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Code of professional ethics

(Automatic translation)

The code
of professional ethics
of a Ukrainian journalist


was passed at the X National
Congress of Journalists of Ukraine
(April 2002)

Freedom of speech in the activity of mass media is one of the most important institutes of democracy. Guided by the General Declaration of Human Rights, UN Universal Charter of Freedom of the Press, Declaration of the Principles of Conduct of an IFJ Member, Constitution and the applicable legislation in Ukraine, the Code of Professional Ethics of a Ukrainian Journalist determines the principal ethical landmarks to which a journalist should adhere to while performing his professional duties, so that his activities contribute to the best and most effective revelation of his own creative forces in the name of good and justice.

1. The main obligation of a journalist is to promote ensuring people’s rights to get the latest information.
It binds him to be always impartial, correct, responsible for his job in his activities. A journalist only spreads and comments on the information which truth he is sure of. He avoids incomplete information, inaccuracy, distorted information, which might cause moral injury to the honor and dignity of a person, inaccurate reports that are unacceptable on his part. A journalist bears responsibility before the reader, listener and audience.

2. While executing professional duties, a journalist may not use unlawful and tactless ways for obtaining information, abuse his official position. Under all circumstances, instances of accepting by him of payments/bribes for spreading untruthful information or concealing truthful one should be considered to be a serious crime. A journalist respects people providing information and does not reveal the source of the same.

3. A journalist has the right to refuse from the fulfillment of the task given by the editorial staff on the preparation and dissemination of his own information if after editorial cutting the meaning of the same has changed considerably, which contradicts to his principles or concerns professional ethics violation . In all other cases where a journalist disseminates unjust information in which the facts are distorted or emotional distress is caused to a person, he is obliged to accept his guilt in the same mass medium by apologizing and repairing his mistakes.

4. In his publications and programmes, a journalist should avoid spreading offences related to religious, racial, national, ethic feelings and views of people, stand up to extremism and the limitation of human rights on any grounds. He refrains from the hints or commentaries related to people’s physical shortcomings or diseases, he should avoid using offensive and abnormal lexicon. A journalist should show special compassion towards children and minors. At the same time, a journalist should promote to the strengthening of moral and ethic principles of the society, to the preservation on national and cultural traditions and stand up to the influence of the cult of violence, cruelty, pornography.

5. While investigation is under way, a journalist doesn’t interfere with the proceedings in his reports, avoids characterizing people suspected of the crime but whose guilt is not proven in a sentencing court passing a judgement which has entered into legal force. His right for journalistic investigation related to these or other events and facts that evoke a public response and call to defend the interests of the society and man is not ruled out.

6. A journalist is chary of his own authority and reputation, bears not only a legal responsibility but also a moral one before the society for the correctness of reports and the veracity of judgements disseminated under his own signature, a pseudonym or anonymously but with his knowledge and acceptance.

7. In his professional behaviour, a journalist doesn’t have the right to put his personal interests before all. It’s inadmissible that he suppresses or disseminates information by taking illegal prizes or that he provides it as that containing slender, jaundice and insubstantial accusations. Partial or full appropriation of somebody else’s thoughts, works and materials (plagiarism) contradicts a journalist’s professional ethics, is the reason for condemnation by his colleagues and is regarded by them as a crookedness.

8. In his practical activity, a journalist should not be induced by official structures, especially in those cases where somebody else’s or the wrong idea is imposed on him and he is sensitized to falsification of facts. He considers it indecent to abuse his reputation and position to disseminate materials for the purpose of profit derivation, self-advertisement, for careerist purposes and in accordance with the desire to please certain forces or persons.

9. A journalist is called to constantly work on increasing his own professional level, to cherish his principal weapon, speech, to strictly adhere to the constitutional provisions of the functioning of Ukrainian and other languages in Ukraine, to stand out strong against instances of disrespect for the state language, of understatement of its role and meaning in the society’s life.

10. A journalist respects and asserts his colleagues’ professional rights, keeps the guidelines and rules of conduct in an editorial team. He should be a concentration of modesty, insistence and industry. His moral obligation is to assist young journalists to establish their careers on the way to creative recognition, to show professional solidarity with his colleagues in information activities both inside and outside Ukraine.

11. Violation by a journalist of the provisions of this Code is subject to public condemnation and is examined at editorial team meetings, those of primary organizations of the National Union of Journalists and by professional ethics unions, which are created under the jurisdiction of the management boards of NUJU regional organizations.

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