Deontological Code

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Statement on the principles of the Catalan journalism profession

This code is an initiative of the "Col.legi de Periodistes de Catalunya" (Catalan Journalists Association). Its aim is to reassert the ethical principles of the journalistic profession. This declaration has been elaborated in the last three years by an ad hoc Commission constituted within it. In this process relevant participation has been assumed by the Consultative Council of the Col.legi, where all Catalan media, press, radio and television are represented.

The final draft of the text has been approved by the Board of the Col.legi at its meeting of 22 October 1992, and further it has been presented in the Second Conference of Catalan Journalists, held in Barcelona in November 1992.

PRINCIPLES

1. A sheer difference between facts and opinions or interpretations has always to be observed avoiding any deliberate confusion or distortion of either. The same criterion must be applied where any speculation or rumour is concerned.

2. To diffuse only information duly founded, avoiding in all cases makig assertations or offering non concrete and baseless data, which may hurt or impair the dignity of individuals. Neither to originate unjustified damage or to discredit institutions and public and private agencies, or employ outrageous expressions or assessments.

3. To rectify with diligence, and adequately to the circumstances, all informations - and opinions derived from them - whose falsity has been proved and which therefore cause damage to the rights and legitimate interests of people and / or institutions. If necessary, apologising independently of what prescribed in the legislation.

4. To use the right methods to obtain information or pictures without resorting to unlawful procedures.

5. To respect the off-the-record, if such a criterion be claimed by the source, according to the way of using it in a free society.

6. To recognize the right of the individual and/or institutions to neither provide information, nor answer questions, though it may be the duty of journalists considering the right of citizens to the information. As far as the affairs relating to the public agencies are concerned, the fundamental right to  information must prevail over any type of limitation, which seriously with any kind of justification affects the principle of information transparency, to whom they are liable.

7. Not to accept any kind of remuneration or compensation from third parties in order to promote, to orientate, to influence or to have published news or opinions. In any case, it is not acceptable to act simultaneously as a journalist with other professional activities which are not compatible with the deontology of information, such as advertising, public relations and image consultancy, either in the field of public institutions or agencies, or in private institutions.

8. Do not use for one's own benefit privileged information which have been confidentially obtained by journalists exercising their profession.

9. To respect the rights of persons to their own privacy and image, principally in those cases or events which cause feelings of sadness or pain. Besides, to avoid the gratuitous interference and unnecessary speculations related to their feelings or circumstances, especially when those persons concerned so stipulate.

10. To observe in a very scrupulous way the principle of the presumption of innocence in information and opinions connected with legal proceedings.

11. To treat with special care all kind of news concerning children. To prevent any divulging of identification when they appear as victims (except in the case of murder), witnesses or accused in criminal proceedings, principally in those cases with a great social repercussions, as is the case in sexual offences. To avoid identifying, against their will, those related people or innocent relatives of persons accused or condemned in criminal trials.

12. To behave with a definite sense of responsibility and strictness when dealing with information or opinions with a content which may provoke sex, race, beliefs, social class or cultural discrimination. By the same token, not to incite to the use of violence, and thus avoiding expressions or manifestations which are degrading or harmful for the personal condition of individuals and their physical or moral integrity.