Code of Practice
Newspapers, periodicals and journalists have a duty to defend the freedom of the Press in the interest of the public, and to resist censorship. Unethical conduct jeopardizes this objective.
1. It is the duty of the newspapers to avoid publishing inaccurate or misleading statements and further, it is the duty of newspapers to correct promptly, and with due prominence, significant inaccuracies or such misleading statements.
Opportunity To Reply
2. It is the duty of newspapers to allow a fair opportunity for reply when reasonably called for. Individuals and organizations should be given a fair and reasonable opportunity to reply to a personal attack or criticism.
3. Publishing material or making inquiries about the private lives of individuals without their consent is not acceptable unless these are in the public interest overriding the right of privacy.
4. A newspaper has an obligation to make all reasonable efforts to pursue comment from any person or organization about whom it publishes, or plans to publish, damaging statements in a news story.
Journalism Of Opinion
5. Newspapers are free to exercise the widest possible latitude in expressing opinions, no matter how controversial or unpopular the opinions may be. Columnists, editorial cartoonists and others should have the same latitude in expressing opinion, but when they present what purports to be a statement of fact, they should strive to ensure it is accurate. Journalists should clearly distinguish between comment and fact, and conjecture should not be expressed as a statement of fact. Opinions should be distinguishable from news stories.
Newspapers should provide a forum for the exchange of comment and criticism, especially when such comment is opposed to its editorial position.
6. Newspapers and journalists serving them should use straightforward means to obtain information or pictures. Their use of subterfuge can be justified only to obtain material which ought to be published in the public interest and could not be obtained by any other means.
Payment For Articles
7. Payments or offers of payment for stories, pictures or information should not be made to witnesses or potential witnesses in current criminal proceedings, or to people engaged in crime or their associates, except where the material concerned ought to be published in the public interest and the payment is necessary to enable this to be done.
Intrusion Into Grief
8. Newspapers and journalists serving them should in general avoid intruding into personal grief. Inquiries should be carried out with sympathy and discretion.
9. Newspapers should exercise care and discretion before identifying relatives of persons convicted or accused of crimes where the reference to them is not directly relevant to the matter reported.
10. Journalists should exercise discretion when interviewing a child under the age of 18 or a dependent adult, in the absence of, or without the consent of, a parent or guardian.
Children In Sex Cases
11. Save in exceptional circumstances, newspapers should not, even where the law permits it, identify children under the age of 18 as victims, witnesses or defendants involved in cases concerning sexual offences.
12. Newspapers should not identify victims of sexual offences, or publish material likely to contribute to such identification.
13. The APC recognizes the importance of newspapers having the widest possible latitude to publish images. Newspapers should consider the impact on their readers of publishing pictures which are prurient, gratuitously violent or which needlessly cause distress.
14. Newspapers should not publish material likely to encourage discrimination, in particular, discrimination based on the race, national or ethnic origin, color, religion, sex, age, sexual orientation, mental or physical disability, and should avoid reference to such matters in prejudicial or pejorative contexts unless they are directly relevant to the story.
15. Journalists should not use for their own profit financial information they receive in advance of its general publication.
16. Journalists making inquiries at hospitals or similar institutions should identify themselves to a responsible official before entering, except in very rare cases where information which ought to be disclosed could not otherwise be obtained.
17. Journalists have an obligation to protect confidential sources of information. New sources should be disclosed to readers in a news story unless there is a compelling reason not to do so.