This code of ethical standards of the publications of newspapers has been compiled by the Association of Information and Communication Media with the commitment to adopt it as a standard work frame for all our associates and everyone involved in those publications (advertisers, advertising agencies, designers, suppliers and others) in order to:
- Promote the good relations and fair competition among publications dedicated to free press and digital media, both among themselves and in relation to other advertising media and newspapers.
- Develop an increased sense of responsibility towards the readers, as potential consumers of products or services they advertise and spread information of.
- Counterpart the potential abuse of advertising when it does not comply with the established rules and customs.
- Bring cohesion to the free press sector and to promote a sense of partnership towards achieving the objectives of the industry.
The ones responsible for observing these rules are:
- The advertiser for whom the ads are made.
- The people or publicists who design the advertisement.
- The media that publishes or distributes the advertisement or article.
- The journalists and the people who write the story or article.
Regarding the journalistic activity
This is not a code for journalists, because the association agrees to comply with the contents of their own code of ethics, neither it is a code for advertisers, because that industry also has specific rules. This is our own code intended to guide the type of publication which combines all three activities: publishing, journalism and advertising.
In order to achieve a smooth practice and so as to avoid conflicts with other groups, the following criteria shall be considered:
- Freedom of expression and the right to information are fundamental rights recognized in the Spanish Constitution. These rights shall always prevail for as long as they respect individual privacy.
- These publications and the journalists working for them, shall kept the professional secrecy respecting their fonts of information and secrets. They shall not disclose the names of informants unless there is legal authorization.
- The following activities are prohibited: slander, accusations, defamation, insults and plagiarism.
- These publications are obliged to rectify, as soon as possible, any incorrect or inaccurate information, as well as to grant the right of reply or correction to anyone who requests it.
- The reporters and editors shall always safeguard the right that every person has to their privacy, private life and family.
- The right to freedom of information and expression of the reporter also includes the right to comment and criticism.
- The journalists and publications shall not show any discrimination towards anyone on grounds of race, colour, sex, religion, opinion, national origin, etc... We shall always respect the constitutional presumption of innocence.
- In the exercise of their profession, the journalists can not do any advertising or publicity activity related to personal or commercial interests.
- In the writing of the articles, the journalists shall always respect the copyright and credit their sources of information. The reporter is responsible for all the material published.
- Whenever possible, the journalists should always check the accuracy of their information sources. The news, rumours and other unconfirmed reports shall be clearly presented as such. The reporter must make a clear distinction between what is news and what is a personal comment (opinion or interpretation) to avoid confusion.
In relation to advertising activity
Advertising is a tool available to businesses and vendors to arouse interest for their products and services. In this process, some practices of the seller may sometimes oppose the legitimate interests of the community. In cases where there is a conflict of interest, we must first protect the interests of the public to gain their trust.
Advertising has a responsibility towards the consumer. We understand that the success of advertising depends on public trust and we must not allow advertising practices that may reduce that trust. Based on this purpose, we have established the following sets of rules:
1. Rules of behaviour towards consumers
-Advertising must tell the truth and avoid distorting the facts or mislead the public through innuendo or omissions. That is why it is based on respect for the General Law on Advertising, the code of the AAP and other national and international standards that may be published on the advertising practice. Exaggerations leading to the deception of consumers must be avoided, with special attention to medical and health products. We should consider advertising that respects the content of the law, as well as the moral and ethical senses.
-The ads must not take advantage of the public’s superstition or credulity. Such ads may lead to a loss of prestige for both the advertising and advertisers and the publications. In this sense, the publications agree to respect the Law of Consumers and Users.
- The use of illegal, unfair and deceptive advertising is prohibited, in accordance with the provisions of laws and directives of the European Union.
2. Rules of behaviour among advertisers
- Advertising methods that can create confusion in the minds of consumers between the products and services should not be used: the imitation of the trademark or the name of the competitor, its packaging or labels, or other advertising methods such as illustrations, texts, slogans or scenarios, etc… are not allowed.
- References to discredit any product, service or company are not allowed, so as to ensure free competition in equilibrium.
3. For advertising agencies and media
- The associated publications agree to full transparency with respect to rates, circulation and distribution in order to have objective information to define joint objectives.
- Publishers, advertisers, advertising agencies, media, magazines, journalists and contributors should avoid discrediting their competitors in order to foster good relations with all those who come into contact with who belong to the same sector of communication (advertisers, advertising agencies and media brokers).
- The advertising rates of our associated journals will be published clearly and completely, as well as the applicable discounts to the various classifications of advertising. Each publication is responsible for the accuracy of the distributed information.
- The members of the AMIC agree to recognize the data of their publications and to provide evidence of these figures. This obliges them to be audited by an accredited body such as Información y control de publicaciones, S.A. (Former OJD)
- The associated publications undertake not to carry out acts of unfair competition between them, and agree to cooperate with the association to achieve the maximum common goals and to help foster a climate of trust between them.
- The associated publications respect the intellectual property and authorship of newspaper creations, photography, advertising, design, etc... As a means to show respect for the creators as well as because plagiarism can mislead the public, and this might lead to damage the advertiser.
- The publications agree to strictly comply with the current legislation on issues that affect them directly.
The compliance with this code is assumed by the organizations, publishers and associated members, and to this end we established the creation of a supervisory board to ensure the compliance with the principles of professional ethics and standards contained in this Code of Ethics.
This Code of Ethics was adopted in Gerona on 1st April 2000.