IGutenberg Russia

CODE OF PROFESSIONAL ETHICS OF RUSSIAN JOURNALIST

Adopted by Congress of Russian journalists on 23 June 1994 in Moscow. Translated by Jukka Pietiläinen (research assistant, University of Tampere, Finland) in co-operation with Yassen Zassoursky (dean, Moscow State University, Russia).
1 - Journalist is always obliged to act on the basis of the principles of the professional ethics fixed in this Code, the approval, acceptance and obeyance of which is absolute condition to his membership in Russian Federation of Journalists.
2- Journalist observes the laws of his country, but when the fulfillment of his professional duty is concerned he recognizes the jurisdiction of his colleagues only, and rejects any attempts of pressure and interference from the side of the government or whoever else.
3.- Journalist disseminates and comments only the information, the reliability of which he is convinced and the source of which is well known to him. He will as hard as he can strive for the avoidance of the damage, to whoever it may be, caused by its incompleteness or inaccuracy, deliberate concealing of socially important information or dissemination of information known to be false.
Journalist is strictly obliged to separate the facts he is reporting and that which comprises opinions, versions and assumptions, at the same time he is not obliged to be neutral in his professional activities.
When fulfilling his professional duties journalist does not resort to illegal and unworthy methods to acquire information. Journalist recognizes and respects the right of physical and juridical persons not to give information and not to answer the questions presented to him, excluding the cases in which the presentation of information is obliged by law.
Journalist considers malevolent distortion of facts, slander, the obtaining of payment for disseminations of false or hiding of truthful information under any conditions as grave professional crime; on the whole journalist should not take, neither directly nor indirectly, any kind of compensation or reward from third persons for publication of any kind of material or opinion.
When convinced that he has published false or distorted material, journalist is obliged to correct his mistake using those print and (or) audiovisual media which were utilized to publish the material. In case of need he is obliged to present his apology through his print media.
Journalist responds by his name and reputation for the reliability of all his messages and for fairness of all his judgements, which are disseminated with his signature, pseudonyme or anonymously yet with his knowledge and approval. No one has right to forbid him to withdraw his signature from communication or judgement, which is even only partly distorted against his will.
4. - Journalist keeps professional secret in relation to the source of information which is acquired in confidental way. No one can force him to reveal this source. The right to the anonymity may be broken only in exeptional cases when there is suspicion that the source consciously has distorted truth, and also when the reference to the name of the source is the only way to avoid serious and inevitable damage to the people.
Journalist is obliged to respect the request of the persons interviewed by him not to expose officially their statements.
5.- Journalist understands fully the danger of limitations, persecutions and violence, which his activities may provocate.
In fulfilling his professional duties he counteracts extremism and restriction of civil rights on any basis including sex, race, language, religion, political or other view as well as social or national origin.
Journalist respects the honor and dignity of the people who become the objects of his professional attention. He refrains from any derogatory allusions or comments in relation to race, nationality, colour of the skin, religion, social origin or sex as well as in relation to the physical handicap or disease of the person. He refrains from publications of that kind of information with the exeption of cases when they have direct relation to the content of the published article. Journalist is unconditionally obliged to avoid offensive expressions which may harm the moral and physical health of the people.
Journalist sustains the principle that any person is not guilty as far as the opposite has not been bestoved in the court. In his communications he avoids mentioning the names of the relatives and friends of the persons found guilty or charged for commiting a crime - excluding the circumstances, when it is necessary to the objective presentation of the case. He also avoids mentioning the names of the victims of the crime and publishing that kind of material which leads to the identification of the victim. With the special strictness these norms should be observed when the journalistic communication may harm the interests of the minors.
Only the defense of the interest of the society may justifie journalistic investigations which preconcieve intrusion to the privite life of the person. These restrictions of intrusion have to be observed rigorously when it concerns persons placed in medical or related institutions.
6. - Journalist considers his professional status incompatible with holding positions in organs of governmental, legislative or judicial power as well as in governing bodies of the political parties or other organisations of political nature. Journalist recognizes that his professional activities cease when he takes a weapon to his hands.
7. - Journalist considers unworthy to utilize his reputation, his authority as well as his professional rights and possibilities to disseminate information of advertising or commercial nature, specially if this kind of nature of the material is not clearly and unambiguosly evident from the very form of the material. The combination of the journalistic and advertising activity is ethically unthinkable.
Journalist should not use for his personal interests or for the interests of his kin any confidental information which he may possess because of his profession.
8. - Journalist respects and defends the professional rights of his colleagues and observes the laws of fair competition. Journalist keeps away from situations in which he might cause harm to the personal or professional interests of his colleagues, by agreeing to fulfill their duties in conditions which are fare well known to be socially, materially or morally less favoured.
Journalist respects and insists on respect for copyright, arising from any kind of creative work. Plagiarism is inadmissable. Utilizing in any form the work of his colleague journalist refers to the name of the author.
9.- Journalist refuses an assingment if its fulfillment is related to the violation of one of above-mentioned principles.
10.- Journalist uses and asserts his right to use all guaranties provided by the civil and penal laws for defence in the court or other way from violence or the threat of violence, offend, moral damage or defamation.

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