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Information about the ethical principles that Media Councils use when determining whether to uphold a complaint or not

NOTE 1 Some of the items below may be covered by a more general principle within the Ethical Code. The questions refer to whether councils explicitly mention these points in their Code.

NOTE 2 Neither France nor Canada have answers all the questions here because they don't have their own Code of Ethics, they use some other documents which they cannot amend themselves.


CouncilName of the ethical code
AlbaniaKodi i Etikes
ArmeniaCode of ethics of Armenian media and journalists
Belgium (Flanders)Code van de Raad voor de Journalistiek
Belgium (Wallonia)Code de déontologie journalistique
Bosnia and HerzegovinaKodeks za štampu i online medije
BulgariaЕтичен кодекс (Etishen Kodeks)
CanadaThe NNC does not have its own code of ethics. We hold members accountable to the ethical guidelines they establish for themselves
CroatiaKodeks časti hrvatskih novinara
CyprusKodika Dimisiografikis Deontologias
DenmarkVejledning om god presseskik
EstoniaEesti ajakirjanduseetika koodeks
FinlandJournalistin ohjeet
FranceThree Charters are used: Charte du SNJ, Déclaration de Munich, Charte Mondiale
Georgiaქარტიის (Charter)
HungaryEtikai kodex
IcelandSiðareglur Blaðamannafélags Íslands
IrelandThe Code of Practice of the Press Council of Ireland
KosovoKodi i Mediave të Shkruara të Kosovës
LithuaniaVisuomenės informavimo etikos kodeksas / Code of Ethics in Providing Information to the Public
LuxembourgCode de déontologie
North MacedoniaКодекс на новинарите на македонија (Code of Journalists of Macedonia)
NorwayVer Varsam-plakaten
Québec (Canada)Guide de Déontologie
SerbiaKodeks novinara Srbije
SlovakiaEtický kódex novinára
SloveniaKodeks novinarjev Slovenije
Spain - CataloniaCodi Deontològic
The NetherlandsLeidraad
TurkeyBasın Meslek İlkeleri
United Kingdom (Impress)Standards Code
United Kingdom (IPSO)The Editors' Code of Practice.

CouncilMost complaint
ArmeniaHate speech and libel.
AustriaAccuracy (in research and presentation)
AzerbaijanProtection of honour and dignity, inviolability of personal life
Belgium (Flanders)Right to reply
Belgium (Wallonia)Correction of errors
Bosnia and HerzegovinaIncitement (hate speech and discrimination)
CroatiaDignity/reputation of the people who are covered in the news
CyprusRacism, sexism, hate speech and about accuracy in the news
EstoniaRight of reply
FinlandCorrection of errors
IcelandDoing professional & fair journalism, don't do unnecessary harm
IrelandTruth and Accuracy Privacy Avoidance of Prejudice Protection of Children
KosovoReporting the truth
LithuaniaReply, accuracy,misleading
LuxembourgAbout diligence of information collection
North MacedoniaAccuracy
NorwayBe critical in the choice of sources, and make sure that the information provided is correct. Those who have been subjected to strong accusations shall, if possible, have the opportunity to simultaneous reply as regards factual information
Québec (Canada)Accuracy (inaccurate reporting)
SerbiaTruthfulness of reporting
SlovakiaRight of reply
Spain - CataloniaConflict of interest
SwedenBeing named and criticized
SwitzerlandIncorrect reporting (factual errors/biased reporting,), Right of reply. Privacy
The NetherlandsIncorrect/biased coverage
TurkeyStatements that are humiliating, degrading or sullying individuals and organizations beyond the limits of criticism shall not be allowed. (Art. 4)
United Kingdom (Impress)Accuracy
United Kingdom (IPSO)Accuracy

AlbaniaAlbanian Media Institution, in cooperation with the Press Council
ArmeniaMEO (or designated individual members) prepares and approves draft updates. Then General Assembly of the members of SR initiatives adopts them.
AustriaThe Board of the Council
AzerbaijanCongress of Azerbaijani journalists
Belgium (Flanders)Council members
Belgium (Wallonia)The annual meeting of the Association
Bosnia and HerzegovinaThe Press Council itself
CroatiaThe General Assembly of the assocation
CyprusAll members of CMCC
DenmarkThe Danish Union of Journalists and the Danish Media Association
EstoniaBoard of the News Media Association
FinlandThe Management Group of the Council for Mass Media.
GeorgiaThe assembly of the Charter
GermanyThe General Assembly of the Press Council
HungaryThe Board of the Council prepares, the General Assembly has to accept it
IcelandThe General Assembly of the Union (held annually)
IrelandCode Committee
KazakhstanMedia experts
KosovoThe Board of the organization
Lithuaniarepresentatives of organisations of producers or disseminators of public information and members of the Association of Ethics in the Provision of Information to the Public.
LuxembourgGeneral Assembly of the Council
North MacedoniaThe Association of Journalists and the Macedonian Media Institute
NorwayBoard of the Norwegian Press Association
Québec (Canada)The GPR (pour Guide, Processus et Règlements) committee, consisting of 6 members + secretary-general and president
SerbiaJournalists' associations
SlovakiaAssociation for the Protection of Journalistic Ethics in the Slovak Republic
SloveniaProposed changes to the Code have to be approved by general assembly of the Council
Spain - CataloniaThe journalists' association
SwedenThe Media Bransch
SwitzerlandThe council
TurkeyThe Supreme Council (40 members) and the General Assembly (comprising all members)
United Kingdom (Impress)Code Committee
United Kingdom (IPSO)The Editors' Code of Practice Committee.
Latest update#%Councils
201112.63%Bosnia and Herzegovina
201325.26%Serbia, Denmark
201512.63%Belgium (Wallonia)
201625.26%Lithuania, Spain - Catalonia
201725.26%Germany, Slovakia
2019923.68%Kosovo, Québec (Canada), Ireland, Slovenia, Turkey, The Netherlands, Georgia, Belgium (Flanders), Austria
202037.89%Norway, Kazakhstan, Sweden
202137.89%Armenia, United Kingdom (IPSO), Switzerland

AlbaniaIncorporation of regulation for online media, to bring guidelines in line with international practices and norms, as well as to extend the Code to cover new (online) publication forms.
ArmeniaRelevance to technological progress.
AustriaGuidelines amended to protect victims of crime and accidents.
AzerbaijanAddition of the principle of gender equality and non-discrimination
Belgium (Flanders)Actualization based on jurisprudence of previous 17 years, adaptation to the digital environment.
Belgium (Wallonia)The wording of two articles has been clarified
Bosnia and HerzegovinaSome specifications about what discriminatory speech is (now explicitly called ‘hate speech'), reporting about children and minors, protection of witnesses (at courts' procedures), and on online media reporting
DenmarkUpdated with jurisprudence from decisions over the years, as it had not been revised for a long time
EstoniaSmall correction, no substantive changes
FinlandClarification of how corrections of errors in reporting should be made so that the audience is properly informed.
GeorgiaThe removal of one sentence, not content-related
GermanyChanges to the guideline that refers to when the origin of suspects and offenders can (not) be mentioned
IcelandMostly procedural standards.
IrelandAdded a guideline about coverage of suicides, which was advocated for by interest group
KazakhstanQuick posts, fakes, deep fakes, and other given of the new post-truth era
KosovoPress council now competent for online video/audio; respect for judgments in court reporting emphasised; protection of whistleblowers
LithuaniaOnline media, journalists' behaviour in social media, internet sources' authorship and other actual issues
LuxembourgThe rise of online media necessitated a change of the Code
NorwayJournalistic conduct and the relationship to the sources
Québec (Canada)Tweaking definition, so that press agencies are considered to be news media as well. Before, only the news outlet publishing press agency copy would be complained against, now the news agency who produced it can also be held accountable
SlovakiaIncreased digital space use
SloveniaWording more precise; guidelines around privacy adapted because of confusion; emphasised that correcting (online) errors must be done openly
Spain - CataloniaThe advent of online media required some adaptations to the Code
SwedenIn 2020, the Council has been renamed from Press Council to Media Council, and is now able to deal with broadcast media (tv and radio).
SwitzerlandSmall textual change
The NetherlandsGuideline about journalists' duty to protect their sources has been expanded to include not just source protection in publications, but in the rest of their work as well
TurkeyMinor language changes and better legal formulation of certain principles
United Kingdom (IPSO)Privacy was updated to include explicit protection for ‘mental health' as a medical diagnosis protected by the clause.

Additional Information, if "Yes"

  • Austria
    A guideline about how to report on suicide
  • Belgium (Flanders)
    Guideline about the correction of errors, about op-eds, right to reply, and privacy
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
    Guideline specifying gender equality (next to discrimination), reporting from courts, and reporting on violent extremism and terrorism
  • Denmark
    A guideline about de-indexing, anonymization, or unpublishing of a particular journalistic production
  • Ireland
    A guideline about the coverage of suicide
  • Luxembourg
    An article about online media outlets
  • Serbia
    The addition of a chapter about prevention of corruption and conflict of interest
  • Spain - Catalonia
    Guidelines were added to guide ethical reporting online

AlbaniaDevelopments in the media sector may give rise to changes in the Code of Ethics
ArmeniaPractical challenges appearing in the work of MEO.
AustriaNo regular review or fixed procedure, the trigger is usually feedback from senate
Belgium (Flanders)When issues occur that are controversial, or if there are discrepancies between recent jurisprudence and formal codes
Belgium (Wallonia)A trigger for updating might be constant feedback from the audience or a major change in technology opening up new ways of reporting, disseminating or interacting with the audience. Also, a realization by the Council of the current code being invalid in some respect may end up in proposing a change.
Bosnia and HerzegovinaPress council can propose changes because of developments in society and/or changes to (inter)national laws and treaties
CroatiaRecommendations from the members of the ethics committee can lead to changes
DenmarkNo periodical review, but developments in society or the media sector might lead to updates
EstoniaNo structural review or trigger
Finlandsuggestions from the media industry or members of the council
GeorgiaDecision of the Association
GermanyThe General Assembly, which is organized twice each year
HungaryWhen the Council senses that a complainant has a point, but the grounds for their complaint are not in the Code of Ethics
IcelandUnion members discussions.
IrelandWhen an issue is raised at the yearly meeting
Kazakhstanthe speed of the spread of fakes, disinformation and propaganda
KosovoIssues that occur in complaint-handling can lead to changes
LuxembourgNew legislation and the needs of the journalistic profession
North MacedoniaUpdate could be triggered by observations of phenomena in the media that are currently not covered by the Code
Norwaynew principle matters
Québec (Canada)Office or Council signals that complaints they are getting are problematic in the light of the existing guidelines
SerbiaRelevant changes in the media landscape
Slovakiachanging media environment
SloveniaWhen certain articles of the are found to be problematic in complaints procedures, or when the guidelines that the Council writes are to be 'upgraded' to be included in the Code itself.
Spain - CataloniaDevelopments in media that affect (groups in) society may necessitate changes
SwedenDecisions in the Board of the Association
The NetherlandsChanges are usually triggered by the Council's decisions in complaint procedures
TurkeyMostly, developments in society could lead to changes to the Ethical Code
United Kingdom (Impress)ongoing assessment with careful consideration of the industry along with feedback from key stakeholdersr
United Kingdom (IPSO)The annual Editors' Code Review.

Additional Information, if "Yes"

  • Belgium (Flanders)
    The leaflet of the Code of Ethics contains guidelines that specify/explain the principles
  • Belgium (Wallonia)
    Council meetings
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
    The Council has developed guidelines about matters like reporting on court cases, gender issues, extreme violence and terrorism
  • Bulgaria
    The Council has created some guides about how to report on various specific topics
  • Cyprus
    The Ethical Code contains an addendum with explanatory guidelines
  • Denmark
    Annual reports may include a note about some issue that came up
  • Finland
    The Council can write statements about the Code which specify guidelines for certain situations or contexts
  • Germany
    There are guidelines that explain how to apply the general principles. These guidelines are part of the Ethical Code
  • North Macedonia
    The Council has guidelines to explain the code of ethics. An ethical framework for online journalism is in the planning
  • Slovenia
    There are extra explanations/best practices guides on how certain guidelines ought to be implemented

Additional Information, if "No"

  • Switzerland
    The Council maintains guidelines that explain how the general principles should be interpreted