Respect for truth and the public’s
right to information are fundamental principles of journalism. Journalists
describe society to itself. They convey information, ideas and opinions, a
privileged role. They search, disclose, record, question, entertain, suggest and
remember. They inform citizens and animate democracy. They give a practical form
to freedom of expression. Many journalists work in private enterprise, but all
have these public responsibilities. They scrutinise power, but also exercise it,
and should be accountable. Accountability engenders trust. Without trust,
journalists do not fulfil their public responsibilities. MEAA members engaged in
journalism commit themselves to
- Respect for the rights of
1. Report and interpret
honestly, striving for accuracy, fairness and disclosure of all essential
facts. Do not suppress relevant available facts, or give distorting emphasis.
Do your utmost to give a fair opportunity for reply.
2. Do not place unnecessary emphasis
on personal characteristics, including race, ethnicity, nationality, gender,
age, sexual orientation, family relationships, religious belief, or physical or
3. Aim to attribute information to its
source. Where a source seeks anonymity, do not agree without first considering
the source’s motives and any alternative attributable source. Where confidences
are accepted, respect them in all circumstances.
4. Do not allow personal interest, or
any belief, commitment, payment, gift or benefit, to undermine your accuracy,
fairness or independence.
5. Disclose conflicts of interest that
affect, or could be seen to affect, the accuracy, fairness or independence of
your journalism. Do not improperly use a journalistic position for personal
6. Do not allow advertising or other
commercial considerations to undermine accuracy, fairness or
7. Do your utmost to ensure disclosure
of any direct or indirect payment made for interviews, pictures, information or
8. Use fair, responsible and honest
means to obtain material. Identify yourself and your employer before obtaining
any interview for publication or broadcast. Never exploit a person’s
vulnerability or ignorance of media practice.
9. Present pictures and sound which
are true and accurate. Any manipulation likely to mislead should be
10. Do not plagiarise.
11. Respect private grief and personal
privacy. Journalists have the right to resist compulsion to intrude.
12. Do your utmost to achieve fair
correction of errors.
Basic values often need
interpretation and sometimes come into conflict. Ethical journalism requires
conscientious decision-making in context. Only substantial advancement of the
public interest or risk of substantial harm to people allows any standard to be