UAE media adopts code of conduct

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Dubai Oct 3: Editors of leading Arabic and English newspapers in the UAE have signed the Charter of Honour and Code of Ethics, reiterating their commitment to a responsible media which will adhere to credibility, accuracy and unbiased nature of news content.

The 26-article document defines the rules and ethics of the journalistic profession was drafted to conjure a favourable environment for the freedom of Press in the country after the keenness of countries political leadership to ensure the same.

''The Press community highly values the directives by President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa bin Zayed al Nahyan for offering all forms of support to journalists so as to assume their duties in serving the nation,'' said Mohammed Yusouf, Chairman of the UAE Journalists' Association (UAEJA).

He also praised the decision of His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai, for ruling out imprisonment of journalists for matters related to their professional duties.

''As these instructions provide enough room of freedom of the press, they will put additional responsibility on journalists with regard to commitment to the Code of Ethics,'' Mr Yusouf was qouted as saying to Khaleej Times.

The role of the National Media Council and its chairman Foreign Minister Shaikh Abdullah bin Zayed al Nahyan was also appreciated in devising the Code of Ethics.

''Journalists should keep in mind the principles of integrity in gathering and publishing stories and also voicing fair and neutral comments and criticisms,'' he added.

Only legitimate means to obtain information, photographs and documents from genuine sources and at the same time should respect the privacy of the individuals concerned, he cautioned.

With regard to the source of news, both the charter and the code emphasise that professionalism and confidentiality must be strictly observed if the source demands anonymity.

''Journalists should not seek to provoke or inflame public feelings, and must strictly refrain from the use of media organs for purpose of libel or slander,'' Mr Yusouf said.

Journalists should be seen as respecting Human rights and values and should not be abused by the media under any pretext, the document states.

The charter describes plagiarism, ill-intention interpretation, libel, slander, censure, defamation, allegation and bribery as dangerous violations. Accepting gratification is considered breach of the code, Mr Yusouf concluded.


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