Publication Press codex
Our publication follows international and European best practices. Hence we focus our rules of engagement to be led by the Guidelines for journalistic work as recommended by the German Press Council.
Relevant exert of the German Press codex
The freedom of the Press enshrined in the Basic Law includes the independence and freedom of information, the right of expression and criticism. Publishers, editors and journalists must in their work remain aware of their responsibility towards the public and their duty to uphold the prestige of the Press. They perform their journalistic task fairly, according to the best of their knowledge and belief, uninfluenced by personal interests and motives that have nothing to do with the matter in hand.
The journalistic principles define the professional ethics of the Press. These include the duty within the framework of the Constitution and constitutional laws to maintain the standing of the Press and speak up for the freedom of the Press.
The regulations pertaining to editorial data protection apply to the Press in gathering, processing or using information about persons for journalistic-editorial purposes. From research to editing, publishing, documenting and storing these data, the Press must respect people‘s privacy and right to self-determination on information about them.
These professional ethics give everyone the right to complain about the Press. Complaints are justified if professional ethics are infringed.
This preamble is part of the ethical standards.
GUIDELINE 1.1 – EXCLUSIVE AGREEMENTS
The informing of the public about events which are of general interest and importance for forming of public opinion and intent, must not be restricted or prevented by exclusive agreements with informants or shielding of them. Those who seek a monopoly on information exclude the rest of the Press from acquiring important news and thus impinge upon the freedom of information.
GUIDELINE 1.2 – ELECTION CAMPAIGN REPORTING
Accurate informing of the public during election campaigns includes the Press reporting on opinions that it does not share.
GUIDELINE 1.3 – PRESS RELEASES
Press releases must be identified as such if they are published by the editorial team without any further editing. 3 German Press Code
GUIDELINE 2.1 – OPINION POLL FINDINGS
When publishing the results of opinion polls, the Press shall give the number of respondents, the date of the poll, the identity of the person or organization that commissioned it, and the questions asked. At the same time, it must also state whether the results are representative.
If the institute was not commissioned to carry out the poll, it should be pointed out that it was implemented at the initiative of the institute itself.
GUIDELINE 2.2 – SYMBOLIC PHOTOGRAPHS
If an illustration, especially a photograph, can be taken to be a documentary picture by the casual reader, although it is a symbolic photograph, this must be clarified. For this reason:
- substitute or auxiliary illustrations (i.e. a similar subject at a different time, or a different subject at the same time, etc.),
- symbolic illustrations (reconstructed scenes, arti-ficially visualised events to accompany text, etc.),
- photo-montages or other changes must be clearly marked as such either in the caption or in the accompanying text.
GUIDELINE 2.3 – ADVANCE REPORTS
The Press bears full journalistic responsibility for advance reports published in a compressed form which announce a forthcoming story. Anyone who further distributes advance reports by Press organs by stating the source must, basically, be able to rely on their validity. Abridgments or additions must not lead to a situation where the basic elements of the story are given a new slant or prompt incorrect conclusions which may harm the legitimate interests of third parties.
GUIDELINE 2.4 – INTERVIEWS
A verbatim interview is absolutely journalistic-ally correct if it correctly relays what has been said.
If the text of an interview is quoted in full or in part, the publication concerned must state its source. If the basic content of verbally expressed thoughts is paraphrased, it is nonetheless a matter of journalistic honour to state the source.
GUIDELINE 2.5 – GRAPHIC REPRESENTATIONS
The duty of care requires misleading distortions be excluded in graphical representations.
GUIDELINE 2.6 – READERS‘ LETTERS
(1) The Press Code must be observed when publishing reader’s letters. It is in the interest of informing the public to allow opinions not shared by the editorial team to be expressed in the Reader’s Letters section.
(2) Correspondence with publishers or editorial departments can be printed as readers‘ letters if it is clear, due to their form and content, that this is in accordance with the sender‘s wishes. Consent may be assumed if the letter refers to articles published by the newspaper or magazine concerned or to matters of general interest. The authors of such reader‘s letters have no legal right to have them published.
(3) It is common practice that reader‘s letters are published with the author‘s name. Only in exceptional cases can, at the request of the author, another designation be used. When printing, the Press shall refrain from publishing addresses unless publication of the address serves to respect justified interests. If there is any doubt about the identity of the sender, a letter should not be printed. The publication of fake reader‘s letters is not compatible with the duties of the Press.
(4) Changes or abridgements of letters are fundamentally impermissible without the author‘s consent. However, abridgements are possible if the Readers‘ Letters section contains a regular notice that the editor reserves the right to shorten such letters without changing the meaning of them. Should the sender expressly forbid changes or abridgements, the editorial department must either comply with that wish, even if it has reserved the right to abridgement, or decline to publish the letter.
(5) All reader‘s letters sent to the editor are subject to editorial secrecy. They must never be passed on to third parties.
GUIDELINE 3.1 – REQUIREMENTS
The reader must be able to recognize that the previous article was wholly or partly incorrect. For this reason a correction publishing the true facts must also refer to the incorrect article. The true facts are to be published even if the error has already been publicly admitted in another way.
GUIDELINE 3.2 – DOCUMENTATION
If journalistic-editorial research, processing or use of person-related data results in the Press having to publish corrections, retractions, refutations by the persons concerned or to a reprimand by the German Press Council, the publication involved must store them along with the original data and document them for the same period as the original data.
GUIDELINE 4.1 – PRINCIPLES OF RESEARCH
Journalists must, as a fundamental principle, identify themselves as such. Untrue statements by a journalist about his/her identity and their publication when doing research work are fundamentally irreconcilable with the standing and function of the Press.Undercover research may be justifiable in individual cases if in this way information of particular public interest is gained which cannot be procured by other means.In the event of accidents and natural disasters, the Press must bear in mind that emergency services for the victims and those in danger have priority over the public right to information.
GUIDELINE 4.2 – RESEARCH AMONG PEOPLE REQUIRING PROTECTION
When conducting research among people requiring protection, particular restraint is called for. This applies especially to people who are not in full possession of their mental or physical powers or who have been exposed to an extremely emotional situation, as well as to children and juveniles. The limited willpower or the special situation of such people must not be exploited deliberately to gain information.
GUIDELINE 4.3 – BLOCKING OR DELETION OF PERSONAL DATA
Personal data gathered in violation of the Press Code are to be blocked or deleted by the publication involved.
GUIDELINE 5.1 – CONFIDENTIALITY
Should an informant stipulate, as a condition for the use of his/her report, that he/she remains unrecognizable or unendangered as the source, this is to be respected. Confidentiality can be non-binding only if the information concerns a crime and there is a duty to inform the police. Confidentiality may also be lifted if, in carefully weighing interests, important reasons of state predominate, particularly if the constitutional order is affected or jeopardized.
Actions and plans described as secret may be reported if after careful consideration it is determined that the public‘s need to know outweighs the reasons put forward to justify secrecy.
GUIDELINE 5.2 – SECRET SERVICE ACTIVITIES
Secret service activities by journalists and publishers are irreconcilable with the duties stemming from professional secrecy and the prestige of the Press.
GUIDELINE 5.3 – DATA TRANSFER
All person-related data gathered, processed and used for journalistic-editorial purposes are subject to editorial secrecy. Transfer of such data between editorial departments is permissible. It is not to be done until conclusion of a formal complaint procedure under data protection law. A data transfer is to be annotated with the remark that the data is to be edited or used only for journalistic-editorial purposes.
GUIDELINE 7.1 – DISTINCTION BETWEEN EDITORIAL TEXT AND ADVERTISEMENTS
Paid publications must be so designed that the reader can recognize advertising as such. They can be separated from the editorial section by means of identification and/or design. Furthermore, regulations under advertising law apply.
GUIDELINE 7.2 – SURREPTITIOUS ADVERTISING
Editorial stories that refer to companies, their products, services or events must not overstep the boundary to surreptitious advertising. This risk is especially great if a story goes beyond justified public interest or the reader‘s interest in information or is paid for by a third part or is rewarded by advantages with a monetary value.The credibility of the Press as a source of information demands particular care when handling PR material.
GUIDELINE 7.3 – SPECIAL PUBLICATIONS
Editorial special publications are subject to the same editorial responsibility as all other editorial content. Advertising special publications must respect the requirements of Guideline 7.1.
GUIDELINE 7.4 – ECONOMIC AND FINANCIAL MARKET REPORTING
Journalists and publishers who research or receive information within the context of exercising their profession shall use this information prior to publication only for journalistic purposes and not for their own personal advantage or the personal advantage of others.Journalists and publishers may not publish any reports about securities and/or their issuers with the intention of enriching themselves, their family members or other close persons through the price development of the security in question. They should not buy or sell securities, either directly or through agents, on which they have published something in the previous two weeks or on which they are planning to report in the next two weeks.
Journalists and publishers shall take the necessary measures to ensure compliance with these regulations. Conflicts of interest in drawing up or passing on financial analyses shall be revealed in an appropriate manner.
GUIDELINE 16.1 – CONTENT OF THE PUBLIC REPRIMAND
The reader must be informed of the facts of the reprimanded article and of the journalistic principle the article violated.
GUIDELINE 16.2 – MANNER OF PUBLISHING REPRIMANDS
Reprimands must be published in the publications or telecommunications media in an appropriate form. In telecommunications media the reprimands must be linked to the reprimanded article.