Independent media is more important than ever.
Canadians deserve truthful, fair, accurate, neutral and balanced reports about our country and its governments.
The Independent Press Gallery of Canada believes that media outlets and journalists cannot remain neutral and balanced if they receive funding from the government. We believe this is a fundamental conflict of interest, and one that results in biased reporting and a lack of truth and accountability in the media. As such, we limit our membership to journalists and organizations who pledge to not accept grants and bailout funding from the government.
Independent Press Gallery of Canada’s Declaration of Principles of Conduct for Journalists
The Independent Press Gallery of Canada (IPG) bases its Principles of Conduct on the International Federation of Journalists’ (IFJ) Bordeaux Declaration. The Bordeaux Declaration was first adopted in 1954 by the IFJ’s World Congress, amended in 1986 and completed in 2019. These principles form the bedrock of quality and ethical journalism, and all members of the Independent Press Gallery of Canada must pledge to respect and abide by these principles.
The Charter is based on major texts of international law, in particular the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It contains 16 articles plus a preamble and defines journalists’ duties and rights regarding ethics.
The right of everyone to have access to information and ideas, reiterated in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, underpins the journalist’s mission. The journalist’s responsibility towards the public takes precedence over any other responsibility, in particular towards their employers and the public authorities. Journalism is a profession, which requires time, resources and the means to practise – all of which are essential to its independence. This international declaration specifies the guidelines of conduct for journalists in the research, editing, transmission, dissemination and commentary of news and information, and in the description of events, in any media whatsoever.
- Respect for the facts and for the right of the public to truth is the first duty of the journalist.
- In pursuance of this duty, the journalist shall at all times defend the principles of freedom in the honest collection and publication of news, and of the right of fair comment and criticism. He will make sure to clearly distinguish factual information from commentary and criticism.
- The journalist shall report only in accordance with facts of which he knows the origin. The journalist shall not suppress essential information or falsify any document. He will be careful to reproduce faithfully statements and other material that non-public persons publish in social media.
- The journalist shall use only fair methods to obtain information, images, documents and data and he will always report his status as a journalist and will refrain from using hidden recordings of images and sounds, except where it is impossible for him to collect information that is overwhelmingly in the public interest. He will demand free access to all sources of information and the right to freely investigate all facts of public interest.
- The notion of urgency or immediacy in the dissemination of information shall not take precedence over the verification of facts, sources and/or the offer of a reply.
- The journalist shall do the utmost to rectify any errors or published information which is found to be inaccurate in a timely, explicit, complete and transparent manner.
- The journalist shall observe professional secrecy regarding the source of information obtained in confidence.
- The journalist will respect privacy. He shall respect the dignity of the persons named and/or represented, and will inform the interviewee whether the conversation and other material is intended for publication. He shall show particular consideration to inexperienced and vulnerable interviewees.
- Journalists shall ensure that the dissemination of information or opinion does not contribute to hatred or prejudice and shall do their utmost to avoid facilitating the spread of discrimination on grounds such as geographical, social or ethnic origin, race, gender, sexual orientation, language, religion, disability, political and other opinions.
- The journalist will consider serious professional misconduct to be:
- distortion of facts
- slander, libel, defamation, unfounded accusations
- The journalist shall refrain from acting as an auxiliary of the police or other security services. He will only be required to provide information already published in a media outlet.
- The journalist will show solidarity with his professional colleagues, without renouncing his freedom of investigation, duty to inform and right to engage in criticism, commentary, satire and editorial choice.
- The journalist shall not use the freedom of the press to serve any other interest and shall refrain from receiving any unfair advantage or personal gain because of the dissemination or non-dissemination of information. He will avoid — or put an end to — any situation that could lead him to a conflict of interest in the exercise of his profession. He will avoid any confusion between his activity and that of advertising or propaganda. He will refrain from any form of insider trading and market manipulation.
- The journalist will not undertake any activity or engagement likely to put his independence in danger. He will, however, respect the methods of collection/dissemination of information that he has freely accepted, such as “off the record,” anonymity or embargo, provided that these commitments are clear and unquestionable.
- Journalists worthy of the name shall deem it their duty to observe faithfully the principles stated above. They may not be compelled to perform a professional act or to express an opinion that is contrary to his/her professional conviction or conscience.
- Within the general law, the journalist shall recognize in matters of professional honour, the jurisdiction of independent self-regulatory bodies open to the public, to the exclusion of every kind of interference by governments or others.
Independent Press Gallery of Canada: Additional Principle of Conduct
- The journalist will remain independent from the government and refrain from accepting funding from any level of government.