Economic journalists have an important role to play in the socioeconomic development of the country. Keeping this notion in mind and by strictly following the code of ethics formulated by the Nepal Press Council in our professional life, the Society of Economic Journalists – Nepal (SEJON) has introduced the Code of Ethics for Economic Journalists – 2073 to further strengthen economic journalism and usher in a sense of responsibility and accountability in the sector.
(a) The title of this code of ethics shall be ‘Code of Ethics for Economic Journalists – 2073’.
(b) This code of ethics shall come into effect immediately.
(c) This code of ethics shall be applicable to all members of SEJON.
Unless and until the subject or context states otherwise, in this code of ethics –
(a) ‘Economic journalist’ shall refer to any Nepali citizen who is involved in collecting news, writing articles or editing stories related to the economic sector or any freelance writer who writes on economic issues and has their articles published in any mass media on a regular basis.
(b) ‘Media’ shall refer to any Nepali newspapers, magazines, radio and television broadcasts, news agency and internet news. It shall also refer to any organization or service that is involved in producing online information or programs with news value.
(c) SEJON shall refer to Society of Economic Journalists – Nepal.
(a) Publication of facts and information: An economic journalist must publish stories based on facts and figures with the source of information clearly mentioned and the features must be subject-based and coherent.
(b) Respect to confidentiality: The personal and professional confidentiality shall be respected and maintained unless and until it is of grave concern or against the general public.
(c) Prominent professional practice: A high-level degree of professional practice must be adhered to and responsibilities must be carried out by keeping in mind the basic principles and fundamentals of journalism. An economic journalist must also be unbiased when publishing any news and must also lay emphasis on their responsibility and credibility.
(d) Cordial manner: During any professional assignment an economic journalist must respect the social norms and use cordial language and behave impeccably. An economic journalist must also work ethically and in a courteous manner.
(e) Responsibility towards the nation: It is important to pay heed to not publish or broadcast any news that could be against the accepted norms and values of society, or that could hurt the unity of the country or could be a danger to the security of the nation. Utmost care must also be taken not to publish or broadcast any news that could be directly detrimental to public health or could hurt the consumers. No news that is against the nation’s prevailing laws and regulations must be published or broadcast.
(f) Transparency: Economic journalists must keep transparency in mind when preparing any news, feature, article or documentary. Economic journalists must also be aware of and try avoiding a situation of conflict of interest.
(4.1) An economic journalist must avoid any activity that is contrary to the professional responsibility, unbiasedness or confidentiality that media or media personalities need to adhere to. No information that has news value shall be used for commercial purposes. Besides the information that is disseminated for publication if an economic journalist has received any economic or commercial information while gathering news and that has not been published then that information shall not be used for any person’s benefit.
(4.2) Economic journalists must not collect news for personal benefit or to benefit/harm any third party. If any information is being collected for academic purposes then the source must be clearly informed of that purpose.
(4.3) While collecting information for news, articles or features, economic journalists must not do so on the influence of a third person or in a predetermined manner. Even the accused has to be provided the opportunity to clarify themselves.
(4.4) Economic journalists must not give rise to the trend of working as a correspondent in multiple organizations. However, economic journalist can make contributions as academia or consultants.
(4.5) If there is an embargo on any news or information then such information shall not be published until the embargo is over.
(4.6) Economic journalists shall not be allowed to write news, features or articles about any private or public institution in which they directly or their family members have share ownership as per prevailing laws. Economic journalists shall not pass on any information that they receive regarding the stock-price movement of any company that they are reporting on to any family member or acquaintance. Economic journalists shall also not buy or sell shares based on such confidential information.
(4.7) Economic journalists shall not misuse their position as a journalist to deal in any kind of commercial activity and also shall not expect any special discount or facility.
(4.8) Economic journalists shall not solicit shares or partnerships on pledges that some information shall or shall not be published or broadcast.
(4.9) Except when on official purpose to collect information, economic journalists need to be cautious about attending any party or function organized by any organization for their personal benefit. Especially in such functions, economic journalists must be aware of not participating in any activity that is detrimental to the reputation of the profession.
(4.10) Except for the benefit of journalism or some social cause, economic journalists shall not directly or indirectly participate in or promote any commercial business by wearing any company’s authorized attire, or use the company logo or any advertisement material.
(4.11) Economic journalists shall not use their press identity card to gain any favor except when on reporting duty.
(4.12) Economic journalists shall not use their influence to get any person appointed or transferred in any government or private sector organization or to help any such employee get benefits.
(4.13) Economic journalists shall not play the role of a mediator or facilitator to help any commercial organization in expanding its network or for it to make commercial profit.
(4.14) Economic journalists shall not seek monetary gains from the concerned sources when writing news and features or while making documentaries. When producing any sponsored feature or documentary the editor-in-chief of the respective news organization must be informed about the status of the feature or documentary. Also it should be clearly mentioned in the news or documentary that it is a sponsored production.
(4.15) Economic journalists shall not accept any monetary fund except the fund granted by organizations as fellowships while collecting information for news, articles, features or documentaries. While still engaged professionally as a journalist, economic journalists shall not accept special treatment.
(4.16) It is important to pay heed to not publish or broadcast any news that could be against the accepted norms and values of society, or that could hurt the unity of the country or could be a danger to the security of the nation. Utmost care must also be taken not to publish or broadcast any news that could be directly detrimental to public health or could hurt the consumers. No news that is against the nation’s prevailing laws and regulations must be published or broadcast.
(4.17) Economic journalists shall not have any direct dealings with any news source. The involvement of economic journalists in any business or sector with temporary gains must not affect the trustworthiness and dignity of the profession and such involvement must not lead the economic journalist to be biased in their reporting
(4.18) Economic journalists must always reveal their identity when they visit any place to gather information to write any news or features or to make any documentary. The act of not revealing one’s identity must be discouraged.
(4.19) When publishing news about any company or organization the facts and figures must be cross-verified and no news shall be published or broadcast without clearly mentioning the source of the information.
(4.20) Economic journalists must always be alert so that the information they receive is genuine and legitimate. If any wrong information is inadvertently published or broadcast then a corrigendum must be published and if possible the genuine information must be disseminated and there should be no financial dealings when doing so.
(4.21) Economic journalists shall not accept any offers for a foreign trip whereby the journalist has to compromise with the news directly or publish wrong information. However, economic journalists can go abroad for skill development or through fellowships granted by organizations. When going on such trips the concerned journalist must inform the editor or news chief about the foreign trip.
(4.22) If any news agency is established or promoted through the direct involvement of economic journalists then the source of investment must be transparent. No fund that has been gotten through illegal means shall be invested in such agencies to turn that black money into white money. If any news agency with direct involvement of an economic journalist receives foreign investment of foreign grant then it should be done based on the Nepal’s prevailing laws.
(4.23) When publishing news about development programs being operated by donor agencies or I/NGOs then news, features or advertisements that could bring about communal tensions or gender violence or which discriminate against differently-abled people must not be promoted. Issues that could increase the socioeconomic gap among people must also be discouraged.
(4.24) Substances like alcohol, tobacco products and narcotics, which are a grave danger to public health, must not be published or promoted. If the news, article or feature is related to the abovementioned substances then care must be taken not to glorify it whereby it could encourage the people towards them.
(4.25) News related to schemes that are introduced to increase the market of certain products must not be combined with advertisements. Economic journalists must not be involved in sales or marketing. Economic journalists must not be biased in their writing based on whether or not the concerned party has placed an advertisement in the respective economic journalist’s organization.