ਪੰਜਾਬੀ ਮੀਡੀਆ ਸੱਥ (Punjabi Media Center)

A common place (Satth) for Nextgen Media

Andhra HC bans Telecast of Crime Visuals

Posted by Grewal on 07/04/2010

Hyderabad, January 30, 2010:  The Andhra Pradesh High Court has ordered a ban on telecast of crime-based news bulletins and crime serials on regional television channels. The direction was given by Justice Gopalakrishna Tamada while dealing with a petition by a local advocate VVSS Kameswara Rao who argued that crime serials being telecast by Telugu TV channels were causing immense damage to society.

        The order came against the backdrop of a growing trend among news channels to present special bulletins on crime stories with grisly images and dramatised reconstruction of the scenes of offence.

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Govt asks the MTV to apologise for abusive language

Posted by Grewal on 05/07/2009

              The Indian government has directed the channel to say sorry for the “abusive and vulgar language” used in the hit show MTV Roadies – II. The Information and Broadcasting Ministry has asked the channel to run a scroll for three days, starting today saying:

            “Ministry of Information and Broadcasting warned MTV channel for telecast of the programme ‘MTV Roadies II’, containing abusive and vulgar words, phrases and gesticulations, which were found in violation of the Programme Code. Meanwhile MTV apologises for the said violation and assures strict compliance of Programme Code in future.”

             The Ministry, acting on a number of complaints, first issued a show cause to the channel then the videotapes were examined by various committees of the ministry who declared the programme “unfit” for public viewing. “The MTV will carry a scroll of legible large font and at normal speed without any interruption/mixing of any type of advertisement  round-the-clock for three days from noon July 3 to noon July 6. The channel will submit a recording of the scroll to the Ministry,” an Information and Broadcasting Ministry official told.

          “The channel has been warned that any further violation may entail stringent action, including suspension or prohibition of broadcast,” he added. (New Delhi 3 July 2008)

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Hukamnama against daily Spokesman

Posted by Grewal on 02/05/2009

Akal Takhat Hukamnama against daily Spokesman

Akal Takhat Hukamnama against daily Spokesman

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Role of Media in covering the elections

Posted by Grewal on 01/05/2009

Lustful role of Media during LS-09 Elections

Lustful role of Media during LS-09 Elections

QUESTIONING ROLE OF MEDIA DURING PRESS COVERAGE

           Media played a very licentious and craftiness role during LS-09 Elections. It is clearly evident from this news item appeared on 26th April 2009 in the non-partisan daily newspaper “Punjabi Tribune” being published from Chandigarh. Some regional media barons controlling the vernacular press enforced the Political parties and candidates contesting the general Lok Sabha elections to shell out bags of money in lieu of favorable press coverage through their agents (reporters) in the field.

             Such newspapers even presented full pages with various clandestinely news items by enlarging fonts in this “give and take” course of action slaying the laid down “lakshaman rekha” for the media and brazenly crushed the moral ethics but the “mighty” Election Commission was totally mute spectator to such media arm-twisting foul plays.

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Bogus interview on India TV !

Posted by Grewal on 27/04/2009

TV Channel “India TV” telecasted an interview of an American scholar Ms Farhana Ali during December 2008. The interview was about “Mumbai terror attacks and it’s aftermath”. She hails from Pakistan and lives in America, and is an analyst of political affairs and problems.

In the interview, which she has given in ‘Hindi’, she seemed to be supporting government’s stand over the crisis. Channel presented her as an American spy. Viewers might have watched the interview with much interest and also appreciated the outreach of the TV channel. Later on, it was told that Ms Farhan Ali did neither give any interview to any news channel nor spoke to any reporter. This Channel misused the interview she already gave to the Reuters. (Mail Today, April 10).

She lodged a complaint with News Broadcasting Standards Disputes Redressal Authority (NBSDRA), which TV channel owners have formed to control the transparency and accuracy of the reporting and to make member channels comply with certain regulations.

This Interview was all bogus

Association’s (NBSDRA) chief, Justice J.S.Verma, assessed her complaint and channel’s explanation and came to conclusion that the interview was bogus and fabricated. India TV obtained her picture from internet and by adding sound as some Hindi sentences, showed as she spoke to the channel whereas she doesn’t speak Hindi at all.

Justice Verma had penalized the channel with Rs 1 Lakh and instructed this channel to broadcast apology atleast 5 times. It is a good sign for those fair-minded viewers, who want to watch just facts. Also the fact, that TV channels had established a regulatory body for monitoring themselves, is surprising.

Justice Verma should certainly be appreciated that he caught such a big mistake of a TV channel. But who knows if Justice Verma is aware that, this is every day business of TV channels. They practice these gimmicks to increase their TRP. Justice Verma, with the help of his experts, should also watch such other media reports as how these channels mix voices, photos and footage. Since, unlike Farhana Ali, many people do not challenge their reports, but TV channels unethical business continues.

It may be mentioned here that the Broadcasting Code, adopted by the Fourth Asian Broadcasting Conference in 1962, lists certain cardinal principles to be followed by the electronic media, is of prime importance so far as laws governing broadcast medium are concerned.  Although the SPJ Code of Ethics are voluntarily embraced by thousands of journalists, regardless of place or platform, and are widely used in newsrooms and classrooms as a guide for ethical behavior.

Besides this the Cable Television Networks Rules, 1994 are also in force. Self regulation for TV broadcasters had already come into existence from October 2, 2008. The News Broadcasters Association (NBA) has come up with its own code of ethics and broadcasting standards.  The NBA code had already been submitted to the government.

Despite all such legislations/rules/codes the “idiot box” has been playing with the sentiments of innocent people and befooling the unaware society. Time has ripen to aware the ignorant society about such malpractices, obscenity, encouragement to superstitions or blind beliefs, unethical promotions, deliberate, false and suggestive innuendos and half truths.

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Cable TV Networks Rules-not followed

Posted by Grewal on 22/04/2009

Sec 3. Cable television network not to be operated except after registration:-

No person shall operate a cable television network unless he is registered as a cable operator under this Act:

 

Sec 6. Programme Code:

(1) No programme should be carried in the cable service which:-

(a)  Offends against good taste or decency:

(b)  Contains criticism of friendly countries;

(c) Contains attack on religions or communities or visuals or words contemptuous of religious groups or which promote communal attitudes;

(d) Contains anything obscene, defamatory, deliberate,  false  and suggestive innuendos and half truths;

(e) Is likely to encourage or incite violence or contains anything against maintenance of law and order or which promote-anti-national attitudes;

(f)  Contains anything amounting to contempt of court;

(g)  Contains aspersions against the integrity of the President and Judiciary;

(h)  Contains anything affecting the integrity of the Nation;

(i) Criticises, maligns or slanders any individual in person or certain groups, segments of social, public and moral life of the country ;

(j)   Encourages superstition or blind belief;

(k)  Denigrates women through the depiction in any manner of the figure of a women, her form or body or any part thereof in such a way as to have the effect of being indecent, or derogatory to women, or is likely to deprave, corrupt or injure the public morality or morals;

(l)  Denigrates children;

(m) Contains visuals or words which reflect a slandering, ironical and snobbish attitude in the portrayal of certain ethnic, linguistic and regional groups

(n)  Contravenes the provisions of the Cinematograph Act, 1952.

(o)  is not suitable for unrestricted public exhibition

Provided that no film or film song or film promo or film trailer or music video

(2) The cable operator should strive to carry programmes in his cable service which project women in a positive, leadership role of sobriety, moral and character building qualities.

(3) No cable operator shall carry or include in his cable service any programme in respect of which copyright subsists under the Copyright Act, 1972 (14 of 1972) unless he has been granted a licence by owners of copyright under the Act in rest of such programme.

(4) Care should be taken to ensure that programmes meant for children do not contain any bad language or explicit scenes of violence.

(5) Programmes unsuitable for children must not be carried in the cable service at times when the largest numbers of children are viewing.

(6) No cable operator shall carry or include in his cable service any television broadcast or channel, which has not been registered by the Central Government for being viewed within the territory of India

Provided that a cable operator may continue to carry or include in his cable service any Television broadcast or channel, whose application for registration to the Central Government was made on or before 11th May, 2006 and is under consideration, for a period of three months from 11th November 2006, or till such registration has been granted or refused, whichever is earlier.

Provided further that channels uplinking from India, in accordance permission for uplinking granted before 2nd December, 2005, shall be treated as registered television channels and can be carried or included in the cable service.

 

Sec 7. Advertising Code:

(1) Advertising carried in the cable service shall be so designed as to conform to the laws of the country and should not offend morality, decency and religious susceptibilities of the subscribers.

(2)  No advertisement shall be permitted which-

            (i)  derides any race, caste, colour, creed and nationality;

            (ii)  is against any provision of the Constitution of India.

(iii) tends to incite people to crime, cause disorder or violence, or breach of law or glorifies violence or obscenity in any way ;

            (iv) presents criminality as desirable;

(v) exploits the national emblem, or any part of the Constitution or the person or personality of a national leader or a State dignitary;

(vi) in its depiction of women violates the constitutional guarantees to all citizens. In particular, no advertisement shall be permitted which projects a derogatory image of women. Women must not be portrayed in a manner that emphasises passive, submissive qualities and encourages them to play a subordinate, secondary role in the family and society.

The cable operator shall ensure that the portrayal of the female form, in the programmes carried in his cable service, is tasteful and aesthetic, and is within the well established norms of good taste and decency;     

(vii)  exploits social evils like dowry, child marriage.

(viii)  promotes directly or indirectly production, sale or consumption of-

(a)  cigarettes, tobacco products, wine, alcohol, liquor or other intoxicants;

(b)  infant milk substitutes, feeding bottle or infant food.

(3) No advertisement shall be permitted, the objects whereof, are wholly or mainly of a religious or political nature; advertisements must not be directed towards any religious or political end.

(3A)  No advertisement shall contain references which hurt religious sentiments.

(4)  The goods or services advertised shall not suffer from any defect or deficiency as mentioned in Consumer Protection Act, 1986.

(5)  No advertisement shall contain references which are likely to lead the public to infer that the product advertised or any of its ingredients has some special or miraculous or super-natural property or quality, which is difficult of being proved.

(6) The picture and the audible matter of the advertisement shall not be excessively ‘loud;

 (7) No advertisement which endangers the safety of children or creates in them any interest in unhealthy practices or shows them begging or in an undignified or indecent manner shall not be carried in the cable service.

(8)  Indecent, vulgar, suggestive, repulsive or offensive themes or treatment shall be avoided in all advertisements.

(9) No advertisement which violates the standards of practice for advertising agencies as approved by the Advertising Agencies Association of India, Bombay, from time to time shall be carried in the cable service. 

(10)  All advertisements should be clearly distinguishable from the programme and should not in any manner interfere with the programme viz., use of lower part of screen to carry captions, static or moving alongside the programme.

(11)  No programme shall carry advertisements exceeding 12 minutes per hour, which may include up to 10 minutes per hour of commercial advertisements, and up to 2 minutes per hour of a channel’s self-promotional programmes.

 

Sec 8 of CTNRAct . Compulsory transmission of two Doordarshan channels:

(1) Every cable operator shall from the commencement of the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Amendment Act, 2000, retransmit at least two Doordarshan terrestrial channels and one regional language channel of a State in the prime band, in satellite mode on frequencies other than those carrying terrestrial frequencies

 

Sec 11of CTNRAct. Power to seize equipment used for operating the cable television network:-

    (1) If any authorised officer has reason to believe that the provisions of section 3, 4A, 5, 6 or 8 have been or are being contravened by any cable operator, he may seize the equipment being used by such cable operator for operating the cable television network.

    (2) No such equipment shall be retained by the authorised officer for a period exceeding ten days from the date of its seizure unless the approval of the District Judge, within the local limits of whose jurisdiction such seizure has been made, has been obtained for such retention.

 

Sec 16 of CTNRAct. Punishment for contravention of provisions of this Act :-

(1) Whoever contravenes any of the provisions of this Act shall be punishable,-

    (a) for the first offence, with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years or with fine which may extend to one thousand rupees or with both;

    (b) for every subsequent offence, with imprisonment for a term which may extend to five years and with fine which may extend to five thousand rupees.

 

Sec 20 of CTNRAct. Power to prohibit operation of cable television network in public interest:-

(1) Where the Central Government thinks it necessary or expedient so to do in public interest, it may prohibit the operation of any cable television network in such areas as it may, by notification in the Official Gazette, specify in this behalf.

(2) Where the Central Government thinks it necessary or expedient so to do in the interest of the-

(i)  sovereignty or integrity of India; or

(ii)  security of India; or

(iii) friendly relations of India with any foreign State; or

(iv)  public order, decency or morality,

it may, by order, regulate or prohibit the transmission or re-transmission of any channel or programme.

(3) Where the Central Government considers that any programme of any channel is not in conformity with the prescribed programme code referred to in section 5 or the prescribed advertisement code referred to in section 6, it may by order, regulate or prohibit the transmission or re-transmission of such programme.

 

Sec 8.  Register:

Each cable operator shall maintain a register in Form 5 for each month of the year for which the registration is granted.

 

Sec 3.  Application for registration as a cable television network in India:

(1) Every application for registration as a cable television network in India shall be made in writing in Form I and shall be renewable after every twelve months.

(2) The application shall be addressed to the Registering Authority and delivered to his office in Form 1.

(3) (a) Every application for registration or renewal of registration shall be    accompanied by –

           (i)   a fee of rupees five hundred only; and     

           (ii)  the requisite documents mentioned in Form 1 and Form 2.

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Procedure for filing the complaint to PCI

Posted by Grewal on 13/04/2009

1. Complaints against the Press

It is open to any person to lodge a complaint with the Press Council against a newspaper for a breach of the recognized ethical canons of journalistic propriety and taste. The complainant need not necessarily be the person aggrieved or directly involved. The alleged breach may be in the publication or non-publication of a news-item or statement, or other material, like cartoons, pictures, photographs, strips or advertisement which are published in a newspaper. Cases can also be initiated by any member of the public against any professional misconduct by an editor, working journalist, staff of a newspaper or engaged in freelance work. There can also be a complaint against any matter transmitted by a news agency by any means whatsoever.

By virtue of the Press Council (Procedure for Inquiry) Regulations, 1979, complaint shall be lodged with the Council within the following periods:

(i) Dailies, News agencies and Weeklies …….. within 2 months

(ii) In all other cases ……. within 4 months

Provided that a relevant publication of an earlier date may be referred to in the complaint.

Write to the editor first

It is a requirement of the Inquiry Regulations that the complainant should initially write to the editor of the newspaper drawing his attention to what the complainant considers to be a breach of journalistic ethics or an offence against public taste. Such prior reference to the editor affords him an opportunity to deal with the matter in the first instance and thus allows the respondent to take such remedial action as he might consider appropriate before the complaint is lodged with the Council.
This rule is necessary because it acquaints the editor with the identity of his accuser and the details of the complaint. It is conceivable that in some instance the complainant has been wrongly informed or has misinterpreted the facts. In others, it may be a case of inadvertent error which the editor is only too ready to admit and correct. If the would-be-complainant is satisfied, that would be the end of the matter.

Where, after reference to the newspaper, the person desires to proceed with the complaint, he should enclose with his complaint copies of correspondence with the editor, if no reply has been received from the editor, the fact should be mentioned in the complaint.

The complainant has, in his complaint, to give the name and address of the newspaper, editor or journalist against whom the complaint is directed. A clipping of the matter or news-items complained of, in original or self attested copy (English translation, if the news item(s) is in vernacular) should accompany the complaint. The complainant has to state in what manner the passage or news-items or the material complained of is objectionable. He should also supply other relevant particulars, if any.

In the case of a complaint against non-publication of material the complainant will, of course, say how that constitutes a breach of journalistic ethics.

The Council cannot deal with any matter which is sub-judice in the law court. The complainant has to declare that “to the best of his knowledge and belief he has placed all the relevant facts before the Council and that no proceedings are pending in any court of law in respect of any matter alleged in the complaint.” A declaration that “ he shall notify the Council forthwith if during the pendency of the inquiry before the Council any matter alleged in the complaint becomes the subject matter of any proceedings in a court of law” is also necessary.

2. Complaints regarding oppression to Press freedom

A newspaper, a journalist or any institution or individual can complain against Central or State Government or any organization or person for interference with free functioning of the press or encroachment on the freedom of the press. Such complaints should contain full particulars of the alleged infringement whereupon the Council shall follow the procedure of inquiry set out herein above so far as may be.

The opinion expressed by the Council sub serves two useful purposes, namely (i) that any abuse of press freedom does not pass without anybody noticing it or raising a finger of protest, and (ii) that the press should not in its own interest indulge in scurrilous or other objectionable writings-writings such as have been considered below the level of recognized standards of journalistic ethics by a fair minded jury like the Council constituted of the press itself, for it would lead to the very loss of the much prized freedom of the press.

Address of the respondent:

It is a requirement of the Inquiry Regulations that the complainant should draw the attention of the respondent(s)/authorities towards the grievances state how the action/inaction of the respondent authorities amounts to curtailment of the freedom of the press mention the possible reason for the action/inaction of the respondent(s)/authorities duly supported by documentary evidence and furnish a copy of the letter written to the respondent(s)/authorities.

In case the action of the respondent(s)/authorities is a reprisal measure for writings in the newspaper, critical of the respondent(s), the cuttings of such reports be furnished in original or as self attested copies (English translation, if the news item(s) is in vernacular.
Furnish a copy of the reply, if any received from the respondent(s)/authorities. Provided that the Chairman may waive this requirement in his discretion.

By virtue of the Press Council (Procedure for Inquiry) Regulations, 1979, limitation of time is four months from the date of cause of action.

Provided that the Chairman may condone the delay if he is satisfied that there exist sufficient reasons for such condonation.

The Council cannot deal with any matter which is sub-judice in the law court. The complainant has to declare that “to the best of his knowledge and belief he has placed all the relevant facts before the Council and that no proceedings are pending in any court of law in respect of any matter alleged in the complaint.” A declaration that “ he shall notify the Council forthwith if during the pendency of the inquiry before the Council any matter alleged in the complaint becomes the subject matter of any proceedings in a court of law” is also necessary.

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Code for Self-Regulation in media

Posted by Grewal on 13/04/2009

The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) (1985) has adopted a Code for Self-Regulation in Advertising. It is a commitment to honest advertising and to fair competition in the market-place. It stands for the protection of the legitimate interests of consumers and all concerned with advertising – advertisers, media, advertising agencies and others who help in the creation or placement of advertisements. As the Code becomes increasingly accepted and observed pro-actively, three things will begin to happen.

• Fewer false, misleading claims
• Fewer unfair advertisements
• Increasing respectability

Which, only means more freedom for you to practice your craft or carry on your business effectively. As a member of ASCI, you can mould the course of Self-Regulation and participate in the protection of healthy, effective advertising. You can have a say, through the Board of Governors, in the further development of the Code and future appointments to the Consumer Complaints Council (CCC). Membership of the ASCI (open only to Firms) entitles you to appoint your nominee to discharge your function as a member

Nothing can be better than self-discipline. External regulations imposed by law would not really be necessary if this ideal would have been effective. In this article, I will deal with malpractices in advertising and misleading which after complaint to the ASCI had to be taken off the Air. Advertisement and how efficacious or meaningless is the so-called self regulation in advertising by the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) having its office at Bombay.

Everyday we see various advertisements on various mass media example – television, internet, radio. Many of these advertisements are objectionable. As recently there was an objectionable advertisement of Amul Macho underwear which after complaint to the ASCI had to be taken off the Air.

The difficulty is in describing what is obscene advertisements, because what is obscene is subjective and depends on individual perceptions. Here reference is on patently false and misleading and uncomfortable advertisements. We regularly come across advertisements which promote dubious products, making unsubstantiated tall claims about their wondrous performance. The side-effects or the harmful effects of these products are invariably suppressed. Advertisers often make misleading statements about the utility of their products. What is done to check these misrepresentations?

The ASCI has formulated its self-regulatory code which is wonderfully attractive on paper. But what does it do about misleading advertisements? simply nothing and turned a blind eye. No attempt is made to caution the public about the misrepresentation. No press release is issued to make the public aware that they should not believe these misrepresentations.

It is necessary to pin point the areas where consumers require to be cautioned in order to prevent them from being misled by such advertisements. A genuine example would be- it is common to see on railway platforms and in trains advertisements of quacks posing as doctors. The commonest advertisements are for piles and abortion clinics. The Medical Council’s Code of Ethics prevents doctors from advertising. Disciplinary action is taken against doctors who advertise their services or against those who participate in advertisements for promoting a particular medicine, vitamin or drug. Hence genuine doctors do not advertise. Those who seek confidentiality for their problems fall prey to these quacks. Yet the Railway Administration is not bothered about these advertisements.

The Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisement) Act, 1954. This Act prohibits the advertisement of any diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment or prevention of certain diseases / disorders / conditions listed under the Schedule to this Act. There is a celebrated case law which falls under the ambit of this laws blatant violation it is Hamadard Davakhana case. The facts of the case was a drug was advertised it have the quality to magically cure certain types of diseases, which in fact was not so. The court held that these are misleading advertisement and the defendant had was held liable.

The Schedule lists 54 such disorders and conditions amongst which are included cancer, obesity, fits, sexual impotence, and also drugs for maintaining or improving sexual pleasure, or drugs… for causing miscarriage or prevention of conception.

The Act provides that its violation would be a cognizable offence. Even the media which carries or displays the advertisement commits the offence by participating in the advertising process. Yet the police do not take cognizance of such advertisements. The lucrative and recurring revenue generated by these advertisements is more important to newspapers, television channels and advertising agencies and it is profitable to disregard the law.

When nobody is bothering about such advertisements, not even consumer organizations, why should ASCI be expected to take action? Because ASCI has been set up by businessmen and industrialists specifically for self-regulation in advertising. Why should it make a farce of the whole complaint process?

The classical example would be the Cola wars. Can anybody deny these as to be blatant misleading expressions of these Colas, as in they are so important for survival? But nobody has the courage to question them because they are huge and powerful companies. Is it not so.

Conclusion

The code of Self –regulation drawn up for advertisers India is not at all sufficient and there should be more sincere observance of the code. However whenever there is competitive advertisement the competition drags each of the advertiser to the ASCI which is a non –statutory body. But whenever there is breach of public confidence by these advertisers by showing misleading advertisements, they should be immediately checked to safeguard the interest of innocent customers. Moreover there should be a statutory regulatory authority instead of ASCI which is non statutory which being so, has no binding authority on the non-members. This would definitely help to improve the quality of advertisements in India.

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Broadcasting Code for Electronic Media

Posted by Grewal on 13/04/2009

The Broadcasting Code, adopted by the Fourth Asian Broadcasting Conference in 1962 listing certain cardinal principles to be followed by the electronic media, is of prime importance so far as laws governing broadcast medium are concerned. Although, the Broadcast Code was chiefly set up to govern the All India Radio, the following cardinal principles have ideally been practiced by all Broadcasting and Television Organization; viz: –

• To ensure the objective presentation of news and fair and unbiased comment

• To promote the advancement of education and culture

• To raise and maintain high standards of decency and decorum in all programmes

• To provide programmes for the young which, by variety and content, will inculcate the principles of good citizenship

• To promote communal harmony, religious tolerance and international understanding

• To treat controversial public issues in an impartial and dispassionate manner

• To respect human rights and dignity

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CODE OF ETHICS FOR JOURNALISTS

Posted by Grewal on 13/04/2009

The SPJ Code of Ethics is voluntarily embraced by thousands of journalists, regardless of place or platform, and is widely used in newsrooms and classrooms as a guide for ethical behavior. The code is intended not as a set of “rules” but as a resource for ethical decision-making. It is not — nor can it be under the First Amendment — legally enforceable.

 

Preamble

 

Members of the Society of Professional Journalists believe that 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. Members of the Society share a dedication to ethical behavior and adopt this code to declare the Society’s principles and standards of practice.

 

Seek Truth and Report It

 

·        Journalists should be honest, fair and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting information.

 

Journalists should:

 

·        Test the accuracy of information from all sources and exercise care to avoid inadvertent error. Deliberate distortion is never permissible.

·        Diligently seek out subjects of news stories to give them the opportunity to respond to allegations of wrongdoing.

·        Identify sources whenever feasible. The public is entitled to as much information as possible on sources’ reliability.

·        Always question sources’ motives before promising anonymity.

·        Clarify conditions attached to any promise made in exchange for information. Keep promises.

·        Make certain that headlines, news teases and promotional material, photos, video, audio, graphics, sound bites and quotations do not misrepresent. They should not oversimplify or highlight incidents out of context.

·        Never distort the content of news photos or video. Image enhancement for technical clarity is always permissible. Label montages and photo illustrations.

·        Avoid misleading re-enactments or staged news events. If re-enactment is necessary to tell a story, label it.

·        Avoid undercover or other surreptitious methods of gathering information except when traditional open methods will not yield information vital to the public. Use of such methods should be explained as part of the story.

 

Never plagiarize

 

·        Tell the story of the diversity and magnitude of the human experience boldly, even when it is unpopular to do so.

·        Examine their own cultural values and avoid imposing those values on others.

·        Avoid stereotyping by race, gender, age, religion, ethnicity, geography, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance or social status.

·        Support the open exchange of views, even views they find repugnant.

·        Give voice to the voiceless; official and unofficial sources of information can be equally valid.

·        Distinguish between advocacy and news reporting. Analysis and commentary should be labeled and not misrepresent fact or context.

·        Distinguish news from advertising and shun hybrids that blur the lines between the two.

·        Recognize a special obligation to ensure that the public’s business is conducted in the open and that government records are open to inspection.

·        Minimize Harm

·        Ethical journalists treat sources, subjects and colleagues as human beings deserving of respect.

 

Journalists should:

 

·        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.

·        Act Independently

·        Journalists should be free of obligation to any interest other than the public’s right to know.

 

Journalists should:

 

·        Avoid conflicts of interest, real or perceived.

·        Remain free of associations and activities that may compromise integrity or damage credibility.

·        Refuse gifts, favors, fees, free travel and special treatment, and shun secondary employment, political involvement, public office and service in community organizations if they compromise journalistic integrity.

·        Disclose unavoidable conflicts.

·        Be vigilant and courageous about holding those with power accountable.

·        Deny favored treatment to advertisers and special interests and resist their pressure to influence news coverage.

·        Be wary of sources offering information for favors or money; avoid bidding for news.

 

Be Accountable :

·        Journalists are accountable to their readers, listeners, viewers and each other.

 

Journalists should:

 

·        Clarify and explain news coverage and invite dialogue with the public over journalistic conduct.

·        Encourage the public to voice grievances against the news media.

·        Admit mistakes and correct them promptly.

·        Expose unethical practices of journalists and the news media.

·        Abide by the same high standards to which they hold others.

 

The SPJ Code of Ethics is voluntarily embraced by thousands of writers, editors and other news professionals. The present version of the code was adopted by the 1996 SPJ National Convention, after months of study and debate among the Society’s members.

 

-> Urvashi Sharma, Social Worker & RTI activist,

House No. 2108, f block, Rajaji Puram,

Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India,

Pin code – 226017

Cell no. 9235169855

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