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Journalists sign a Charter of Ethics

By Londa Mindiashvili
Monday, December 7
On December 4 the Constituent Assembly of the Association of Georgian Journalists was held. The Journalistic Charter of Ethics, which has been in preparation for 20 months, was signed by 138 journalists who thereby agreed to observe eleven basic professional principles. A Charter Commission, which will monitor the observance of this Charter by its signatories, was also elected and a further three persons were elected to regulate the work of this body.

About a hundred Georgian journalists, media experts and lawyers and European experts worked on the text of the charter, whose principles are based on the concepts of objectivity and fairness. The eleven principles of the charter are that journalists should respect the truth and the public's right to receive correct information. Journalists should not be forced to write things they believe are incorrect. Journalists must give only confirmed information and not falsify documents. They should also use honest methods to obtain documents, photographs and information. The media is to be held responsible for correcting incorrect information. Journalists have a moral responsibility to not divulge the source of confidential information, must protect children’s rights and must realise the danger of the encouragement of discrimination by the media. Journalists must also respect people’s private lives.

The initiator of the Charter, journalist Ia Antadze, said that everyone who signed the Charter of Ethics accepted responsibility before Georgian society to uphold the principles enshrined in it. The Charter Commission elected would address any complaints from the public. Antadze also explained that these principles will raise the public's confidence in journalists and the Georgian media’s self-regulation mechanisms.

“4 December was a very important day, because after a year and half of work we presented the Charter and elected the Charter Commission, which is staffed with brave and honest journalists. I am very pleased with the results, I could not dream that there would be such a good membership of the Charter Commission. The chosen journalists are representatives of highly rated and reliable media sources. They are people who can take professionally correct decisions and they are brave; they can tell the truth boldly,” Ia Antadze told The Messenger.

The Charter Commission elected by the signatories consists of nine members, three from Tbilisi, Nino Zuriashvili, Eliso Chapidze, Lika Chakhunashvili and 6 from the regions, Eter Turadze, Maia Metskhvarishvili, Khatuna Gogashvili, Tedo Jorbenadze, Merab Merkviladze and Irakli Absnadze. The Monitoring Commission which will oversee this body's work consists of Ia Mamaladze, Ia Bobokhidze and Ramaz Samkharadze.

This project is financed by the European Union.