The purpose of distributing news and informed opinion is to serve the general welfare. Journalists who use their professional status as representatives of the public for selfish or other unworthy motives violate a high trust. Journalists uphold the right to speak unpopular opinions and privilege to agree with the majority while at the same time respecting the will of the minority. A journalist shall at all times defend the principle of the freedom of the press in relation to the collection of information and the expression of comment and criticism. Council members therefore agree to abide by the following ethics.
Code of ethics
1 – The public has the right to know the truth. Therefore journalists have a duty to report the truth either as representing objective reality or representing what the source says fairly, accurately and objectively.
2 – Newspaper headlines should be fully warranted by the contents of the articles they accompany. Photographs and telecasts should give an accurate picture of an event and not highlight an incident out of context.
3 – Journalists should respect the confidentiality of sources to whom they have pledged anonymity.
4 – Only fair methods should be used to obtain news, photographs and documents except where overriding public interest justifies the use of other means.
5 – Journalists should regard as grave professional offence, the acceptance of bribes in any form in consideration of either dissemination or suppression of information.
6 – Journalists shall rectify promptly any harmful inaccuracies, ensure that correction and apologies receive due prominence and afford the right of reply to persons criticised when the issue is of sufficient importance.
7 – Journalists shall be aware of the danger of discrimination being furthered by the media, and shall do the utmost to avoid facilitating such discrimination based on among other things, race, sex, religious, political or other opinions of national or social origins.
8 – Secondary employment, political involvement, holding public office, and service in community organisations should be avoided if it compromises the integrity of journalists and their employers. Journalists and their employers should conduct their personal lives in a manner that protects them from conflict of interest, real or apparent. Their responsibilities to the public are paramount.
9 – Plagiarism is dishonest and unacceptable.
10 – Journalists must respect the moral and cultural values of the Zambian society. Journalists should respect people’s privacy unless when public interest demands otherwise.