13 August 2020

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The draft of Moral and Ethical Principles of Journalism in Afghanistan completed and put on referendum.
According to BNA report the ministry of information and culture invited about 200 journalists and media authorities on 20th of October 2012 attending meeting, friendly discussed professional issues on journalism.
At the meeting Dr. Sayed Makhdoom Raheen the minister of information and culture taking on the importance of having high ethic and good attitude and behavior on journalism asked  the journalists to voluntarily determine the moral and ethical standards of journalists. Responding to the request, 13 people from free media agencies voluntarily became ready a long with two people assigned by the ministry of information and culture to carry out this great task. The establishment of this 15 member committee was ratified by the majority of participants of the meeting.  
This committee invited some other journalists to cooperate in writing the text of “draft of Moral and ethical principles of Journalism in Afghanistan”. Together they compiled the draft and recently handed over to the ministry of information and culture.
Minister of information and culture expressing gratitude from the writers of the draft put it on referendum and cordially asked the experts and veteran of press and media to offer their opinion and proposals to the ministry of information and culture within a month.
By completing the draft of moral and ethical principles of journalism, another concrete step has been taken toward the freedom of speech in the country.
Draft of Moral and ethical principles of journalism in Afghanistan:
Ethical principles are the most importance characteristic of media in most of the countries of the World.
Main characteristics such as impartiality justices correctness, legality, observing public interests and independence of the profession in the media systems of the countries are strongly emphasized and treatment and behavior of journalists and media have been formed according to these principles and characteristics.
There are different interpretations and judgment from these principles in various countries.
The internal situation and the peculiarities of formations of political systems, believes, cultural difference of the communities have a significant role in defining these ethical and moral principles.
In current Afghanistan, has seen remarkable growth and effectiveness of media on public mind and political, social, economic and cultural process is also undeniable.
Widespread, effectiveness and constructiveness of media activities and the need for ensuring the professional safety of journalists made the committee to insist on international principles and new values of journalism and realities of media services and freedom of speech in the country, to codify the moral and ethical principles of journalism for the media community of the country, required.
The in charged committee after studying internal and external sources and documents and the works of media experts, suggests the moral and ethical principles of media in the country as a follow:
The journalist performing their professional duties observe the constitution and mass media law of the country that ensures freedom of speech and the right of access to information.
- If they publish, materials have been produced earlier by others, mention the original source.
- Before any allegations and accusations provide the opportunity for mutual expressing of opinion and responding.
- On performing professional works, observe public interests.
- Avoid from insulting accusation, slander, dishonor, and abuse of others.
- The response of the complainants should be published on the same media complained against him/her.
- Journalists during their professional activities avoid all kind of -racial, ethnical, party spirit, regional, religious and gender discriminations and just focus on public access to information.
- Avoiding involvement in any activities harms the credibility of their profession.
- Avoids, accepting special proposals, gifts and bribe which affects the results of their professional activities.
- Avoid self-censorship and prefers public interests to his/her interests.
- Observe impartiality and justice in media related activities.
- On publication or non-publication of materials not surrender to the direct and indirect pressures of state authorities, individuals and influential groups.
Being brave enough, protect their lives against any threat.
- Avoid from touching of professional interests physical or moral with his/her colleagues.
The journalists check the information with relevant sources In order to prevent the errors and never intentionally deviate the information.
- In providing opportunities for parties of the story, a report and other media product or in a way involved acts fairly and equally.
- They introduce their information resources to their audience’s readers and viewers. If obtaining information from public be impossible use the information sources that do not want to disclose their identity only when they are to be into the public benefit.
- When they make a decision or not disclosing the source of information ----------------------------------------------
- Become confident that the evidences and documents achieved or not misleading.
- Avoid from collecting information confidentially and clandestinely (trying for sound recording by eavesdropping means , listening to telephone calls and access to correspondences) unless he/she cannot access to information in an ordinary way that its publication be into the benefit of people if he/ she uses such a means, should pointed to the way he/she obtained the information.
- During performing professional activities, prioritize the free exchange of opinion unless the viewpoints reflect the ideas of terrorist and armed oppositions groups, whose aim to topple down the governing system via violence means.
- Official and non- official sources of information enjoy the same value but the statements made by terrorists groups spokesperson and governments spokesperson could not be valued at the same level.
- They should seriously care on news coverage of criminal and offensive issues in order the right of awareness of people from such events not lead to the wastage of the rights of the accused people.
- They do not publicize the names of the individuals who have not been convicted by a court or their cases are under investigation.
- While conduction interviews and managing round table discussions politely dead with interviewees and hosts and avoid any kind of scorning and insulting.
- Observe equality, accuracy and impartiality and do not immolate the public interests to speed up the publication process.
-  Consider the principles of accuracy and severity while analyzing relevant issues.
- Avoid the consistent coverage of issues where is no any new information.
- Avoid from intentionally minimizing and maximizing of event in various media products.
- If someone is interviewed, based on off the record should not be violated later.
- The contract on embargo should be never violated.

Reduction of losses and damages:
- Journalists while conducting interviews with the victims of a catastrophe or taking photos of them try their best not to harm them mentally.
- Avoid from publication of violent events.
- For obtaining information and preparing and publishing media products not harm the sanctum of others. Only in emergency cases when there is an urgent need for presenting information for the public, interring the life and sanctum of an individual is justifiable.
- Avoid from fueling and involvement issues disturb the public mind and create fear and increase the social rifts in the community.
- Avoid any kind of ethnical, linguistic, regional, racial, gender, disability, mental diseases discriminations in achieving and publication of facts and events.
- Avoid from taking the pictures and interviewing of under age children without the permission of their parents.
- If due to any reason the publication of stories and events related to the victims of violence to be assessed to the benefits of the victims, avoid the publication of it in a form that harms the dignity and physical and spiritual interests of   the victims.
- Avoid from following worthless and baseless issues caused from curiosity.
- Seek the consent of old aged people, women and children while filming of them.
- Seeking the consent of parents while their children are interviewed or taking pictures of them.
- Journalists and media authorities accepting difference between a news and propagation avoid from violent propagation that harass the public minds.
- They are cautious about the deeds of individuals and groups who are in power or trying to grasp the power.
- They never distort the content of a story, picture or video.
- Avoid from publication of fraud and misleading scenes.
-  Carefully deal with figures, the involved parties increase or decrease according to their own interests.
- They are cautious against the sources that are ready to give information in exchange of money and avoid dealing on a story.
- Facts and personal opinions are different from each other, so the journalists in preparing and publishing media products do not present personal analysis and opinions as facts.
- There is a difference between news reporting and appealing so, they directly or indirectly not involved in appealing activities, since it is possible the credibility of their profession be questioned. 
Written By: Khalil Minawi BNA Director

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