Rules of professional conduct

Publicerad 4 maj 2020

Strong journalistic integrity is crucial for maintaining credibility. Those who scrutinize society must also be able to withstand scrutiny.

It is important that journalists show due respect when working in the field and that journalists while on duty strive to report correctly, in order to retain the confidence of the general public. Trust in the media and its employees is built upon following the rules of professional conduct.

The journalist’s integrity

1. Do not take on journalistic commissions in your professional capacity from people outside an editorial management group.

2. Do not accept commissions, invitations, gifts, free trips or other benefits – and do not enter into any agreements or other undertakings – that may cast suspicion upon your position as a free and independent journalist.

3. Do not succumb to pressure from outside parties that aims to hinder or restrict legitimate publicity or to create publicity when it is not journalistically motivated.

4. Do not use your position as a journalist, or your press pass, to apply pressure for your own or someone else’s gain or to obtain private benefits.

5. Do not use unpublished news regarding financial circumstances or measures taken by the state, local government, organizations, companies or individuals for your own gain or that of others.

6. Observe the regulations of the collective agreements for journalists, which state that employees may not be ordered to carry out degrading tasks or tasks that are contrary to their believes.

Acquisition of material

7. Show particular consideration to inexperienced interviewees. Inform the interviewee whether the conversation and other material is intended for publication. Be careful to reproduce statements and other material that non-public figures publish in social media.

8. Accommodate reasonable requests from interviewees who want to know in advance how and where their statements will be used.

9. Do not falsify interviews or images.

10. Show due respect when on photographic assignments and when obtaining pictures, especially in connection with accidents and crimes.

11. Hidden camera and other hidden recording equipment, when used for the purpose of publishing, should be used only in exceptional cases, after careful consideration and when a journalistic evaluation has stated that the information is not available in any other way. Concerned parties should be informed that the recording took place and why it was carried out, before publishing the information.

12. Respect copyright rules regarding text, images and sound.

13. State the source when an account is based largely on someone else’s information.

Comments

In this section, the instigators of these rules wish to provide guidance for journalistic fieldwork and editorial departments when problems arise that are not covered or are only partially covered by the law, collective agreements or other parts of these ethical rules for the mass media.

This section is not only a collection of rules. It is also intended to stimulate a continuous debate within the journalist corps on ethical issues relating to the profession. The rules do not profess to cover all the situations a journalist may meet in the course of his or her work. The rules are aimed at all editorial employees and where applicable also radio, TV and new media journalists. 

Membership in the Swedish Union of Journalists means undertaking to follow the rules of professional conduct. 

The board of the Swedish Union of Journalists works to ensure that members observe this part of the rules. The union’s committee for professional ethics, YEN, contributes to this work.

Senast ändrad 4 maj 2020