Mass Communications Law

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Codes of ethics

Professional codes of conduct or codes of ethics developed by media organizations tend to have common themes, especially with a given discipline. For example, the two codes of ethics for journalists, the SPJ and the RTDNA codes (linked below), identify a number of core principles. This include truth, independence, respect for others, disclosure and accountability.

It is also noteworthy that the PRSSA code for public relations practitioners speaks of "core values." Among these are "truthful information," "open communication," "avoiding conflicts of interest" and protecting confidence and client privacy. The AAF code is very brief and places truth at the top. The table below shows how even across fields, media organizations tend to gravitate toward the same values.

Truth Truthful information Truth
Independence Avoid conflicts of interest  
Respect for others Protect confidential information Only expert testimonials
Full Disclosure Open communication, reveal sponsors Substantiate claims
Accountability Report violations to authority Explicit warranties

Where to find the codes.