15.12.2011 - UNESCO Port-au-Prince

Haiti’s media adopt code of ethics with UNESCO’s support

©UNESCO/M. BenchelahJournalists at a press conference in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

Port-au-Prince, 14 December - The media associations and journalists in Haiti have signed a code of ethics to define the rights and duties of the Haitian press. It was signed on 8 December at UNESCO’s office in Port-au-Prince. This is the first time a code of ethics has been adopted by the media in Haiti.

UNESCO facilitated a participatory process to develop the code of ethics with leaders of journalists’ associations, media owners and reporters in attendance.  It took a long series of meetings to reach consensus.

The code includes 22 items in a set of ethical guidelines for the media and journalists.  It includes respect for human dignity and privacy, rejection of discrimination, and the presumption of innocence for defendants. The guidelines also state that the media and journalists should refuse to report hatred and confrontation, and encourage instead balanced treatment of information, especially at election time.

The code of ethics also addresses rumors, and states that "facts or opinions that are distorted, exaggerated or even invented" should not be covered by the media. It makes a fundamental distinction between information and advertising and bans media and journalists from receiving gratuities or gifts that could compromise their impartiality. In addition, the code encourages journalists to “constantly refine and master the techniques they need to better exercise their profession. Officials of the media should encourage journalists to take part in all forms of training for their profession."

Finally, the code addresses issues such as gender stereotypes. “The media and journalists should make sure that they reflect the intellectual and emotional equality of men and women, and should encourage the participation of women in the media, including positions of responsibility.”

UNESCO hopes that the adoption of this code by all media organizations and journalists in Haiti will mark an important step towards self-regulation of the press - necessary for its proper functioning and participation in the democratic life of the country.

The signatories to the code of ethics are: Max Chauvet, President of the National Association of Media in Haiti (ANMH) Marc Garcia, President of the Association of Independent Media of Haiti (Amichai), Jacques Desrosiers, Secretary General of the Association of Haitian Journalists (AJH ) Guyler Delva, Secretary General of SOS Journalists Association; Marie Guyrleine Justin, Director of the Women's Network of Community Radios (REFRAKA) Jean-Jacques Augustin, Coordinator of the Union of Journalists Photographers Haitians (UNJPH) Sony Esteus, CEO of the Society for Animation and Social Communication (SAKS) and Gotson Pierre, Coordinator of Médialternatif.

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Contact : UNESCO Office in Port-au-Prince

Tel : +(509) 29 40 04 60/61/62/63

Email : portauprince@unesco.org




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