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Code of Ethics

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(Approved at the Ordinary Assembly held in Seville on 27 November 1993 and updated in the Ordinary Assembly held in Merida on April 22, 2017)


Within the framework of the civil liberties enshrined in the Constitution, constituting the necessary reference for a fully democratic society, the profession of journalism represents an important social commitment, to make the free and effective development of fundamental rights over the freedom of information and expression of ideas a reality for all citizens.

As their subject and instrument of freedom of expression, journalists recognize and guarantee that their profession is the avenue for expressing free public opinion within the pluralism of a democratic and social constitutional State.

However, journalists also consider that whilst their profession allows them the use and enjoyment of their constitutional rights to freedom of expression and the right to information, this is subject to limits that prevent the infringement of other fundamental rights. These rules for professional behaviour must also be put into practice in the exercise of journalism whatever technological medium is used.

For this reason, in taking on these commitments, and as a true guarantee offered to Spanish society, which it serves, the journalistic profession understands that it is incumbent upon it to maintain, collectively and individually, responsible behaviour as regards the ethics and rules of professional conduct relating to information. Journalists, members of the Federation of Press Associations of Spain, make a commitment to society to maintain their own specific ethics and rules of professional conduct in the exercise of their profession.

By virtue of which, the General Assembly of the Federation of Press Associations of Spain (*) promulgates the following ethical principles and rules of the journalistic profession:


1. The journalist shall always act in keeping with the principles of professionalism and ethics contained in this Code of Ethics, whose express acceptance shall be a necessary condition for inclusion in the Professional Register of Journalists and the Federation of Press Associations.

Those who, subsequent to their inclusion in the Register and the corresponding Association, act in a manner not compatible with these principles, shall fall under the circumstances contemplated in the corresponding legislation.

2. The journalist's first ethical commitment is respect for the truth.

3. In accordance with this obligation, the journalist shall at all times defend the principle of freedom to investigate and circulate information and the freedom of comment and criticism.

4. Without prejudice to protecting the right of citizens to be informed, the journalist shall respect the right of persons to their own privacy and image, bearing in mind that:

a) Defence of the public interest alone justifies intrusion or inquiry into a person's private life without his or her prior consent.

b) In general, expressions, images or testimonies which are humiliating or damaging to the personal status of individuals and their physical or moral integrity should be avoided.

c) In news coverage of matters involving aspects of pain or distress for the persons concerned, the journalist shall avoid gratuitous intrusion and unnecessary speculation about their feelings and circumstances.

d) Restrictions on the invasion of privacy shall be observed with particular care if people have been admitted to hospitals or similar institutions.

e) Special attention shall be paid to the coverage of matters affecting children and young people and the right to privacy of minors shall be respected.

5. The journalist must embrace the principle that every person is innocent until proven otherwise and avoid as far as possible any harmful consequences resulting from the fulfilment of his or her journalistic duties. Such criteria are particularly enforceable if the information deals with matters submitted to the Courts of Law.

a) The journalist shall avoid naming in his reports the relatives and friends of persons accused or convicted of a crime, unless such mention is necessary for the news to be complete or fair.

b) The naming of victims of an offense, as well as the publication of material that may contribute to their identification shall be avoided, acting with special diligence in the case of crimes against sexual freedom.

6. The criteria indicated in the above two principles shall be applied with extreme rigour when the coverage may affect minors. In particular, the journalist shall refrain from interviewing, photographing or recording minors with regard to matters relating to criminal activities or those which can be considered to fall within the field of privacy.

7. Journalists shall exercise their professional zeal in respect of the rights of the weakest and those discriminated against. Therefore, they shall exercise special sensitivity in cases of news or opinions of potentially discriminatory content or likely to incite violence or degrading human practices.

a) Journalists must therefore refrain from alluding, in a derogatory manner or with prejudice, to the race, colour, religion, social background or sex of a person or any physical or mental illness or disability suffered.

b) Journalists must also refrain from publishing such details, unless they are directly related to the information published.


1. In order to ensure the necessary independence and equity in the performance of their profession, journalists must claim, for themselves and for those who work under their orders:

a) The right to decent working conditions, both in terms of remuneration and the material and professional circumstances in which they must carry out their task.

b) The duty and right to oppose any obvious attempt at media monopoly or oligopoly, which may impede social and political pluralism.

c) The duty and right to participate in the journalistic enterprise, so that their freedom of information is guaranteed in a manner compatible with the rights of the media in which the news is expressed.

d) The right to invoke the conscience clause, if the media on which they rely claims a moral attitude that damages their professional dignity or substantively alters the editorial stance.

e) The right and obligation to be provided with up-to-date and complete professional training.

2. Journalists are entitled to be protected both within the framework of their own company and by associations or institutional organisations, against those who, by applying pressure of any kind, attempt to divert them from the sphere of action set out in this Code of Ethics.

3. Professional secrecy is a journalist's right, as well as a duty that guarantees the confidentiality of information sources. Consequently, journalists shall guarantee the right of their information sources to remain anonymous, if so requested. However, such a professional duty may be surrendered as an exception in the event that it is reliably stated that the source has knowingly misrepresented information or when disclosure of the source is the only means to avoid serious and immediate harm to persons.

4. It is the responsibility of journalists to monitor scrupulously fulfilment by the Public Authorities of their obligation of transparency of information. In particular, they shall always defend free access to information from, or generated by, these Authorities, in their Archives or Administrative Records.

5. Journalists shall respect and enforce the copyright and intellectual property rights deriving from all kinds of creative activity. They shall avoid all forms of plagiarism and shall pay particular attention to ensuring that the reproduction of content via technological means does not infringe the rights mentioned.


1. The commitment to the search for truth shall always lead journalists to report only on facts of whose origin they are certain, without falsifying documents or omitting essential information, and not to publish false, misleading or distorted coverage. Accordingly:

a) They must substantiate the information they circulate, including the duty to compare sources and to give the person concerned the opportunity to offer his or her own version of the facts.

b) Having been alerted to the dissemination of false, misleading or distorted material, journalists shall be obliged to correct the error suffered as quickly as possible employing the same typographical and/or audiovisual format as that used to circulate it. They shall also send an apology via the medium they use where appropriate.

c) In addition, without the need for the persons concerned to go to court, the journalist shall provide natural or legal persons with the appropriate opportunity to counter inaccuracies in a manner similar to that indicated in the preceding paragraph.

2. In the performance of their professional duties, journalists shall use justifiable methods to obtain news, which excludes unlawful procedures.

3. Journalists shall recognize and respect the right of natural and legal persons not to provide information, or answer questions they are asked, without prejudice to their professional duty to address the rights of citizens to information.

4. With the same exceptions provided for professional secrecy, the journalist shall respect the off the record rule if it has been expressly invoked or it is concluded that such was the will of the informant.

5. Journalists shall always make a clear and unequivocal distinction between the facts they recount and what may be opinions, interpretations or conjecture, although in the exercise of their professional activity they are not obliged to be neutral.

6. In order not to mislead or confuse users, the journalist is obliged to make a formal and rigorous distinction between information and publicity.

Providing news coverage at the same time as publicity or institutional or private social communication activities is understood to be contrary to the ethics of the journalistic profession when they affect the rules and principles of journalistic ethics.

7. The journalist shall not accept, directly or indirectly, remuneration or gratuities from third parties, for promoting, advising, influencing or having published information or opinions of any kind.

8. Journalists shall never use the privileged information they have learned as a result of their professional practice for their own benefit. In particular, journalists who are routinely or occasionally informed about financial matters shall be subject to the following restrictions:

a) They may not use for their own monetary gain financial data that come to their knowledge prior to its general dissemination, nor may they communicate such data to third parties.

b) They may not write about shares or securities in which they themselves or their family members have a significant financial interest.

c) They may not in any way negotiate shares or securities which they intend to write about in the near future.

9. The principles and standards contained in this Code of Ethics shall also apply in cases where journalists make use of digital or other technological communication or information systems in any format.

(*) now *"Federation of Associations of Journalists of Spain"*