CODE OF ETHICS
Shomrim: The Center for Media
and Democracy in Israel
1. We are committed, out of a sense of social responsibility that is a characteristic of nonprofit journalism, and as a media entity that works toward promoting the values of democracy, to strive for fairness, integrity, credibility and transparency.
2. We will strive to present a variety of opinions and content on different issues. We will strive to include a wide human and social spectrum in our journalistic work.
3. If we express a personal opinion in the framework of our professional role, we will do so with transparency, such that the average person will be able to understand that it is a personal opinion.
4. We will ensure to maintain a culture of respectful writing, speech and discussion and to respect all those participating in the discourse.
5. We will strive to ensure the accuracy, credibility and completeness of information we publish, including the wording of headlines, and when presenting quantitative data, as well as visual and oral information.
6. Before publication, we will make sure that we have considered all the relevant facts. If we publish information that is not complete or up-to-date, we bring this to our readers’ attention.
7. We will publish fact-based evaluations and analyses and will avoid unfounded assumptions.
8. We will always strive to rely on first-hand sources, human or other.
9. We will strive to provide detailed documentation to back up any information we publish and, when relevant, we will clarify how we obtained it.
10. We will not quote a person unless the quote accurately reflects his/her words.
11. If we quote items from news agencies, even from those with whom we have an agreement, or if we report on an event we did not witness and are using a press pool, we will explicitly state this fact.
12. When publishing information that has been published previously, we will strive to use reliable sources of information, and if circumstances require, we will make an effort to check its credibility. We will not quote information that has already been published without stating the source.
13. We will not present the work of others as our own.
14. We will not use deception to obtain information or agreement to hand over information, unless this is an essential way of obtaining such information and only after the issue has been considered and approved by the Editor-in-Chief.
16. We will not disseminate or publicize the identify of a source who spoke to us on condition of anonymity, and we will ensure that nothing in the information we publish can lead, directly or indirectly, to exposing the source.
17. We will not pass on to the authorities any information that we collected during our work, but we will consider doing so when it involves a serious crime investigation.
18. We will work to ensure the security of information we collected during our work.
19. We are aware of the value of information based on quantitative data, such as stock market indices, survey results and datasets, and its possible influence on the public. Therefore, we will present quantitative data such that it is possible to understand its source, significance and context. Insofar as possible, we will allow transparency and make the raw databases accessible to the public. (1)
20. We will present reliable and precise comparisons between quantitative data, including correlation between variables, presenting data in its historical or theoretical context, or when we combine quantitative data with anecdotal information.
21. We will make sure to present quantitative data in a reliable and accurate way if presented in a graphic or visual form.
22. If we use graphical or technological tools to make any adaptations or analysis of information or data, we will do so fairly so as not to undermine the credibility, completeness or accuracy of the information, and we will explicitly state what was done.
23. If photographs or audio-visual content underwent significant changes, we will explicitly state so.
(1) It was decided to leave this clause to the Code of Practice: When publishing survey results, we will make sure to state the identity of the entity that commissioned and financed it, who conducted the survey, the size and sampling method used, as well as the statistical margin of error and the wording of the questions presented the respondents. If we commission the survey and it is intended to encompass a sample of the entire population (such as an election survey) we will ensure that the sample size includes all population groups without discrimination.
24. We will refrain from obtaining information, without the consent of a person, in circumstances in which they have a reasonable expectation for privacy, unless the information is in the public interest.
25. Without his/her permission, we will not publish any information that could harm his/her privacy or that was obtained through harming his/her privacy, unless it is in the public interest, and to the necessary extent.
26. We will not publish anything concerning the privacy of a minor under the age of 14, or of anyone who has a legal guardian, without permission of their parents or legal guardian, and if there is public interest in publishing the information and to the necessary extent.
27. We will be especially sensitive when we receive information, or agree to receive information, from people belonging to an underprivileged population and where there is a potential to exploit distress or lack of understanding.
28. When reporting on accidents, catastrophes, violence or war, we will strike the balance between the public interest for comprehensive reporting and the commitment to behave with compassion and sensitivity toward any fatalities, injured or others, and their families.
29. The agreement mentioned in all the above sections will be obtained by us presenting ourselves as Shomrim journalists, or as employees of organization. We will make it clear that we are dealing with information that will be published to a wide audience. Any information that will be given after this clarification will be deemed as such that the person has agreed to have it published.
30. We will not publish anything that could damage a person’s dignity or his/her good name and reputation, unless doing so is in the public interest and only after we have made every possible effort to ascertain the veracity of the information, in accordance with the circumstances and the context.
31. If we published information about suspicions against a person, or his/her arrest, indictment or conviction, we will also publish information about those suspicions being lifted, or his/her release or acquittal, in a fair manner and if he/she requested this or if there is public interest in so doing.
36. We will neither request nor receive, directly or indirectly, any kind of benefit connected to our journalistic work at Shomrim, to our standing or to connections we forged as part of our work.
37. When we publish information connected to our work for Shomrim, we will abide by the rules in this Code.
38. Our journalistic work as Shomrim employees will be conducted with total independence, but with the understanding that the Editor-in-Chief has the authority to use his professional judgment. The Editor-in-Chief will exercise his judgment subject to the principles and sections of this Code.
39. In the event of doubt or uncertainty regarding the interpretation or application of these rules, or a decision deriving from them, we will consult with our direct superior.
40. The sections of this Code apply to Shomrim’s journalists, newsroom employees, editors, and managers, and to anyone responsible for producing and publishing journalistic content on all of Shomrim’s publishing channels.
Information – any visual, oral or written information
Publishing – presenting the information to the public, on any of the channels or media used to convey information.
Information to be published for the “public interest” – information that serves the public’s right to know and the public’s ability to make informed decisions.
Person – including organizations, corporations and groups of people.
“Serious crime” – Any crime for which the punishment is seven or more years’ incarceration or which is on the state’s list of serious crimes.
The Code was written with assistance from Dr. Tehilla Shwartz Altshuler, The Israel democracy institute
איך ניסחנו את הקוד האתי של "שומרים: המרכז לתקשורת ודמוקרטיה"