1.1. The freedom of speech and press is a fundamental prerequisite for democracy. A free and independent press, radio, television and Internet media mean observing human rights and guaranteeing the democratic development of society.
1.2. It is the duty of journalists to defend the freedom of speech and press. Journalists do not yield before any influence that hinders the free flow of information or open debates about any socially important issue.
1.3. It is the duty of journalists to ensure that the public receives complete information about processes and events. Journalists support a diverse exchange of views, as well as analytical and critical positions about political, economic and judicial power, thus defending the rights of society and individuals.
The duties of journalists
2.1. The primary duty for a journalist is to provide true and tested information to the public.
2.2. The facts in the content produced by a journalist must be objective, clear and without any falsification or misleading aspects.
2.3. Journalists must ensure a diversity of opinions even if the opinions are not acceptable to the journalist.
2.4. Journalists collect and use photographs, audio and video recordings and documents only to handle their professional duties.
2.5. Journalists do not prepare advertising or offer public relations services.
2.6. Journalists keep news and analysis apart from commentary and viewpoints.
2.7. Journalists must avoid any mention of a person’s ethnicity, nationality, profession, political beliefs, religious views or sexual orientation if these details are not important in the context, particularly if the mention of such facts can seem offensive.
The relationship between journalists and sources
3.1. Journalists have no right to disclose sources of information without their agreement.
3.2. Journalists are obliged to examine the information that come from sources.
3.3. Journalists must observe the rights of children when using them as sources of information.
3.4. Journalists must not identify the victims of sexual crimes.
3.5. Journalists must avoid the use of anonymous sources in published materials. When doing so, the journalist must undertake responsibility for the truth of the information and, if possible, explain the reason for anonymity.
3.6. When communicating with sources of information, journalists must identify themselves. Exceptions are possible if publicly important information cannot be obtained otherwise or the journalist is engaging in an experiment.
The independence of the work of journalists
4.1. Journalists may not be officials in political parties. If a journalist is standing for election, he or she must halt his or her professional work.
4.2. Journalists may not be involved in organisations that may hinder their ability to do their job.
4.3. Journalists may not accept gifts, services or benefits as compensation for media content from people who are not their employers.
4.4. Journalists must refuse to produce materials that create a conflict of interest in relations with individuals or political, economic or other interest groups.
Relations among journalists
5.1. Journalists must resolve differences of opinion with a professional honest discussion.
5.2. Journalists must support one another if representatives of political and economic power try to influence their work.
5.3. Journalists must respect each other’s work, avoid plagiarism and always indicate that the content from another media outlet is being quoted.
A mechanism to oversee the Code of Ethics
6.1. When joining the Latvian Association of Journalists (LŽA), a journalist must sign its Code of Ethics, thus confirming that he or she will observe its requirements.
6.2. The LŽA Code of Ethics is not legally binding and is a collection of ethical behaviour norms that has been voluntarily accepted by professionals.
6.3. Violations of the Code of Ethics are reviewed by the LŽA Ethics Commission.