The right to information, freedom of expression and criticism is one of the basic rights of every human being regardless of gender, race, nationality, religion and political belief.
The right of the public to be informed on facts and opinions generates rights and responsibility of journalists.
In their work, journalists are obliged to defend human rights, dignity and freedom, respect pluralism of ideas and views, contribute to strengthening of the legal state and as democratic part of publicity participate in controlling the performance of government and politics.
Journalists shall abide by the Constitution and the positive laws of the Republic of Croatia, the Statute and Acts of the International Journalist Federation (IFJ) as well as the acts of the Council of Europe on freedom of expression, informing and human rights.
Journalists nurture culture and ethics of public statement, respect the accomplishments and values of advanced civilization.
All members of the Croatian Journalist Society are obliged to abide by the highest professional and ethical principles.
This codex is the criterion of those principles, protects the vested rights of individuals and rights of publicity to be informed.
Rights and Obligations
- In his practice and performance, a journalist has to operate by general principles and ethics of the journalist's profession. Beginning with principles that in democratic society all public organs are free, independent, open and research for different opinions, journalist is responsible for his work in front of the public, the law and his professional organisation.
- Presenting independent and critical state in the search for truth as a basic principal in professional work actively engage journalist in creating public opinion and collective judgement about issues that concern everybody.
- A journalist, like any citizen, has a right to political and other commitment. In his work, he respects professional distance toward actual events, which is one of the conditions for objective, professional report on events.
- A journalist is obligated to present truthful, verified information. He indicates persons or institutions as a source of given information or a statement. He has a right not to indicate the source of information, but then he is morally, materially and legally responsible for published data.
- A journalist has a right to access all information sources as well as the right to investigate all facts caused in public life. If a journalist is unduly prevented from accessing certain information, he has the right to inform the public about this.
- A journalist is legally obligated to respect state secrecy. A journalist respects embargo on publishing information.If there are, by his evaluation, misuse restrictions for closing information; journalist has to notify authorized individuals.
- In reporting, especially in comments and polemic texts, a journalist is obligated to respect the ethics of public statement and culture of dialogue as well as to respect the dignity and integrity of the person whom is controvert with.
- The work of the journalist is subject to public criticism. Journalists and editors are obligated to carefully consider all recommendations; remarks and criticism referred to them and are obligated to occasionally notify the public about these.
- Rights and duties of the journalist are to stand for free information flow.
- A journalist respects the authorship of other journalists and participants in public information dissemination. In his work a journalist quotes the names of authors whose text he uses.
- Shorted or changed texts, which change the essential meaning of the original text, can be published only with approval of the author. In case of a dispute the author has the right to withdraw his text and signature.
- Text without the name of the author or text signed with a pseudonym is considered editorial.
- Plagiarism is irreconcilable with the Journalists' Codex.
- In his efforts to access a photo, information or document journalist may not use dishonest and unlawful means.
- A member of journalists' organization has a right to refuse an assignment if it contradicts this honour codex, regulations of a journalists' organization, statute or the professional and ethical standards of journalist work.
- A journalist has to protect people's privacy from unreasonable or sensational discovery in public. Journalist is obligated to respect everybody's right to private and family life, home, health and correspondence. Publishing data that violates someone's privacy without permission has to be justified by the public interest. Using means to photograph people from a long way off in their private surroundings and on their private property without permission is unacceptable. Editors may not publish material of workers who do not obey these rules. Special attention and responsibility are required when reporting on accidents, family tragedies, sickness, children and minors, trials. The assumption of innocence, integrity, dignity and the sensibilities of all parties in a trial must be respected. In political conflicts a journalist has to respect the civil rights and freedom of all participants and try to be neutral.
- A journalist must not take photographs or interview children (under 14 years) concerning issues about their lives of those of other children without the presence of parents or other responsible adult. It is not allowed for a journalist to talk with pupils or take pictures of them without the permission of the school. It is not allowed to pay children and minors for information (14 to 16 years) nor their parents or guardians, unless it is in the interest of the child.
- In cases of sexual abuse, a journalist is not allowed to reveal the identity of the children involved in those cases, regardless of the fact they are witnesses or victims. In the journalist's report (and other texts) regarding sexual abuse cases of children, all formulation have to be:
a) Children and minors may not be identified (directly or indirectly)
b) Only an adult can be identified.
- Journalist should not publish details about race, skin colour, religion, and gender or sexual orientation or any physical or mental disability or illness if it is not relevant for the public interest.
- Journalist must not be involved in business that threatens the freedom of his judgement and decreases objectivity regarding publishing truthful facts or violating his journalistic dignity. Journalist may not publish information to gain benefit (bribe, corruption).
- Journalists and organizations should preserve the reputation, dignity and integrity of their profession, they shold cooperate and maintain friendly relations as well as professional solidarity.
- Journalists must not author paid advertisements and other sedition texts. Promotional journalistic texts are not allowed in the media, nor is hidden advertising. Interaction and affiliation of journalist texts and advertisements is not allowed. Advertisements and other paid information must be clearly distinguished from other journalistic texts so that an observer, reader and listener can recognize an advertisement. Advertisements prepared as journalist work have to be clearly marked as "Advertisement" or "Paid advertisement". Promotional agencies and advertising departments of media headquarters need to respect the principles of the Codex and not encroach upon journalists.
- A journalist has to avoid situations that might lead to a conflict of interest, direct or indirect, visible or invisible, so he does not compromise himself or his profession. A journalist has to refuse gifts, services or bonuses. A journalist has to avoid paid journeys and other conveniences, additional employment, employment in politics, as well as any employment in state or other public institutions. Otherwise it could decrease his credibility and the credibility of the profession. He needs to avoid situations that might leave an impression of favouritism. For his own agenda, journalist must not abuse information about financial development gained while doing his job. If he deals with valuable papers that he reports about, journalist has to publish it. A journalist has to reject conveniences offered by advertisement agencies and interest groups, and resist their attempts to influence his reports. Possible conflict of interest has to be publicised, otherwise is not allowed to publish or comment occasions and subjects that might lead to conflict of interest.
A journalist that works in accordance with this Codex will enjoy the support of the editor's office, his professional journalist and syndicate union. The sanctions for violation of the Codex are defined in the Statute of the Croatian Journalist Society.
Editorial acts determine responsibility in conducting Codex for journalist who are not members of the Croatian Journalist Society, and is related to author and editor of every published text regardless the fact of editorial membership, free reporting or honorary cooperation.
Journalist Honour Council of Croatian Journalist Society is authorized for the protection and performance of the Codex.