The Code of Professional Ethnics of Ukrainian Journalist

The freedom of speech is one of the most important democratic institutions in the work of mass media. Guided by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, World Charter for a Free Press endorsed by the UN, IFJ Declaration of Principles on the Conduct of Journalists, the Constitution and prevailing law of Ukraine, the Code of Professional Ethnics of Ukrainian Journalist defines the main moral and ethnical guidelines to be adhered by a journalist who is performing professional duties, for making his activity in every way to facilitate the best and most effective manifestation of his own creative capabilities in the name of good and fairness.

  1. The main duty of a journalist is to facilitate a provision of the citizens’ right for receiving instant information. This obliges him to be always objective in his activities, to be accurate, responsible for hin own material. A journalist disseminates and comments only that information the truthfulness of which he is convinced. He refrains from incompleteness, inaccuracy and misinterpretations of information, which may inflict moral damage to honor and dignity of person, from his side dubious information is inadmissible. A journalist is responsible to readers, listeners, and viewers.
  2. While performing his duties a journalist may not turn to illegal, incorrect means to obtain information, nor to use his official duties for personal aims. In any circumstances the facts of receiving payments (bribe) for distribution of false information or concealment of reliable information should be perceived as a serious crime. A journalist respects those persons who provide him with information and does not reveal sources of information.
  3. A journalist has a right to reject the a task given by editors in preparation and dissemination of information if the content of this information was substantially altered by the editors, if this conflicts with his convictions or relates to a violation of professional ethics. In all other cases, when a journalist publishes untruthful information with distorted facts, defamation or morally insults a person, he is obliged to acknowledge his own fault by offering an apology and correcting this fault in the very same mass media.
  4. In his publications and broadcasts a journalist is ought to avoid offending others based on their nationality, race, ethnicity or religious views and feelings, he ought to oppose extremism and limitation of civil rights on any basis. He refrains from implications or commentaries about physical disabilities or illnesses of any persons; he ought to avoid the usage of offensive statements and obscene words. Children and under age should be treated with special sensitivity and tact. At the same time a journalist is ought to contribute to strengthening the moral and ethnical foundations of a society, preservation of national, cultural traditions, to resist influences from the cult of violence, cruelty, and pornography.
  5. In his communications a journalist does not interfere in judicial proceedings if the investigation is uncompleted, he refrains from giving characteristics to persons who are suspects under investigation and not guilty by the court of law. There is no ruling on his right to conduct journalist investigation related to specific events and facts, which may have public significance and call for protection of the interests of society and of individual.
  6. A journalist cares for his own prestige and reputation, bears both legal and moral responsibility before society for the correctness of his communications and the impartiality of judgments that are circulated under his signature, alias, or anonymously with his knowledge and consent.
  7. In his professional conduct a journalist has no right to place his own interest above everything else. It is inadmissible to conceal or spread information after receiving illegal rewards or to present information in a form which contains defamation, preconception, or groundless accusations. Partial or total appropriation of someone else’s ideas (plagiarism), work and materials contradicts professional ethics of journalist and gives grounds to colleagues to depreciate it as disgraceful act.
  8. In his practical work a journalist does not yield to authorities, especially in those cases when someone attempts to foist someone else’s or false opinion off, or incline to falsify facts. It is considered indecent conduct to use own reputation and official position for dissemination of materials with a purpose of gaining profit, or for self-publicity, or for careerist purposes and to be governed by the wish to please authorities or particular persons.
  9. A journalist is being called for continuous hoisting of own professional level, to nourish his main arm – the word; to follow strictly the constitutional norms of functioning Ukrainian and other languages of Ukraine; to step forwards resolutely against the facts of disrespect of the state language and diminishing of its role and meaning in the life of society.
  10. A journalist respects and defends the professional rights of colleagues, follows the norms and rules of conduct among editorial staff. He ought to be the embodiment of modesty, persistence and diligence. His moral obligation is to assist the professional development of young journalists on their path towards obtaining the recognition, to manifest professional solidarity with colleagues in Ukrainian and international mass media.
  11. Breaching of the principles of this Code by the journalist is a subject for public disapproval, which is to be reviewed at the conferences of editorial staff, in organizations of National Union of Journalists and at the councils of professional ethics, which can be convened at the regional offices of the National Union of Journalists

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