Journalism ethics and standards comprise principles of ethics and of good practice as applicable to the specific challenges faced by professional journalists. Historically and currently, this subset of media ethics is widely known to journalists as their professional “code of ethics” or the “canons of journalism”.  The basic codes and canons commonly appear in statements drafted by both professional journalism associations and individual print, broadcast, and online news organizations. Every news organization has only its credibility and reputation to rely on. ” -Tony Burman, ex-editor-in-chief of CBC News While various existing codes have some differences, most share common elements including the principles of — truthfulness, accuracy, objectivity, impartiality, fairness and public accountability — as these apply to the acquisition of newsworthy information and its subsequent dissemination to the public.  Like many broader ethical systems, journalism ethics include the principle of “limitation of harm. This often involves the withholding of certain details from reports such as the names of minor children, crime victims’ names or information not materially related to particular news reports release of which might, for example, harm someone’s reputation.  Some journalistic Codes of Ethics, notably the European ones, also include a concern with discriminatory references in news based on race, religion, sexual orientation, and physical or mental disabilities. 10] The European Council approved in 1993 Resolution 1003 on the Ethics of Journalism which recommends journalists to respect yet the presumption of innocence, in particular in cases that are still sub judice. Contents [hide] •1 Evolution and purpose of codes of journalism •2 Codes of practice •3 Common elements o3. 1 Accuracy and standards for factual reporting o3. 2 Slander and libel considerations o3. 3 Harm limitation principle o3. 4 Presentation •4 Self-regulation •5 Ethics and standards in practice o5. 1 Standards and reputation o5. Genres and ethics o5. 3 Relationship with freedom of the press o5. 4 Variations, violations, and controversies o5. 5 Taste, decency and acceptability o5. 6 Campaigning in the media o5. 7 Investigative methods o5. 8 Science issues o5. 9 Examples of ethical dilemmas •6 See also •7 References •8 Further reading •9 External links  Evolution and purpose of codes of journalism The principles of Journalistic codes of ethics are designed as guides through numerous difficulties, such as conflicts of interest, to assist journalists in dealing with ethical dilemmas.
The codes and canons provide journalists a framework for self-monitoring and self-correction as  Codes of practice While journalists in the United States and European countries have led in formulation and adoption of these standards, such codes can be found in news reporting organizations in most countries with freedom of the press. The written codes and practical standards vary somewhat from country to country and organization to organization, but there is a substantial overlap among mainstream publications and societies.
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The International Federation of Journalists launched a global Ethical Journalism Initiative  in 2008 aimed at strengthening awareness of these issues within professional bodies. One of the leading voices in the U. S. on the subject of Journalistic Standards and Ethics is the Society of Professional Journalists. The Preamble to its Code of Ethics states: … public enlightenment is the forerunner of justice and the foundation of democracy. The duty of the journalist is to further those ends by seeking truth and providing a fair and comprehensive account of events and issues.
Conscientious journalists from all media and specialties strive to serve the public with thoroughness and honesty. Professional integrity is the cornerstone of a journalist’s credibility. The Radio-Television News Directors Association, an organization exclusively centered on electronic journalism, maintains a code of ethics centering on—public trust, truthfulness, fairness, integrity, independence and accountability.  RTDNA publishes a pocket guide to these standards.   Common elements This section does not cite any references or sources.
Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (June 2009) The primary themes common to most codes of journalistic standards and ethics are the following.  Accuracy and standards for factual reporting •Reporters are expected to be as accurate as possible given the time allotted to story preparation and the space available, and to seek reliable sources. •Events with a single eyewitness are reported with attribution. Events with two or more independent eyewitnesses may be reported as fact.
Controversial facts are reported with of the publisher is desirable •Corrections are published when errors are discovered •Defendants at trial are treated only as having “allegedly” committed crimes, until conviction, when their crimes are generally reported as fact (unless, that is, there is serious controversy about wrongful conviction). •Opinion surveys and statistical information deserve special treatment to communicate in precise terms any conclusions, to contextualize the results, and to specify accuracy, including estimated error and methodological criticism or flaws. edit] Slander and libel considerations •Reporting the truth is almost never libel , which makes accuracy very important. •Private persons have privacy rights that must be balanced against the public interest in reporting information about them. Public figures have fewer privacy rights in U. S. law, where reporters are immune from a civil case if they have reported without malice. In Canada, there is no such immunity; reports on public figures must be backed by facts. •Publishers vigorously defend libel lawsuits filed against their reporters, usually covered by libel insurance. edit] Harm limitation principle During the normal course of an assignment a reporter might go about—gathering facts and details, conducting interviews, doing research, background checks, taking photos, video taping, recording sound — harm limitation deals with the questions of whether everything learned should be reported and, if so, how. This principle of limitation means that some weight needs to be given to the negative consequences of full disclosure, creating a practical and ethical dilemma.
The Society of Professional Journalists’ code of ethics offers the following advice, which is representative of the practical ideals of most professional journalists. Quoting directly: •Show compassion for those who may be affected adversely by news coverage. Use special sensitivity when dealing with children and inexperienced sources or subjects. •Be sensitive when seeking or using interviews or photographs of those affected by tragedy or grief. •Recognize that gathering and reporting information may cause harm or discomfort. Pursuit of the news is not a license for arrogance. Recognize that private people have a greater right to control information about themselves than do public officials and others who seek power, influence or attention. Only an overriding public need can justify intrusion into anyone’s privacy. •Show good taste. Avoid pandering to lurid curiosity. •Be cautious about identifying juvenile suspects or victims of sex crimes. •Be judicious about naming criminal suspects before the formal filing of charges. •Balance a criminal suspect’s fair trial rights with the public’s right to be informed. edit] Presentation Main articles: News writing, Journalism, Ethical standards should not be confused with common standards of quality of presentation, including: •Correctly spoken or written language (often in a widely spoken and formal dialect, such as Standard English) •Clarity •Brevity (or depth, depending on the niche of the publisher)  Self-regulation In addition to codes of ethics, many news organizations maintain an in-house Ombudsman whose role is, in part, to keep news organizations honest and accountable to the public.
The ombudsman is intended to mediate in conflicts stemming from internal and or external pressures, to maintain accountability to the public for news reported, and to foster self-criticism and to encourage adherence to both codified and uncodified ethics and standards. This position may be the same or similar to the public editor, though public editors also act as a liaison with readers and do not generally become members of the Organisation of News Ombudsmen.
An alternative is a news council, an industry-wide self-regulation body, such as the Press Complaints Commission, set up by UK newspapers and magazines. Such a body is capable perhaps of applying fairly consistent standards, and of dealing with a higher volume of complaints, but may not escape criticisms of being toothless.  Ethics and standards in practice See main articles: journalism scandals, media bias, media ethics, and yellow journalism As with other ethical codes, there is a perennial concern that the standards of journalism are being ignored.
One of the most controversial issues in modern reporting is media bias, especially on political issues, but also with regard to cultural and other issues. Sensationalism is also a common complaint. Minor factual errors are also extremely common, as almost anyone who is familiar with the subject of a particular report will quickly realize. There are also some wider concerns, as the media continue to change, for example that the brevity of news reports and use of soundbites has reduced fidelity to the truth, and may contribute to a lack of needed context for public understanding.
From outside the profession, the rise of news management contributes to the real possibility that news media may be deliberately manipulated. Selective reporting (spiking, double standards) are very commonly alleged against newspapers, and by their nature are forms of bias not easy to establish, or guard against. This section does not address specifics of such matters, but issues of practical compliance, as well as differences between professional journalists on principles.