Excerpts from the Code of Ethics for the Namibia media

Namibia’s media practitioners
in Media Ethics
Excerpts from the Code of Ethics for the Namibia media

In 2009, Namibia’s media practitioners adopted a Code of Ethics in line with international standards. The code binds the media to observe the basic principles of good journalistic practice: accuracy, fairness, independence, protection of sources, consideration for the right to privacy and other tenets.

 Preamble

The Code is the cornerstone of the system of self-regulation to which the industry has made a binding commitment. Editors, publishers and broadcasters must ensure that the Code is observed rigorously not only by their staff but also anyone who contributes to their publications or broadcasts. …

The Code should not be interpreted so narrowly as to compromise its commitment to

respect the rights of the individual, or so broadly that it prevents publication or

broadcasting in the public interest. …

Ethical Principles

  1. Accurate Reporting

1.1 Every journalist shall strive to report news and events accurately, fairly and with

balance.

1.2 Every journalist is encouraged to engage in investigative journalism for the public good.

1.3 Every journalist shall use all reasonable means within his/her power to ascertain prior to publication or broadcast, the reliability of the contents of any article written or recorded by him/her for publication or broadcast. Due regard should be given to the possible negative effect to the subject of the article or broadcast.

  1. Corrections

Where it subsequently appears to an editor that a report was incorrect in a material respect, it shall be rectified without reservation or delay. The rectification should be presented with such a degree of prominence and timing as may be adequate and fair so as to readily attract attention.

  1. Right of Reply

3.1 An aggrieved party has the right of reply. Provision should be made for an aggrieved party to reply to an article to protect him/her against verified factually incorrect statements that tarnish their reputation, dignity and privacy.

3.2 Newspapers, broadcasters or journalists are entitled to respond to such a reply in so far as to apologise and/or express regret for the error or stand by the story, provided however that the aggrieved party be given sufficient opportunity to counter the response of the newspaper, broadcaster or journalist.

  1. Conflict of Interest

4.1 Newspapers, broadcasters or journalists must at all times avoid conflict of interest in whatever form in their reporting.

4.2 Personal gain motive should not override media freedom, social responsibility and editorial freedom.

  1. Sources

Every journalist shall observe confidentiality regarding any source of information and has a moral obligation to protect sources unless the source authorises the disclosure of his/her identity.

  1. General Reporting

6.1 The media should strive to represent social reality in all its diversity, complexity and plurality, and shall strive to redress imbalances in society when reporting on women, children, minorities, and the under-privileged and disabled persons.

6.2 The media should not without due care and sensitivity, present facts, opinions, photographs, graphics or scenes that depict or relate to brutality, sadism, salacity, violence, atrocity, drug abuse and obscenity except in the public interest.

6.3 In reporting or causing to be printed or broadcasted accounts of crimes or criminal cases, a journalist shall not:

6.3.1 Identify victims of sex crimes (this shall not apply when an adult gives consent to be identified); or

6.3.2 Identify any young person accused of a criminal offence who to his/her knowledge is under 18 …

6.4 A journalist shall not commit plagiarism.

6.5 A journalist shall not promote ethnic or religious discord or violence.

6.6 Journalists must avoid publishing or broadcasting details of a person’s race, religion, sexual orientation, physical or mental illness or disability unless these are directly relevant to the story and in the public interests.

  1. Public Interest

7.1 The “public interest” includes, but is not limited to:

7.1.1 Detecting or exposing crime or a serious misdemeanour.

7.1.2 Protecting public health, safety and the environment.

7.1.3 Preventing the public from being misled by some statement or action of an individual or organisation.

7.1.4 Exposing misuse of public funds or other forms of corruption by public bodies.

7.1.5 Revealing potential conflicts of interest by those in positions of power and influence.

7.1.6 Exposing hypocritical behaviour by those holding high office.

7.2 In each case where the public interest is invoked, the Media Ombudsman will require a full explanation by the Editor demonstrating how the public interest was served.

7.3 In cases involving children, editors must demonstrate an exceptional degree of vigilance to serve the best interest of the child.

  1. Privacy

8.1 The Constitution recognises the Right to Privacy as a fundamental human right of all persons.

8.2 Insofar as both news and comment are concerned, the media shall exercise exceptional care and consideration in matters involving the private lives and concerns of individuals, bearing in mind that the rights to privacy may be overridden by a legitimate public interest.

See the full code here.

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