Guidelines for undercover journalism (Belgia)

The general rule is that a journalist has to be open in his actions. It means that he/she announces in every professional contact that he/she is a journalist. Journalism in which the journalist assumes another function or another identity, for example when so-called undercover reports are made, may be pursued only exceptionally.

Deviation from this rule is allowed only if all of the following conditions are met:

1. The information that the journalist hopes to obtain has great social relevance, as is the case in social evils or human rights violations.

2. The usual journalistic methods that are used when gathering information are not sufficient to achieve the desired goal.

3. The risks that may go with the use of the undercover method are in an acceptable proportion to the desired goal.

4. The decision on the use of an undercover report as well as the realization and the publication of the report are made with the consent and under the responsibility of the editor-in-chief or his/her representative.

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