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Ethics Guide

Section B: Independence

6. Independence and integrity

Journalists must avoid, in both their professional and personal lives, any behavior, engagement, function or task that could impair their ability to perform their duties with independence and integrity.

6.1 Conflict of interest

(1) Journalists must avoid any conflict of interest, real or perceived, and must exhibit a high degree of personal integrity at all times.

(2) News media must avoid placing their journalists in situations of conflict of interest, either real or perceived.

6.2 Political, ideological and commercial influences

News media shall under no circumstances let their commercial, political, ideological or other interests outweigh the public’s right to information of quality or restrain the professional independence of their journalists.

6.3 Disguised advertising

News media must avoid any form of indirect or disguised advertising in reporting news or information.

6.4 Abuse of professional status

Journalists must not use their professional status or any information they gather while performing their duties, nor shall hide or withhold information in order to garner personal advantages or privileges, or benefit their families, friends or anyone else.

6.5 Gifts and gratuities

Journalists must refuse gifts and gratuities offered to them in a professional context, unless they are of little value or serve directly for a journalistic assignment.

6.6 Paid travel

Journalists may not accept paid travel or travel expenses from a third party for an assignment, unless the payment is explicitly disclosed in the story, or if the travel is specifically for training purposes.

7. Byline

News media must recognize that journalists are free to sign their own work and must never be pressured to sign a piece that has been substantially altered.

8. Journalistic material

Journalists and news media do not disclose their notes, drafts, and records to third parties, unless compelled to by law, or when overwhelmingly in the public interest.