachable from the aspect of journalism, if the interviewee authorises the final version. In cases where the authorisation is not possible due to the lack of time, the interviewee has to be informed undoubtedly and in advance that his statements will be published in the form of an interview. An interview in verbal or written form in such circumstances is not regarded as mere news, but as a piece of work, which is protected by legal author’s rights, especially when the text is arranged in a way, where quotations are included. In case when an article is based on such an interview of a personal character and published in whole or in its vital parts, the source needs to be declared. When a journalist indirectly summarises essential thoughts in his or her own words, a journalist’s honour obliges him to declare the source.

Principle 2.5. Embargo
A time limit that prohibits the publishing certain news before the given time, is acceptable from the professional point of view only when it is for the benefit of informing. An embargo is, in principle, an uncommitted agreement between the source and the media. Respecting of the embargo is meaningful only when based on a professionally grounded reason: the text of a speech before the speech is actually done, a business report sent in advance, an information on the event which is to take place (meetings, conclusions, ceremonies…) It is unbecoming to use the embargo to achieve greater publicity.

Principle 2.6. Readers’ letters
1) Letters from the readers should be published when they in their form and contents meet the form of expressing an opinion and as such contribute to the forming of a public opinion.
2) A reader sending such a letter should declare in it that it is meant for public publishing. In case of doubt, the editor is obliged to consult the author.
3) As a rule letters from readers should be published together with the name of the author. Only in exceptional cases, known to the editorship, may only the initials of the author be published or some other adequate solution found.
4) Legal restrictions applying to punishable offences apply also to the publishing of the letters from readers. The responsible editor will be held responsible for them.
5) To publish falsified readers’ letters in order to deceive the public is irreconcilable with the code of journalists. When there is any doubt regarding the identity of the author, the editor is obliged to check it. Readers’ letters can be abridged only if the column bears a permanent notice on the recommended length and a warning that longer letters shall be abridged, but that the abridged version shall not alter the meaning and contents of the letter.

3. A journalist is obliged to distinct the information and the commentary. The distinction between reporting the facts and a commentary must be obvious.

4. The information or statement that later proves to be wrong, must be corrected by a journalist that reported it or by his or her editorial office – immediately and on his or their own initiative and in an adequate form.

Principle 4.1. Correction
A correction must undoubtedly declare that previous information as a whole or in part was untrue. Therefore the previous publishing of the information, now corrected, needs to be mentioned together with the correction. The editorship is obliged to publish the correction. It cannot be avoided by publishing, for example, a reader’s letter.

5. It is against the code to use illegal and dishonest means in seeking and gathering information, evidence and pictures.

Principle 5.1. Identification
A journalist performing his task needs to present him/ herself and, if requested, present his/ her journalist card. It is irreconcilable with the code to conceal journalist’s identity.

Principle 5.2. Research
Research is a legitimate means of publicist activity. In this process it is necessary to respect the limitations contained in the Constitution, the Laws, and respect for the honour of the person. Eventual public interest cannot serve as an excuse for illegal or immoral ways or methods of journalistic research. In case of accidents and catastrophes, saving the injured and victims has the priority before the right to inform the public.

6. A journalist is obliged to respect the confidence demanded by his/ her source of information.
A journalist respects a business secret, may refuse to appear as a witness and has the right to refuse to reveal his/ her source of information.

Principle 6.1. Confidence
A journalist is obliged to respect a confidence at all times, unless the information is part of a plan for committing a criminal offence, where a journalist is obliged by law to report it.

Principle 6.2. Informing the intelligence service
A journalist who serves as an informer to an intelligence service, discredits the profession of a journalist and the function of journalism.

Principle 6.3. Distinction of a journalist and political activity
If and when a journalist accepts a leading function in a political party or in an organ of the state authorities, it is advisable to make a clear distinction between his professional and political activities. For the reputation and credibility of journalism it is useful that in such cases a journalist stops performing in his profession for the time when he is actively engaged in politics. Thus it is possible to avoid the feeling of double loyalty or dependence.

7. It is irreconcilable with the journalistic code to perform acquisition, accept a bribe or publish information to serve the purpose and benefit of an outside ordering party.

Advertising messages and advertisements must be clearly and undoubtedly separated from journalistic messages.

Principle 7.1. Separation of journalistic messages and advertisements
Advertisements and paid advertising messages must be clearly separated from the messages in the spirit of this code in their form, contents and approach. In case of any doubt, it is necessary to add a note and thus point out that the message is a paid advertisement.

8. A journalist protects the personality and privacy of a person against unjustified and sensationalistic revealing to the public. A journalist is especially tactful and considerate when reporting on accidents, tragic events in families, diseases, children and juvenile persons.

When reporting on matters from the field of jurisdiction, a journalist must pay regard to the fact that no one is to be said to be guilty until the person is lawfully found guilty.

It is irreconcilable with the code to praise criminal, terrorism, violence and inhumanity.

Principle 8.1. Mentioning names, publishing pictures/ photographs
To mention names and publish pictures/ photographs of persons causing accidents or victims of accidents in reports on the accidents, investigations and prosecution procedures, is in general not justified. It is always necessary to consider and decide between the public interest and rights of the individual person in question. Special protection should be given to victims of assaults and crimes as well as to the family of the incriminated person that committed the crime.

Principle 8.2. Jubilees
Announcements of jubilees of persons which do not perform exposed public functions are generally acceptable and allowed, provided the person celebrating the jubilee consented to it.

Principle 8.3. Disease
Physical and psychical diseases or impairments are an inalienable part of personal privacy and as a rule cannot be the subject of journalistic reporting when names are mentioned.

9. Publishing of unfounded accusations, charges, lies, offences and libels is against the code of journalists.

10. Any discrimination based on the sex, membership in ethnic, religious, social or national groups, any violation of religious feelings and customs, any kind of warmonger activity or engagement in igniting conflicts among different nations is irreconcilable with the code.

11. A journalist has the right to refuse to perform any task which is against this code and his personal belief, without being punished.
No one is entitled to change or alter a journalist’s product in order to change its contents or vitally abridge it without the consent or permission of the journalist-author.

A journalist has the right to sign his reports.

A journalist’s name cannot be signed under his/ her piece of work without his/ her knowledge or against his/ her will.

Principle 11.1. Unsigned articles and pseudonyms
The editorship takes upon itself the responsibility for an unsigned article or an article signed by a pseudonym.

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