Press Council Unveils Proposals for Amending Journalist Code of Ethics  | Beta Briefing

Press Council Unveils Proposals for Amending Journalist Code of Ethics 

Source: Beta
News / Politics | 02.04.24 | access_time 16:45

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The Press Council on April 2 presented proposals for amendments to the Serbian Journalists’ Code of Ethics and called on other stakeholders to submit their suggestions by May 7.

The proposed changes envisage “stricter and clearer” provisions, which would provide more precise guidelines for implementation. The reasons behind the proposed changes to the Code of Ethics also include the fact that new technology and internet development have changed the work of journalists and have triggered ethical dilemmas. 

The Press Council Complaints Commission, which has been for 13 years adjudicating on complaints of violations of the Code, has concluded that certain provisions of the Code of Ethics need to be changed for to make them more precise or clearer. The Press Council has therefore, in cooperation with the founders – the Journalists’ Association of Serbia, the Independent Journalists’ Association of Serbia, the Association of independent local media Lokal Pres, and the Association of press publishers and electronic media – prepared draft changes to the Code of Ethics. 

The provisions envisaged to undergo changes include those on use of artificial intelligence, comment moderation, protection of privacy and dignity of people who are subjects of reporting, treatment of sources, and other provisions. Changes to the provision on respect of dignity envisage that “journalists must not discriminate based, among other things, on race, gender, age, personal traits, sexual orientation, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social background.” 

According to the guidelines for this provision, “belonging to a particular ethnic, political, ideological, or other group, as well as their marital status, religious beliefs, or social background is indicated only in such cases when the information is necessary for complete understanding of the context of events being reported on.” Journalists, according to the changes, “are obliged to respect and protect the rights and dignity of children, victims of crimes, persons with disabilities, and other vulnerable groups.”

The guidelines for this provision state that “journalists and editors must not publish material obtained by candid cameras, listening devices, or unauthorized wiretapping, except when such material serves to protect the public interest, for example, disclosure of information regarding the threat to life and health of the population, corruption, abuse of power, and similar. Publishing such material requires a clearly defined and transparent editorial procedure, according to the proposed changes. 

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