In accordance with what is established in the Statute of Journalists and with the principle of self regulation, the professional journalistic associations, namely the Association of the Sporting Press (AIDA), Association of the Private Press of Angola (AIPA), Association of Economic Journalists of Angola (AJECO), the Association of Women Journalists of Angola (AMUJA) and The Syndicate of Angolan Journalists (SJA), approved the following deontological code, which these associations and their members are subject to:
Code of Ethics
The practice of the profession of journalism is a social and public activity, which is subject to the present Code of Ethics.
I – Of the Rights of Journalists
1. To guarantee the necessary independence in the performance of their profession, journalists must demand for themselves and whoever works for them:
a) The right to dignified working conditions
b) The duty and the right to oppose any obvious attempt of informative monopoly or oligopoly that can prevent social and political pluralism.
c) The duty and the right to participate in the workplace, to guarantee their informative freedom in a way compatible with the country’s laws, as well as the values and the interests of their profession.
d) The right to invoke the conscience clause, when the means of communication under which they work requires an attitude that hurts their professional dignity or modifies substantively their editorial line.
2. Journalists have the right to be defended by their own company and/or by the professional associations that they belong to when facing any type of pressures that aim to deviate them from what is expected from this deontological code.
3. Journalists respect the rights of the author derived from all the creative activity.
II- Of Professional Conduct
4. The exercise of the profession of journalism is incompatible with duties in the public sector, political parties, defence forces, security and police, as well as with the exercise of advertising and of the assessor of the press.
5. In exercising their profession, journalists are prohibited from participating directly, through voice or image, in adverts or commercial advertising spots in the organs of social communication for which they work, as well as any others.
6. Journalists must combat sensationalism and must consider accusations without proofs and plagiarism as serious professional offences.
7. Journalists must relate the facts strictly and exactly and interpret them with honesty. To divulge the facts, all the interested parties involved in the events must be heard.
8. Journalists must always guarantee that, in the eyes of the public, the distinction between news (the facts that they are relating) and opinions, interpretations or conjectures, is always clear.
9. Journalists must neither falsify or alter situations, nor abuse the public’s good faith.
10. Journalists must keep a critical, independent attitude towards all established powers and interests, but never in a preconceived, resentful or hostile way.
11. Journalists must utilize legal means to obtain information, images or documents.
12. Journalists must make the verification of sources a fundamental principle.
13. Journalists will respect “off the record” whenever expressly invoked or assumed to be the source’s wishes.
14. Journalists must neither reveal, even in court, their confidential sources of information, nor disrespect their accepted duties, unless they are misled or given false information.
15. Journalists must abstain from collecting declarations or images that may affect people’s dignity.
16. Journalists must safeguard the presumption of innocence of the accused until judgement has been passed.
17. Journalists must not identify, directly or indirectly, the victims of sexual crimes or under age delinquents, although they can state the gender and age of those involved. In the case of an express request from the victim that their identity be divulged, the journalist must alert them of the possible harm to their image and mental well-being.
18. Journalists must not use their professional status for their own benefit or in personal conflicts.
III- Of The Professional Responsibility of Journalists
19. Journalists have the responsibility to quickly rectify information that is revealed to be inaccurate or false.
20. Journalists must assume responsibility for all their work and professional acts, as long as these have not been altered by a third party. Although it is compulsory to register one or more pseudonyms with the Commission of Professional Licences and Ethics, journalists must not shield themselves in these so as to be able to publish matters that are detrimental to the good name, honour and privacy of citizens and institutions.
21. Journalists have the responsibility to combat censorship and self-censorship, as well as direct or indirect obstruction to the free spreading of information.
22. Journalists have the responsibility to divulge violations of the right to inform and be informed and to denounce restrictions in the access to sources of information and attempts to limit the freedom of expression.
23. Journalists have the responsibility to convey to the representative entities of their profession all acts that violate their rights.
24. Journalists have the responsibility to respect people’s privacy except in cases where the person’s conduct openly contradicts values and principles that he/she publicly defends.
25. In assuming functions that are incompatible with the execution of their profession, journalists have the responsibility to cease their activity immediately until such time that this impediment is terminated. Failure to comply with this requires the immediate suspension of their professional licence and the public divulgence of their withdrawal.
Luanda,15th of October 2004
The professional Associations
Regulation of the code of ethics
1. Transgressions to the deontological code are determined and judged by The Commission of Professional Licences and Ethics.
2. The Commission of Professional Licences and Ethics is elected in a General Assembly of journalists, by secret ballot, especially convened for that purpose.
3. The General Assembly of Journalists is composed of a group of 50 journalists, including professionals elected on an open voters roll nominated by the associations or by the initiative of groups of journalists and two representatives of each association.
4. In the constituent assembly journalists exercise their right to vote, presenting proof of affiliation to the different associations of journalists or declaration from the patron entity or individual (in the case of free-lancers) attesting their practice of the profession.
5. In the ordinary assemblies, journalists exercise their rights through presentation of their professional licence.
6. Journalists can delegate their right to vote to the representative of the professional association to which they belong to, by means of a written and signed letter, to that effect.
7. It is the duty of the Commission of Professional Licences and Ethics to issue professional licences, according to the journalists’ statute and to evaluate the ethical behaviour of journalists either affiliated to the Syndicate of Journalists or not.
8. The Commission of Professional Licences and Ethics will have five members with a mandate of three years, elected by closed ballot under their own proposal or presented by any of the associations for journalists. The closed ballot includes members of the Commission and of the respective Commission of Appeal.
9. Journalists that do not comply with the code of ethics are subject to the following penalties:
a) Official censure
b) Official public censure
c) Temporary suspension for six (6) months.
d) Annulment of the professional licence for a period of one (1) to three (3) years.
# The penalties of annulment and expulsion can only be applied after a decision by the general assembly especially convened for that purpose.
10. By the initiative of any citizen, being a journalist or not, or by the affected institution, a written and properly identified request can be addressed to the Commission of Professional Licences and Ethics, in order to assess or identify a transgression committed by a journalist.
11. After receiving the request, The Commission of Professional Licences and Ethics will decide on the fundamental acceptance or, if obviously unjustifiable, will determine the filing of the decision, making it public if necessary.
12. The application for any punitive measure must be preceded by a hearing for the journalist, at the risk of lack of validity.
13. The hearing must be confirmed in writing by the Commission of Professional Licences and Ethics, through a system that verifies the reception of the respective notification, and will take place within 10 working days from the date of handing it.
14. The journalist can present either a written reply within the same time period stated in the previous paragraph, or present his reasons orally during the hearing.
15. Non-compliance with these stipulated times by the journalist implies his/her acceptance of guilt.
16. Having received a reply or not, The Commission of Professional Licences and Ethics will deliver its decision to the involved parties within a maximum of 10 days, counting from the day set for the hearing.
17. Journalists punished with sentences of admonishment, official public censure and temporary suspension can appeal to the Commission of Appeal, in a time period of maximum of 10 days from the date of receiving the notification.
18. The intention to prejudice a journalist in an obvious case of accusation with no basis will be the object of public censure against its author.
19. The present regulation will be effective after approval in a constituent General Assembly destined to elect The Commission of Professional Licences and Ethics.
20. Any modification can only be made in a general assembly of journalists, through a majority of 2/3 of the voters.