Code of Ethics of Vocento, formerly known as El Grupo Correo, which is based in Bilbao. It owns several provincial dailies, and it owns 25% of the commercial television network Telecinco.
The Correo Group has approved a code of ethics to which the journalists of the group will have to adjust their rules of professional conduct , at El Correo [in Bilbao], El Diario Vasco in San Sebastian, La Verdad in Murcia,, Alicante and Albacete, Sur in Malaga, Ideal in Granada, El Diario Montañes in Santander, Hoy in Extremadure and Rioja in Logrono.
This initiative whose development results from a process of internal consideration and consultation, brings together in explicit and public form the criteria that have inspired the professional behaviour of the news staffs at the eight newspapers, and it aims at promoting a transparent and ethical relationship between media circles and society. By publishing this code of ethics today, May 3, on World Press Freedom Day, the Correo Group means to stress its intention to contribute to the prestige of the journalistic profession and to insist on the essential role of the press in all democratic systems.
The document establishing the principles of the editorial policy of the Correo Group newspapers, sets the following as regards journalistic ethics:
The Correo Group newspapers subscribe to the principles of journalistic ethics. Hence, they attach great value to the truthfulness and fairness in the information they give, and to the professional integrity of its reporters and contributors. They use restraint in criticism in all fields of reality, proscribe sensationalism and promote respect for people as well as towards current legislation in the editorial product.
In applying the principles just stated, the professionals of the Correo Group newspapers will honour the following code of ethics:
1. The journalist must in all good faith assume his/her engagement to respect the truth. Professional rules of behaviour must conform to the norms set by the Spanish Constitution and related regulation.
2. The journalist has not only a right but a duty to keep professional secrecy when it is requested. The only exception to that rule is the case when what is being preserved – secrecy – is less important than the damage, material or other, that would be caused by the non-publication of the source of information. Whatever the circumstances, the journalist will respect the current legislation.
3. The journalist will have to seek objectivity and to that end he/she will distinguish adequately between information and opinion. The former will have to be as descriptive as possible. The latter will adjust to clearly defined fundamental ethical values, in agreement with the I948 Universal Declaration, a particular stress being set on the rejection of every form of racism, on the attachment to democratic methods of contradictory debate, on the explicit rejection of violent expression, on the respect of the privacy of every citizen, on the defence of the values of childhood and of the family community – all of which need to be reconciled with the public’s legitimate right to information.
4. The journalist will quickly make known information on facts of public importance that come to his notice, without distorting the data, after checking that they are true. To that end, he/she will question sources, quickly verify the information and will give persons and entities involved the opportunity to give their version.
5. The journalist must be aware that his acts may have a great impact on the reputation and prestige of the people or entities he is writing about. So he/she will have to stick to the following criteria:
– Only people that matter to the public, because of their high positions in institutions, because they are engaged in profes¬sion that impact on society or because they have in advance requested the attention of the news media – are, as a rule, news material even as concerns their private life, but always their right to privacy, their honour and their image must be safeguarded.
– Underage individuals must be treated news-wise with extreme precautions. Their right to privacy must be particularly well protected and so the journalist, in writing news stories in which they are involved, not publish any picture of them and not mention their parentage.
– Victims of crime, especially of a sexual nature, must remain anonymous, for obvious reasons. Similarly, it is preferable not to reveal the links that friends or relatives have with victims or criminals.
6. The journalist will respect the “off the record” condition when the source has insisted on it and he/she has agreed to it, except for the provision in article 2 of the present code.
7. To obtain information, the journalist will use only means that are not forbidden by law.
8. The journalist will scrupulously avoid any confusion between information and advertising. That implies total incompatibility between the journalistic and advertising professions. And it implies the ban on accepting from anyone any payment, direct or indirect, or other gratifications for promoting, influencing or publishing news or views of any kind. That prohibition takes on considerable importance in economic and financial circles, especially as concerns the use of restricted information.