Code of Professional Ethics of Russian Journalist

Country: Russia


A journalist is always obliged to act on the basis of the principles of the professional ethics laid down in this Code, the approval, acceptance and maintaining of which is an absolute condition for his membership in Russian Federation of Journalists.


A journalist obeys the laws of his country, but when the fulfillment of his professional duty is concerned he recognizes the jurisdiction of his colleagues only, and rejects any attempts at pressure and interference on the part of the government or whoever else.


A journalist disseminates and comments only information of whose reliability he is convinced and the source of which is well known to him. He will do his utmost to avoid damage to any party due to its incompleteness or inaccuracy, deliberate concealment of socially important information or dissemination of information known to be false.

A journalist is strictly obliged to separate the facts he is reporting and that which comprises opinions, versions and assumptions, at the same time he is not obliged to be neutral in his professional activities.

When fulfilling his professional duties journalist does not resort to illegal and unworthy methods to acquire information. A journalist recognizes and respects the right of physical and legal persons not to give information and not to answer the questions presented to them, excluding those cases in which the presentation of information is mandatory by law.

A journalist considers malevolent distortion of facts, slander, the obtaining of payment for the dissemination of false or hiding of truthful information under any conditions as a grave professional misdemeanour on the whole a journalist should not take, either directly or indirectly, any kind of compensation or reward from third persons for publishing any kind of material or opinion.

When convinced that he has published false or distorted material, journalist is obliged to correct his mistake using those print and (or) audiovisual media which were utilized to publish the material. In case of need he is obliged to present his apology through his print media.

A journalist is responsible by his name and reputation for the reliability of all his messages and for the fairness of all his judgements, which are disseminated with his signature, pseudonym or anonymously, yet with his knowledge and approval. No one has the right to forbid him to withold his signature from communication or judgement which is even only partly distorted against his will.


A journalist respects professional secrets in relation to the source of information which is acquired in a confidential way. No one can force him to reveal this source. The right to anonymity may be broken only in exceptional cases when there is a suspicion that the source has consciously distorted truth, and also when the reference to the name of the source is the only way to avoid serious and inevitable damage to people.

A journalist is obliged to respect the request of persons interviewed by him not to officially reveal their statements.


A journalist understands fully the danger of limitations, persecutions and violence, which his activities may provoke.

In fulfilling his professional duties he counteracts extremism and restriction of civil rights on any basis including sex, race, language, religion, political or other views as well as social or ethnic origin.

A journalist respects the honour and dignity of the people who become the objects of his professional attention. He refrains from any derogatory allusions or comments in relation to race, nationality, colour of the skin, religion, social origin or sex as well as in relation to the physical handicap or disease of the person. He refrains from publications of that kind of information with the exception of cases having a direct relation to the content of the published article. A journalist is unconditionally obliged to avoid offensive expressions which may harm the moral and physical health of the people.

A journalist upholds the principle that any person is not guilty until the opposite is proven in a court of law. In his communications he avoids mentioning the names of the relatives and friends of the persons found guilty or accused of committing a crime – excluding circumstances when it is necessary to the objective presentation of the case. He also avoids mentioning the names of the victims of the crime and publishing material of a kind which leads to the identification of the victim. These norms should be observed especially strictly when the journalistic communication may harm the interests of minors.

Only the defence of the public interest may justify journalistic investigations entailing intrusion into the private life of the person. These restrictions on intrusion have to be observed rigorously when it concerns persons placed in medical or related institutions.


A journalist considers his professional status incompatible with holding positions in organs of governmental, legislative or judicial power as well as in governing bodies of the political parties or other organisations of a political nature. A journalist recognizes that his professional activities cease when he takes a weapon in his hands.


A journalist considers it unworthy to utilize his reputation, his authority as well as his professional rights and ooprtunities to disseminate information of a promotional or commercial nature, specially if this kind of nature of the material is not clearly and unambiguosly evident from the very form of the material. The combination of journalistic and advertising activity is ethically unthinkable.

A journalist should not use for his personal interests or for the interests of his kin any confidential information which he may possess by reason of his profession.


A journalist respects and defends the professional rights of his colleagues and observes the laws of fair competition. A journalist avoids situations in which he might cause harm to the personal or professional interests of his colleagues by agreeing to fulfill their duties in conditions which are well known to be socially, materially or morally less favoured.

A journalist respects and insists on respect for copyright arising from any kind of creative work. Plagiarism is not permitted. Utilizing in any form the work of his colleague journalist refers to the name of the author.


A journalist refuses an assignment if its fulfilment entails the violation of one of the above-mentioned principles.


A journalist uses and asserts his right to use all guarantees provided by the civil and penal laws for defence in the court or other way from violence or the threat of violence, offend, moral damage or defamation.

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