Starptautiskais laikrakstu kodekss

Code of Newspaper Practice, 1981
of the
Fédération Internationale
des Editeurs de Journaux (FIEJ)

The FIEJ Code of Newspaper Practice is a direct response to UNESCO’s attempts to lay down the law internationally on what constitutes good conduct in the media. The Communication Policy Committee has formulated a set of principles to which newspaper publishers in FIEJ member countries have always implicitly subscribed. The code is not only a formal statement of the principles which govern responsible newspaper publishing in the West, but is also designed to serve as a model to the emerging newspaper industries of the Third World. In other words, it represents a FIEJ initiative to offer an alternative ideology to developing countries from that offered by the Soviet Union, one that reflects press freedom and responsibility in the context of a democratic society.

Statement of Intent

Open access to information and opinion is the democratic right of every citizen. The vocation of the press is to provide a comprehensive and objective service of information and opinion. It should, therefore, have freedom of access of all sources of information. The moral principles that govern the activities of publishers, editors-in-chief and journalists have already been codified in some countries. There is a widespread pressure for a code of practice to be adopted by all the world’s press.

It is incompatible with the principle of press freedom for such a code of practice to be imposed by an outside body. It is the responsibility of the press itself to formulate a code of newspaper practice.

The principles of the code should in no way infringe the liberty of the press.

The FIEJ code of newspaper practice based on articles 2 and 3 of its statutes could serve as a model for national press associations and individual publishers, within the confines of their own political and cultural traditions.


Freedom of expression is one of the basic human rights. It is an essential prerequisite for an enlightened and well-informed public opinion. As a prime source of information and comment, the press should be not only honest, accurate and fair, but also free and independent. To help safeguard the integrity and liberty of the press, the following code of practice has been formulated.

The Code

1. Press Freedom. A free press is the most effective safeguard of the freedom of expression, without which other fundamental civil liberties cannot be protected. The press should have the right to publish news and comment without hindrance to ensure that the public is full informed.

2. Facts. Facts should be established and reported with impartiality.

3. Separation of news and opinion. The difference between news and comment should be clearly drawn. This principle does not deprive a newspaper of the right to present its own view and the opinions of others.

4. Recognition of different opinions. The press recognises and respects differences of opinion and favours the publication of alternative views. It opposes discrimination on grounds of sex, race, nationality, language, religion, ideology or conviction.

5. Respect for human dignity. Publishers, editors-in-chief and journalists should respect the dignity and privacy of the individual and avoid intrusion into personal grief and suffering, unless considerations of public interest take precedence.

6. Presentation of violence. Crime, terrorism, violence and other acts of brutality and inhumanity should not be glorified.

7. Correction of falsehoods. Published facts and information that are later found to be false should be corrected without reservation.

8. Protection of sources. Confidential sources of information are to be protected. Names of informants should not be divulged without their consent.

9. Secrecy. The confidentiality of public and private affairs, as defined by law, should not be allowed o result in excessive secrecy in the reporting of important events. The public interest takes precedence.

10. Human rights. Where the freedom of expression conflicts with other-established human rights, it is the responsibility of publishers and editors in chief to decide which right has precedence.

11. Independence. Newspapers should not submit to external pressure, whether by governments, political parties, commercial interests or private individuals.

12. Advertisements. Advertisements should be clearly identified to distinguish them from editorial matter.