Ethical Charter for Syrian Media Alliance

Introduction:
As media is playing a very important role in formulating public opinion, monitoring and accountability. In addition, its role in revealing the truth objectively and in a professional way. Where the Syrian Media did not follow in decades. As a part of the efforts that are aiming to regulate the media process, which has been evolved constantly and fast specially after the public movement started in March 2011. Due to this movement many media institution came to life. Due to the absence of inclusive laws to regulate media performance, an urgent need has arisen for a binding charter to which the signatories ethically adhere.
Based on the above, the undersigned, who are a group of independent Syrian media outlets, after much discussion and the presentation of various views, reached agreement among themselves over a host of principles forming a charter that helps establish a state of balance and stability for the Syrian society’s benefit and development. They hope that all those to whom this charter applies will respect its provisions and adhere to them. They called it a “charter of honour”.

1.Article 1: The definition of media according to the charter

Media is a profession and a mission that concerns in publishing and conveying the truth to the public with freedom, impartiality, sincerity, and without prejudice.

2.Article 2: The definition of the media personnel:

According to the charter media personnel are the personnel who are practicing media through producing and establishing a media content in all its forms and types as individual or as a part of her/his media institution.

3.Article 3: Charter's Inclusion

This charter applies to all those who work in the media sector, individuals, groups, firms, societies, and clubs in addition, the employees who assist them in preparing written and audio-visual media materials or any other form of expression through all publication methods.

4.Article 4: Charter’s references and principles

A. This charter relies on the principles of general ethics enshrined in international charters, declarations, and conventions. These principles chiefly but not exclusively are accuracy, truthfulness, credibility of information; objectivity and honesty. The charter also relies on commitment to independency during the media coverage, respect for the truth and the freedom of expression.
Also considering the balance, fairness, and pluralism; supporting the various components of society to give them the opportunity to express their views in the media; either by responding to or correcting the published material, whether it is news, a reportage, or a picture that was bound to offend them.
B. Media personnel and media outlet (whom this charter applies to) should not subject to a government and political organizations. They should respect people’s privacy, individuals and groups, and their right to obtain information. They should not discriminate among people based on religion, sect, ethnicity, language, gender, culture, or colour. They also should respect freedom of thought, belief, and expression; and strengthen participation and communication between the media outlet and the public.
C. The media personnel should keen to be more ethical, professional, and sincerely credible and honest during his/her work. She/he should distinguish between the media material and publishing personal opinions to avoid confusion and to allow the recipient, out of respect, to form her/his own opinion.

5.Article 5: The ethical obligations of the media personnel

A. The media personnel during implementing his/her work have to respect the announced Arabic and international covenants and conventions, especially which related to the respect of the human dignity, protecting the right of special need people, and incompetent persons due to health or legal reasons. The media worker should be more cautious while working on stories about children and minors, while also he/she should mention the warnings related to children during her/his coverage, specifically those that the children human rights conventions mentioned them.
B. The media personnel should not publish any material that encourages to committing a crime, provoke for violence, sectarian, ethnic, or territorial incitement, family disintegration, violence against women, or human trafficking. She/he should seeks to promote to civil and international peace, and justice.
C. The media personnel should commit to the following during implementing his/her work:
– Seeks and searches for the truth and convey facts honestly without disregarding or truncating information.
– Demonstrate professional integrity, act based on the interest of the public, and try to make sure that the public interest overcomes the media institution interests, or Her/his personal interest.
– Respect privacy, and do no harm to any individuals or institution due to publishing journalistic materials. Respect their desire, or their families’ not revealing their names or addresses for moral or security reasons.
4. Make no prejudgments, and ensure accuracy and clarity in terms and expressions used in the press coverage.
– Do not exploit the social, humanitarian and economic situation in the coverage areas.
– Should Mention the sources of information accurately, in case of concealing such information, and protecting the eyewitnesses, and tell their ID, the media personnel should explain the reasons unless there are some legal necessities.
– Do not publish pictures and videos that harm the dignity and sanctity of victims (dead or wounded people).
-Respect copyrights and mention the sources when quoted.
-Inform the public about cases in which the authorities hide part of the information when the concealment of this information results in harm to the public interest.
-Distinguish between press material and advertisement, publicity, and sponsored material, and refrain from promoting a product, a policy, or a group by presenting the material as press material or news.
-Avoid contempt and libel against individuals, groups, establishments, and/or groups.

6.Article 6: Signatories' solidarity

The signatories to this charter will demonstrate solidarity with any media personnel who faces any violation or threat, particularly if this violation or threat comes because of commitment to the provisions of this charter.

7.Article 7: Advocacy

This charter call all Syria media personnel to sign and adhere to its provisions.

8.Article 8: Commitment to the charter

The signatories to this charter shall be committed to all its provisions. An independent committee will follow up this commitment.