Code of Ethics for the Press, Radio and Television

Country:

There is freedom of the press and freedom of expression in Sweden. There is a constitutional law that says we will have freedom of the press and freedom of expression in Sweden. It means that for example newspapers and electronic media have great freedom to present which viewpoints they want to and to print and broadcast those news they think are interesting. Here one can read about the most essential rules.

RULES ON PUBLICITY

Provide accurate news

1. The role played by the mass media in society and the confidence of the general public in these media call for accurate and objective news reports.
2. Be critical of news sources. Check facts as carefully as possible in the light of the circumstances even if they have been published earlier. Allow the reader/ listener/ viewer the possibility of distinguishing between statements of fact and comments.
3. Newsbills, headlines and introductory sections must be supported by the text.
4. Make sure of the authenticity of pictures. See to it that pictures and graphical illustrations are correct and are not used in a misleading way.

Treat replies generously

5. Factual errors are to be corrected when called for. Anyone seeking to reply a statement shall, if this is warranted, be given the opportunity to do so. Corrections and rebuttals shall be published promptly in appropriate form, in such a way that they will come to the attention of those who received the original information. It should be noted that a rebuttal does not always call for an editorial comment.
6. Publish without delay statements of censure issued by the Swedish Press Council in cases concerning your own newspaper.

Respect individual privacy

7. Be careful in giving publicity where it can trespass upon an individual's privacy. Refrain from such action unless it is obviously in the public interest.
8. Exercise great caution in publishing notices concerning suicide and attempted suicide, particularly out of consideration for the feelings of relatives and in view of what has been said above concerning the privacy of the individual.
9. Always show the greatest possible consideration for victims of crime and accidents. Carefully check names and pictures for publication out of consideration for the victims and their relatives.
10. Do not emphasize race, sex, nationality, occupation, political affiliation or religious persuasion in the case of the persons concerned if such particulars are not important in the context AND are disparaging.

Exercise care in the use of pictures

11. Where applicable, these rules shall also apply to pictures.
12. Making a montage, retouching a picture by an electronic method, or formulating a picture caption should not be performed in such a way as to mislead or deceive the reader. Always state, close to the picture, whether it has been altered by montage or retouching. This also applies to such material when it is filed.

Listen to both sides

13. Endeavour to give people who are criticized in a factual report the opportunity at the same time to reply to the criticism. Endeavour also to state the views of all parties involved. Bear in mind that the sole objective of some reports may be to cause harm to the subjects of the reports.
14. Remember that, in the eyes of the law, a person suspected of an offence is always presumed to be innocent until he is proven guilty. The final outcome of a case that is described should be reported.

Be cautious in publishing names

15. Give careful thought to the harmful consequences that might follow for persons if their names are published. Refrain from publishing names unless it is obviously in the public interest.
16. If a person's name is not to be stated, refrain from publishing a picture or particulars of occupation, title, age, nationality, sex, etc., which would enable the person in question to be identified.
17. Bear in mind that the entire responsibility for publication of names and pictures rests with the publisher of the material.

PROFESSIONAL RULES

Strong journalistic integrity is crucial for reliability. Those who examine society must also tolerate being examined.
It is important for the public trust that journalists show tact in their work in the field. Trust in the media and their workers is based on the following professional rules.

The integrity of the journalist

1. Do not accept an assignment from anyone outside the editorial staff leaders.
2. Do not accept an assignment, invitation, gift, a free trip or any other benefit - and do not make contracts or other engagements that could bring into question your status as a free and independent journalist.
3. Do not give in to outside pressure intending to prevent or restrict justified publishing.
4. Do not use your position as a journalist, or your presscard, in order to exert pressure for your own or someone else’s profit or in order to acquire personal benefits.
5. Do not utilize for your own or someone else’s profit unpublished news concerning economic conditions or measures by state, municipalities, organizations, companies or private persons.
6. Bear in mind the provision in the Collective Agreement for Journalists according to which a journalist cannot be ordered to write against his/ her conviction or to carry out humiliating assignments.

Obtaining of material

7. Comply with reasonable wishes from the persons interviewed to find out beforehand how and where their statements will be published.
8. Show particular consideration with people not used of being interviewed. Inform him/ her about whether the conversation is intended for publication or only for information.
9. Do not falsify interviews or pictures.
10. Show consideration in taking photographs and in procuring them, especially in connection with accidents and crimes.
11. Observe copyrights to text, photographs and recordings.
12. Indicate the source when the published material is mainly based in information from other parties.

RULES AGAINST EDITORIAL ADVERTISING

It is important to protect the reliability and integrity of media. It requires media to be free and independent in its reporting. Do not let any public distrust to develop by letting third parties have an influence in the content of publications. Ensure that editorial material and advertising cannot be mistaken for one another.
Checklist for editorial advertising:

Be especially careful and critical in the following situations:

- when third parties offer ideas and make proposals including some kind of favour in return
- when offered free or heavily subsidized trips or benefits
- when asked for promises for publicity beforehand
- when products or services are presented as consumer information. Show clearly how the choice of the products/services has been made and how the products/services have been compared or tested and that the editorial staff are the testers. Aim at many-sidedness with this kind of presentations so that there is no unfair promotion.
- when third parties, for example PR offices, lobbyists, scholars, companies, officials or organizations, actuate information and communication. This concerns especially areas where the law limits advertising, for example pharmaceuticals, tobacco, alcohol and advertising aimed at children.
- with publicity concerning the products or other arrangements of companies, organizations or official sphere of authority, so that there is no unfair promotion
- with publicity of selling your own goods, services or other arrangements
- when an arrangement is carried out together with a third party, one must tell when it is relevant, with whom the co-operation happened and the conditions for the co-operation
- when products or trademarks are exposed with an appearance of product placement