EthicNet is a collection of codes of journalism ethics from most European countries – Europe understood widely as by the Council of Europe. The collection has accumulated from numerous research projects carried out since the late 1970s at the University of Tampere, Department of Journalism and Mass Communication, in cooperation with UNESCO and the International Organization of Journalists. The latest updating was done by a project on the development of journalism ethics in Finland and Europe funded by the Helsingin Sanomat Foundation.
The collection in June 2008 includes altogether 50 codes from 46 countries – from Albania to the United Kingdom (the latter with two codes). When EthicNet was established in 1995, the collection included 31 codes from 30 countries. Half of those earlier codes have since been updated and an additional 19 codes have been adopted. EthicNet provides not only access to individual codes but also an overview of the codes as indicator of contemporary thinking among mainstream journalists in the region. An inventory of the contents of the codes can be found in the Search part of this website. There one can also look up individual keywords throughout the codes.
While this collection focuses on Europe, there are other databases covering the whole world. The most comprehensive of these is the website Media Accountability Systems (M*A*S) created by the late Jean-Claude Bertrand and including press councils and ethical codes, although not recently updated. Another valuable resource for codes of ethics is the MediaWise Trust.
The EthicNet collection presents the codes in English regardless of their original language. Translations have been either delivered by the parties concerned or done at the University of Tampere. All the texts have been checked for English language in Tampere, but the translation process as well as different conditions in the status of the codes may have caused misleading formulations. Therefore all parties are invited to check their respective codes and to bring their observations to our attention.
In addition, there is a standing invitation to all relevant parties to send us updates.
Tampere, June 2008
Professors Kaarle Nordenstreng and Ari Heinonen
Department of Journalism and Mass Communication
FI-33014 University of Tampere