Code of ethics in jour­nal­ism to be discussed at na­tional con­fer­ence

Malta Independent - - NEWS -

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

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