Code of ethics in journalism to be discussed at national conference
Speaker of the House Anglu Farrugia, together with Malta Institute of Journalists (IGM) chairman Karl Wright showcased new guidelines on the ethics of journalism, which is to be discussed at a conference, taking place on 12 December.
The draft guidelines deals with issues of journalists’ autonomy and responsibility, confidentiality of sources, harassment, special attention to certain sectors within society such as gender and religion, commercial interests, use of archived material, privacy, the reporting of tragedies, the reporting of court stories, filming and photography of public places and institutions, entrapment, interviews, current affairs programmes and other points.
Dr Farrugia said that the two most important principles that journalists should follow are that of correctness and the way in which stories are reported. He said that when mistakes are made, they must be corrected and given the same importance as the original story.
The guidelines were drawn up by media analyst Carmen Sammut, upon request by the IGM.
A revised code of ethics for journalists is to be discussed during a conference being held next month, the Speaker announced this morning.
Dr Farrugia stressed that the conference is not just open to all media houses, but also the public. The aim behind it is to have a thorough discussion on how to ensure ethics are upheld by journalists.
He spoke of the worst thing a journalist could to is to pick and choose on what to report, as it does not divulge the full context of what is being reported.
The issue of abolishing criminal libel with Justice Minister Owen Bonnici was discussed, Dr Farrugia said, adding that it has been in place for far too long.
IGM chairman Karl Wright said that the code of ethics being presented was merely a first step. Different clauses would be discussed during next month’s conference and amended if necessary, he said.
Mr Wright acknowledged that each media house has their own internal code of ethics, and called for the respective newsrooms to discuss and compare their code of ethics with the one being proposed, and give feedback at the conference.
Photo: Jonathan Borg