Code of Ethics of the Haitian Press

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Friday, 16 December 2011 11:16

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti ( – Media associations and sector representatives adopted a code of ethics on Thursday December 8 that defines an outline for the Haitian press regarding rights and duties of journalists exercising the profession.

The translated text of the Code of Ethics is below:

Freedom of expression is a fundamental right of man, without it, public opinion can not be properly informed. It is guaranteed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948 and the Constitution of Haiti in 1987.

Convinced that the pursuit of truth is at the heart of the journalistic profession,
Anxious to preserve the integrity and freedom of the press,
Recognizing the importance of ensuring the credibility of the profession to all citizens,
Aware of the potential role of the press in building a democratic state in Haiti
The media and Haitian journalists have adopted the code of ethics as follows:

1. Freedom of the Press
Freedom of the press is an essential condition of freedom of expression. The media and journalists defending freedom of the press and expression, in accordance with Article 28 of the Haitian Constitution.

2. Veracity and authenticity of the facts
Search for public information, check them, place them in a context, prioritize and disseminate is one of the main tasks of the press. In this logic, the facts must be reported with impartiality, balance and accuracy.

3. Information and opinion
The media and journalists can speak on any issue or subject. However, they have a duty to separate the comments made to the public not to throw into confusion. The media and journalists have a duty to tell the difference between the true facts, which is about the observation, and trial, which is about the meaning and significance to not throw the public in the confusion.
The media and journalists should clearly indicate when they defend a position or opinion, such as editorials or points of view.

4. Human dignity and privacy
The media and journalists respect the rights of the individual's dignity and privacy. This includes the actions that the individual wants to share with relatives, friends or acquaintances. Until that privacy does not interfere with the public interest, it must be scrupulously respected. Is a new public interest when it is useful to participation in democratic life or that jeopardizes the functioning of public institutions or private institutions. Journalists and the media can talk about the private lives of public figures by the existence of a high public interest.

5. Discrimination
Discrimination violates equality rights proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948. The press recognizes and cherishes the diversity of opinions and non-discrimination. The media and journalists opposed to any form of discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation, religion, national or ethnic origin, race or perceived color, physical or mental disability, language, political convictions, social origin or other status.

6. Presumption of innocence
The media and journalists in Haiti must respect the principle of presumption of innocence which is clearly defined in Article 11 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948. ''Everyone charged with a crime is presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a trial where all the guarantees necessary for his defense was guaranteed.'' The media and journalists fail to condemn the first trial defendants.

7. Portrayal of violence
The media and journalists should avoid the language of hate and confrontation. They shall refrain from publishing scenes of violence, grisly images and obscene for sensational. They refuse to relay the reactions of readers, listeners, viewers or users that feed hatred, discrimination or prejudice against individuals or groups.

8. Protection of persons in a weak position
Journalists need to show understanding and respect for those who are suffering, especially those who have been victims of crime or traumatic events. They will avoid harassing them for information. The questions addressed to them must be made with sensitivity and restraint. Journalists should treat victims of traumatic events with dignity.

9. Data processing
In the processing of information, journalists must scrutinize and vigilance critical information, documents, images and sounds that reach them. The concern to achieve the faster dissemination of information does not provide a prior verification of the credibility of sources. The media and journalists should avoid mentioning phrases out of context, use of graphic material, photos or audiovisual content which have undergone any change. Journalists have a duty to report slideshows available to the public.

10. Right of reply and correction of erroneous information
Any error in the information needs to be rectified as soon as possible. Those unjustly implicated, are entitled to compensation by the right of reply. The right of reply can only be exercised in the body that issued the disputed information.

11. Access to information
The media and journalists have access to all sources of information. They have the right to conduct investigations on all matters relating to public life. However, they are prohibited from using unfair methods to obtain information, images and documents.

12. Protection of sources of information
The media and journalists must respect professional secrecy. They must not disclose the names of sources of information obtained in confidence without their express permission. However, they have a duty to verify the authenticity and accuracy of information, especially in the overlapping with other information sources. This right is enshrined in Article 28.2 of the Haitian Constitution of 1987.

13. Rumor
The rumor is information to be true, but unverified and often unverifiable, relating to facts or opinions distorted, exaggerated or even invented. A rumor is not information. It may not be published, unless it is meaningful and useful to understand an event. The media and journalists must always identify it as rumor and make sure that the media coverage did not increase and does not amplify misinterpretation.

14. Plagiarism
Journalists must refrain from plagiarism. They cite the brothers and sisters which he or she repeat the information. Journalists should not pretend to be the author of the written material, audio, moving images and pictures that they have not themselves produced.

15. Independence
The media and journalists should not yield to any pressure. Their main interest is to allow the public to enjoy their right to be informed. They are wary of any steps that could be established between themselves and their sources a relationship of dependency or connivance. Independent media and journalists is the fundamental condition of a free, pluralistic and responsible.

16. Impartiality during elections
During the election campaign, the media and journalists should not be advocating a political party or candidate. They must treat all parties and candidates in a fair, impartial and neutral. The media and journalists must obey the principle of balance by relaying several conflicting opinions in articles and broadcasts. Extracts from statements made by candidates and political leaders must be substantially reproduced, respecting the context in which they were delivered. The media and journalists must learn and respect the electoral law.

17. Information and publicity
Advertising commercial or policy must be clearly distinguished from the information or analysis. It is mandatory to specify when any type of announcement is part of a trade agreement with media. The media and journalists refuse to disseminate information in exchange for advertising contract or other benefit for their business news.

18. Gifts and gratuities
The media and journalists refuse any gift or gratuity that could compromise their impartiality. They refuse as companies, institutions or organizations to pay to cover events.

19. Remuneration
To contribute to or enhance the professional status of journalists, media managers must work to provide compensation for journalists to live a decent life and decent.

20. The duty of competence
The journalist must take into account their skills or abilities. He must constantly seek to refine and master the skills they need to better practice his profession with the support of the media for which he works. The journalist should strive to participate in continuing education activities organized by various professional associations. The heads of the media will encourage journalists to participate in all forms of training to their integration into the profession.

21. Media and Gender
The media and journalists should exercise particular sensitivity regarding issues related to gender stereotypes. The media and journalists make sure they reflect the intellectual and emotional equality of men and women. They must encourage the participation of women in the media, including positions of responsibility.

22. Brotherhood
Teamwork, collaboration and collegiality should guide journalists. Mutual respect between colleagues should be encouraged. The reporter does not use newspaper columns or antennas for the purpose of settling scores with colleagues.

Signatories to the code of ethics for the media and journalists in Haiti
December 8, 2011

Max Chauvet
President of the National Association of Media in Haiti (ANMH) ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ...

Marc Garcia
President of the Association of Independent Media of Haiti (Amichai) ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ...

Jacques Desrosiers
Secretary General of the Association of Haitian Journalists (AJH) ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ..

Guyler Delva
Secretary General of SOS Journalists Association ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ..

Marie Guyrleine JUSTIN
Director Women's Network of Community Radios (REFRAKA) ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ...

Jean-Jacques Augustin
Coordinator of the Haitian Journalists Union photographers (UNJPH) ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ....

Sony Esteus
Director General of the Society of Animation and Social Communication (SAKS) ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ..

Coordinator of Médialternatif