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Code of Professional Practice

It is now widely recognised that media is an essential means to influence the society and impart knowledge and motivation to enable progress both for individuals and society at large. Media entertainment also needs to be ethically and morally sound and relevant as it has great influence on the direction of the society.

It follows that media practitioners of today and tomorrow need to develop their professional competence and understanding to the fullest potential. They have to appreciate the full dimension of their role, to accept responsibility towards their own self-development, as well as that of the audience they serve, and to keep abreast of developments in technology and new approaches in programming. They must also strive to keep in perspective the needs and aspirations of the intended audience.

AbR MEDIA, formerly known as Africa by Radio, has published this code of practice for all studios and radio stations associated with AbR MEDIA commends the code to all practicing in the field of Christians in media.

1. OBJECTIVE
The objective of the code is to define standards of practice for all personnel, both full time as well as part time workers and regular freelancers, associated to a station or studio subscribing to the AbR MEDIA network. It is a guide to follow as providers of media services in their professional relations with their employers, organizations, other media, fellow practitioners, mission agencies, churches, government, audience and the general public.

2. INTRODUCTION
The code of professional practice relates to four aspects of the personnel's behaviour, namely:
2.1 Personal development and behaviour.
2.2 Relations with the employer and/or partner organization and its staff.
2.3 Relations with individuals, the audience and the general public.
2.4 Relations with other organizations and the environment.
2.5. General code of ethical practice of journalism.

3. PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT AND BEHAVIOUR
Practitioners will:
3.1 Work to the highest standards, complying not only with the law but also take into consideration appropriate published codes of practice and media ethics and generally accepted best practice as it affects journalism and media practice.
3.2 Maintain a programme of self-development and keep abreast of changes and developments relevant to the profession. Self-development is recognised as professional, personal and spiritual.
3.3 Conduct their activities with courtesy, integrity, and humanity and respect the dignity and privacy of individuals.
3.4 Accept responsibility for their work and encourage the effective use of resources entrusted to them without seeking undue personal gain, bribes or prestige.
3.5 Demonstrate by personal example and ordered approach, the self-discipline, spirituality and conduct expected of the Christian professional.
3.6 Accept assignments within their own competence or, when required, seek appropriate expertise from properly qualified individuals.
3.7 Act to enhance the credibility and good standing of the profession, and of the employing and/or partnering organization and its workers.
3.8 Accept personal responsibility for assisting younger people to develop in the profession.
3.9 Accept criticism, admit and correct mistakes (when appropriate) and encourage constructive feedback.

4. RELATIONS WITH EMPLOYING AND/OR PARTNER ORGANIZATIONS AND THEIR EMPLOYEES.
Practitioners will:
4.1 Respect the confidentiality of information acquired in the course of duty and refrain from using such confidential information for personal benefit, or in any way that may be detrimental to any employing and/or partnering organization.
4.2 Immediately disclose to the employing or partnering organization any personal interest that may conflict with their interests.
4.3 Act honestly and loyally in carrying out the lawful policy and direction of the employing and/or partner organization, and refrain from damaging its image or reputation.
4.4 Comply with and be subject to the rules of the employing and partnering organizations and the regulations and policies from time to time in force, in order to enhance the integrity and credibility of the profession and the organization.

5. RELATIONS WITH THE AUDIENCE, INDIVIDUALS WITH WHOM PRACTITIONERS INTERACT IN THE COURSE OF PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE.
Practitioners will:
5.1 Strive to establish and maintain relationships with the audience, individuals of the public and subordinates such as will ensure that effective and objective journalism and media practice take place.
5.2 Refrain from discriminating against audience and individuals from prejudice on the grounds of origin, sex, status, age, religion and beliefs or perceived contribution to society, and respect the dignity and privacy of the individual.
5.3 Pay proper regard to the safety and well being of those co-workers and personnel within their responsibility or sphere of influence.
5.4 Refrain from working in any way or relationship that might place the practitioner at risk of accusation of inappropriate behaviour towards individuals of the opposite and/or same sex, especially minors.

6. RELATIONS WITH OTHER ORGANIZATIONS AND THE ENVIRONMENT.
Practitioners will:
6.1 Make clear in any public statement whether they are acting in a personal capacity or representing any organization.
6.2 Be ready to share the results of research and the application of new knowledge and skills relevant to strategic issues, to acknowledge the work of others and to give professional assistance in public affairs.

7. GENERAL CODE OF ETHICAL PRACTICE OF JOURNALISM
Practitioners will follow the general code of ethical practice of journalism including:
7.1 Keep to the truth and only report accurate facts verified by at least two independent sources, seeking to be objective and reflect differing sides of the story.
7.2 Use fair, open and rational methods in gathering information and shall not use false identification, treat, bribes or other unethical methods to gain access to persons or places.
7.3 Refrain from unnecessary intrusion into the private lives of innocent individuals or indecent facts on individual's privacy.
7.4 Shall not exploit the labour by anybody else by plagiarism or through unauthorized use of his/her work for any purpose and always respect laws of copyright and neighbouring rights.

November 2004

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