Code of Ethics (Letonia)

1. The role of the mass media in society

1.1. Freedom of speech and the freedom of the press are basic elements of democracy. A free independent press, radio and TV are the most important guarantee of the democratic development of the society.
1.2. The mass media must defend the freedom of speech and the freedom of the press. They should not submit to any influence that can limit the free flow of information and the use of sources or limit the debate on any issue having significance for the society.
1.3. The duty of mass media is to protect human rights.

2. Integrity and responsibility

2.1. The main task of a journalist is to provide society with true and verified information.
2.2. The facts should be set forth objectively and clearly, relieving the main coherencies and with no misrepresentations.
2.3. A journalist carries a personal responsibility for the information presented and its interpretation.
2.4. A journalist should abstain from tasks, that are contrary to his/ her convictions.
2.5. A journalist must respect the intellectual property and not to allow plagiat.

3. Editorial responsibility

3.1. As declared in the Press Law, the editor is responsible for the information presented on radio, TV or press. He/ she should ensure the flow or free and proper information, likewise free exchange of opinions.
3.2. The editorial board should safeguard their integrity so that they may be free to act independently of any persons or groups who might like to exert influence.

4. Relations with sources

4.1. A journalist has no right to reveal the source without its permission, except if this is demanded in the court.
4.2. Particular consideration should be shown for people who cannot be expected to be aware of the import of the information and statements they give.
A journalist should take into consideration never to abuse the emotions and feelings of other people, their ignorance or their failing power of judgement.

5. Publication rules

5.1. A journalist should be critical in the choice of sources. The information should be checked and statements quoted should be verified.
5.2. In publication journalist must always respect a person’s private life, nationality, race identity and religious beliefs.
5.3. In publication factual information must be clearly and unmistakably distinguished from comments.
5.4. There should be strict borders between advertisement and the author’s material. The last should not imitate the advertisement, as such publications create doubts of the objectiveness of the editorial board also about the independence of the mass media.
5.5. Special attention should be paid to the use of pictures out of their original context. Manipulation is inadmissable, as it creates delusion.
Photomontage should be marked with a special sign or in the signature of the picture.
5.6. A journalist must show special consideration if reporting from the lawcourts.
The question of guilt has only be settled when a legal verdict has been reached.
5.7. If incorrect information has been printed an apology for the mistake should be forthcoming as soon as possible and it should be put in an easily noticable place.
5.8. Space should be made available as soon as possible for responses from persons or institutions having been made the subjects of attacks in publications.
5.9. The author of the material has the right to see it after it has been edited by the journalist and before it is published; it can be published only with the consent of the author.

6. The journalist and society

6.1. A journalist must respect democratic institutions and moral standards.
6.2. A journalist should stand up for human values – peace, democracy, human rights, people’s rights to self-determination.
6.3. A journalist of Latvia, having respect for the national values of other nations, should esteem the history, culture, national symbols, independence and freedom of Latvia.

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