CHARTER OF PROFESSIONAL HONOUR
The General Assembly of the Press Syndicate in The Lebanon has approved this legacy at the extraordinary meeting of the 4 February 1974
The Lebanese press, being proud of its glorious history which is rich with struggle and martyrdom for the cause of the country and the citizen, a history, that is intertwined with the history of free thought and national and popular struggle, is pleased to declare - as part of the ethics of the profession - the overall principles of behaviour that were set forth by its pioneers; the pioneers who established the ethics, customs and tradition of the profession. The profession has been committed, since its establishment, to these principles which have become stronger than laws and resolutions. The Lebanese press would like to reiterate these principles in order to end disputes concerning the grounds for practising the profession:
The newspaper is an institution that renders a cultural, social, patriotic, national and humanitarian public service. However, it also has a commercial and industrial character. Through practicing its own freedom it is also committed to defend this freedom and civil liberties.
The responsibility of the periodical is not confined to respecting the law alone, but also to respecting professional conscience and the reader
The newspaper should be committed to truth, honesty, accuracy and the principle of not disclosing sources.
The periodical is a forum belonging to the readers, who enjoy the right to express their views and the right to reply.
The newspaper has to mobilize public opinion in defence of the country, right and justice, and resist aggression and unjust force.
Periodicals should avoid fanaticism and inciting sentiments and differences as well as slanders and insults.
Distorted news are not fit to be published.
Groundless accusations and lies degrade the press.
The paper should avoid publishing unconfirmed news, unless stated as such.
The periodical should avoid publishing materials that can encourage vice or crime.
The press respects the reputation of the individual and preserves his dignity. It should not pry into his private life.
Defamation, exaggeration and black-mail are characteristics of a 'yellow press', unknown to the Lebanese profession.
Campaigns of character assination degrade the profession.
A paper should not use illegal methods to get news and secrets.
Public interests is paramount and comes before the success or continuation of the paper.
The Lebanese press, which is proud of these ethical bases, is proud that it has presented this Charter of Honour and which the Arab journalists have adopted. It is, also, proud that it contributes towards recording the history of its time, shaping public opinion and volunteering to perform a message or a role in the practice of democracy and the defence of public interests.
NOTES: Nordenstreng, Kaarle (Ed.) 1989: Journalist: Status, Rights and Responsibility. Prague: International Organization of Journalists, p.174-175