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Ethics Guide

Preamble

  1. Whereas the free flow of information is one of the most important guarantees of liberty and democracy;
  2. Whereas freedom of the press derives from the fundamental freedoms of thought, speech, free expression and opinion, and is widely legally recognized so nationally and internationally, and as such no one must dictate content to news media;
  3. Whereas freedom of the press entails that journalists and news media have sole prerogative to control all aspects of editorial freedom relating to content, form, and timing of publication of information;
  4. Whereas the public’s right to information is the legitimate right of the public to be informed of issues of public interest and, to fulfill this right, the role of journalists is to report, edit, analyze and publish such information with complete independence;
  5. Whereas the notion of the public interest is variable to different cultures and eras and this pursuit of the public interest entails journalists’ access to privileged information vital to responding to the political, economic, social, and cultural concerns of citizens to allow them informed participation in the life of a democracy;
  6. Whereas journalists and news media are first and foremost servants of the public, and the public’s right to information supersedes any other considerations regarding editorial choices;
  7. Whereas journalists and news media ought in all situations to provide the public with reliable information;
  8. Whereas the public’s right to information is foundational to journalistic ethics;
  9. Whereas, in order to ensure the full exercise of freedom of the press and the public’s right to information, the Press Council has been specifically founded to hear public complaints concerning journalistic ethics;
  10. Whereas, in order to hear and adjudicate such complaints, the ethical principles guiding journalism must be set down;
  11. Whereas the standards set forth in this Guide create first and foremost an obligation of means for journalists and news media;
  12. The Quebec Press Council has adopted the following Guide of ethics.