We, journalists, who consider the freedom of communication as the principle condition of humanly living in our country, of attaining a transparent government and of democratic system:
- Promising with our free will to protest against the restrictions by The Legislator or other institutions and persons on Freedom of Communication, anytime and everywhere;
- Regarding the Freedom of Communication as a means of People' s Right to Learn the Facts;
- Considering that the main function in journalism is to find out and reflect the facts to the public without distorting and exaggerating;
- Stressing the Press Council' s determination not to allow any external interference on its own work;
- Announce publicly that we regard obeying the Press Professional Principles including the above-stated as a requirement of our basic beliefs that we mention.
PROFESSIONAL PRINCIPLES OF THE PRESS
No one shall be condemned or humiliated because of his/her race, gender, age, health, physical and mental disability, social level and religious beliefs.
There shall be no broadcasting limiting the freedom of thought, conscience and expression, and undermining or offending the general moral understanding, the feelings of religion and the basic foundation of the family institution.
There shall be no publication limiting the freedom of thought, conscience and expression, and undermining or offending the general moral understanding, the feelings of religion and the basic foundation of the family institution. The public' s right to receive information and the right to learn the facts are under protection.
Statements that are humiliating, degrading or sullying individuals and organizations beyond the limits of criticism shall not be allowed.
The private life of individuals shall not be the subject of publication, except when required due to the public interests.
The news which can be investigated within the boundaries of journalism shall not be published without being investigated or without being sure of their accuracy.
The information provided on the condition that it remains confidential shall not be published unless severely required due to the public interest.
A product that is produced by a means of media with special efforts shall not be presented to the public as if it were its own product by another media without the completion of the distribution process of it. No one is allowed to apply plagiarism in publications.
No one shall be declared ' guilty' unless it is determined by the judicial system.
Acts considered as crime according to the law cannot be attributed to anyone unless there are reasonable reasons to believe that it is true.
The journalist protects the confidentiality of his/her sources. An exception are cases where a source aims to mislead the public due to personal, political and similar causes.
The journalist avoids carrying out his/her duties through methods and with attitudes that may jeopardize his/her title.
The journalist avoids publishing which is violent, hateful, tyrannical and encouraging discrimination, and harming humanitarian values.
These qualifications of publications, which are announcements and advertisements in nature, are stated in a way that leaves no room for doubt.
The time record set for the date of publication shall be respected.
The press organs respect the right to reply and denounce regarding the wrong publications.
TURKISH PRESS COUNCIL
HISTORY AND WORKING RULES OF THE PRESS COUNCIL
The Turkish Press Council was established to protect the public' s right to learn the truth , which is the cornerstone of a liberal democratic system, and to help the free and responsible press and press members continue their professional practices at a level expected from a free and a respectable press. The members who established the the Press Council have regulated the Professional Principles of Press to be followed and signed a contract. The Turkish Press Council has been successfully operating for 32 years.
The Board of the Press Council Members (BKUK), and the Supreme Board of the Press Council are the organs of the Press Council. The Press Council has a Secretary-General and an office with sufficient staff under the Secretary-General.
BOARD OF MEMBERS
People who signed the contract in the Board of Directors consist of journalists, owners or general managers or representatives of oral, written, visual media and websites that declare to the public that they have promised to comply with the Professional Principles of the Press; the president or representatives of trade unions and associations representing journalists, representatives of bar associations, deans of communication faculties, and representatives of readers.
The Supreme Board of the Press Council consists of 12 journalists 3 of whom are elected from cities outside Istanbul by the Board of Members; and 14 representatives of readers, the President of the Press Council Solidarity and Development Foundation; 1 representative to be determined by the press organs with circulation rate of more than 100 thousand; 1 representative from websites; 3 representatives of journalist associations; Representatives of Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir Bar Associations with the Turkish Bar Association; and representatives of institutions providing ethics services. Members of the Supreme Board of the Press Council elect a President and a Vice President by secret vote. The President represents the Press Council. When the President is absent, the role of the representative passes to the Vice President, and if he/she is also absent, it passes to the Secretary-General. The term of office of the High Council' s elected members is three years. The member whose term of office ends can be re-elected.
DUTIES OF THE SUPREME BOARD
The duties of the Supreme Board of the Press Council are to work towards the expansion and the realization of freedom; to protect the respectability of the press; to investigate the collective claims against the media, doing written, oral, visual or internet journalism, stating that the profession of press has been used for unethical private interests without waiting for an application; to settle complaints that are violations of the professional principles; to settle the applications of journalists and/or press organs who want the situation to be examined due to an accusation that the journalism is done contrary to the Professional Principles of the Press; to monitor and assess threats against freedom of expression and press; and call a meeting with the Board of Members if necessary; to settle complaints regarding professional practices related to pre-publication and the publication; and to conduct and publish studies related to the press.
With regard to press members and organs, the Supreme Board of the Press Council may decide to find the complaint ' insufficient' , ' warn' or condemn' as a result of applications made to it.
Each press organ agreeing with the Professional Principles of the Press and the Press Council Agreement pays a certain amount of fee.
HOW TO APPLY TO THE PRESS COUNCIL?
APPLICATION AND ASSESSMENT METHODS
The Supreme Board of the Press Council settles the applications of journalists and press organs (written, oral, visual) against whom an accusation is duly made that they have acted contrary to the Professional Principles of the Press.
In order for a matter of violation regarding the Professional Principles of the Press to be handled by the Supreme Board, it is sufficient that any person appropriately applies (by petition, via phone or the Internet) to the Press Council on a matter which s/he deems worthy of complaint. The applications of organizations, which have the authority to represent a certain profession or community, related to relevant sections of the society are also taken into account.
The Secretary-General informs the reporter and the institution of the complaint after receiving the application, and requests a response. S/he tries to reconcile the parties; and if this is not possible, brings the report and the file to the Supreme Board of the Press Council meeting.
The Supreme Board of the Press Council holds a meeting with the participation of at least 11 members and discusses the matter. Decisions are taken by the majority of those present. Each member has one vote. A vote only reflects the opinion of its owner. No-one can abstain during voting. The member of the Supreme Board cannot participate in the negotiations for complaints related to the institution s/he represents, and cannot vote.
The judgment of the Supreme Board of the Press Council are definite. However, an extraordinary appeal could be made within 15 days from the announcement of the decision on the grounds that a material error was made in the first examination or an evidence presented by the complainant and the complainee were not evaluated. A Board consisting of the President, the Vice President and the Secretary-General submit the Report related to the appeal to the Supreme Board. The relevant parties are invited to the Supreme Board's meeting where the report related to the appeal is discussed. The Supreme Board makes an assessment after hearing the participating parties. The first decision of the Supreme Board can be changed by the votes of at least 2/3 of the participants in the meeting.
At the latest, complaints may cover two months before the date of application. At the latest, the application is settled in two months from the date of the application.
Any matter related to the Supreme Board's negotiations and voting is confidential unless otherwise decided. If the Board deems it necessary or receives a request from the parties, it listens to the persons concerned and may call witnesses.
The conclusion of the application by the Secretary-General through reconciling the parties is not an obstacle for the Supreme Board to handle the matter. It can release to the public the opinion and the decision related to the matter resulting in reconciliation like its other decisions.
The above limitation may be exceeded in the assessment of the applications made by journalists to defend their professional practices for the issues which are formally handled by the Supreme Board of the Press Council without waiting for an application.