Media Council Code of Practice (Abridged) Print

NB: Exceptions to the following will occasionally arise, when the greater public interest is paramount. But generally, media representatives SHALL:

1. Identify themselves clearly and quickly

2. Be accurate, fair and balanced, corroborate information and correct it when wrong

3. Distinguish between fact and opinion

4. Respect the right to reply

5. Respect privacy and not record or film people in private places without their consent

6. Use sympathy and discretion in stories involving shock or grief

7. Gain permission from the hospital before interviewing patients

8. Use discretion when reporting brutality, sexual conduct

9. Be especially careful when handling hate speech

10. Declare any financial interests in firms they report on and declare perks/gifts

11. Protect confidential sources and be clear about ‘off the record’ exchanges

12. Declare any significant manipulation applied to images

13. Declare to their employer any political participation

14. Adhere to embargoes

15. Ensure user-generated and wire service material conforms to the unabridged version of this Code

16. Be wary of using material from social networking sites without permission


Media representatives SHALL NOT:

1. Harass or intimidate people

2. Interview or photograph under 16s without their parents’ permission (public events are exceptions)

3. Name relatives or friends of those convicted or accused of crime, without their permission

4. Intercept phone calls or emails

5. Use pejorative references to skin colour, race, nationality, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, illness or age

6. Personally profit from financial information gained in advance of its general release

7. Pay witnesses to crime for stories

8. Use the images or words of fellow media professionals without permission and/or attribution