Europe: Ukraine

Code of Ethics of the Ukrainian Journalist

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Ethics Code of Ukrainian Journalists

1. Freedom of speech and expression are an inseparable part of journalistic work.

2. Serving the interests of the government or owners, not the society, is a breach of the ethics code.

3. A journalist has to respect people's private life. At the same time his right to investigative journalism is saved, when it is connected to some other events or facts, which are a matter of public importance and aimed at protecting social and individual interests.

4. Court procedures coverage must be impartial. A journalist cannot call a person criminal before a conformable court verdict is announced.

5. A journalist doesn't uncover his (her) informational sources, except cases when the Ukrainian law demands it.

6. Respecting public's right to full and objective information on facts and events is a journalist's first duty. Journalists and editors must take measures to check reliability of all the reports, video- and audio materials, which came from public, freelancers, press-cutting service and other sources.

7. Information and analytical materials must be distinctively separated from advertising by particular headings.

8. Editorial correction of material including pictures, texts, headlines, video and script accordance, etc. should not distort the content of the material. A journalist must notify the audience of rehearsed or reconstructed news. 

9. Facts, thoughts and assumptions have to be clearly separated from each other. Spreading information which contains biased or groundless accusations is inadmissible.

10. Opponents' viewpoints including those who have become objects of a journalist's criticism must be presented in a balanced way. Independent experts' estimations must be presented in a balanced way, as well.

11. Selectively quoted sociological research which distorts the content is not admissible. Public opinion polls cannot be fabricated to find out a result defined in advance.

12. A journalist must do everything possible to correct any published information if it turned out to be untrue.

13. A journalist must not use illegal methods of gathering information. While gathering information a journalist works within the Ukrainian legal framework and can use all legal procedures, including court procedures against those who prevent him (her) from gathering information. The use of secret ways of information gathering is acceptable only in cases when it provides accuracy and trustworthiness of the material.  These ways can only be justified when other ways of gathering information are impossible to fulfill.

14. Plagiarism is incompatible with the status of a journalist.

15. No one can be discriminated because of gender, language, race, religion or ethnic, social origin or political preferences. This information can be pointed out only if it is a necessary part of the material. A journalist should avoid offensive words and foul language, hints or comments about person’s physical disabilities or diseases.

16. A journalist cannot be committed with work discipline to write or do something that does not suit his (her) own principles. A journalist should resist any outside interference in the content, no matter if it is a direct pressure or actions that have got features of an indirect interference.

17. Illegal receiving of profit or any benefits for any journalistic material done or not done is incompatible with the status of a journalist. A journalist must not use his (her) official position for private profit, with the purpose of easy money, self-advertisement, making his (her) own ways up or willing to please any powers or individuals. A journalist has no right to use financial data before publishing with the purpose of his (her) own enrichment.

18. A journalist has to be especially careful covering issues connected to children. A journalist and editor must have valid reasons to cover the private life of minors and permission from his (her) parents or guardians. It is inadmissible to uncover the names of minors (or other features of recognition), who became participants of events, connected to crime or violence.

19. Deliberate violation of the ethics code is absolutely incompatible with professional journalism, falls under public condemnation and can be a reason for press-card deprivation or loss of membership in trade unions or in National Union of Journalists of Ukraine. Ethical or professional conflict situations are examined by the Commission of journalism ethics.

Outdated Information

(adopted at the “Journalistic Ethics in Ukraine: Elections of 2002 and Future” Conference on April 14th, 2002)

Freedom of speech and expression is inseparable part of journalistic work.

A journalist has to respect people’s private life.

Coverage of court procedures has to be impartial. A journalist cannot call a person criminal before an appropriate court verdict has been reached.

A journalist doesn’t reveal his/her sources of information except in cases when Ukrainian legislation requires it.

A journalist’s first duty is to respect the public’s right to full and objective information on facts and events.

Information and analytical materials have to be clearly separated from advertising.

Editorial correction of the material including pictures, texts, headings, video and script accordance, etc. cannot distort the content of the material.

Facts, thoughts and assumptions have to be clearly separated one from another.

Opponents’ points of view, including those who became an object of a journalist’s criticism, have to be presented in a balanced way. Independent experts’ evaluations have to be presented the same way.

Sociological research cannot be quoted in a way that distorts the content. Opinion polls cannot be fabricated by journalists for a preconceived purpose.

A journalist has to do everything possible to correct any published information if it is proved to be untrue.

A journalist cannot use illegal methods of gathering information. While gathering information, a journalist works under Ukrainian law and can use all legal procedures, including court procedures against those who prevent him/her from gathering information.

Plagiarism is incompatible with the journalistic profession.

No one can be discriminated because of gender, language, race, religion or ethnic, regional, social origin or because of political preferences. This information can be pointed out only if it is a necessary part of the story.

Nobody can use work discipline to make a journalist write or do something that is against his/her own principles.

Illegal receiving of profit or any benefits for any done or undone journalistic material is incompatible with the journalistic profession.

A journalist has to be particularly careful while covering children issues. Journalists and editors have well-founded reasons to cover the private life of any under-age person and permission from his/her parents or guardian. It is inadmissible to publish the names of under-age persons (or other features which could lead to recognition) that were connected to crime or violence.