Internal Code of Conduct

Internal Code of Conduct for members of the “Association of European Journalists –Bulgaria”

1. Preamble:

The following Code of Conduct has been adopted by the General Assembly of the Association of European Journalists – Bulgaria (henceforth AEJ-Bulgaria) on the basis of art. 43, para. 1.11 of its Statue.

The main role of AEJ-Bulgaria is to stimulate the development of professional, independent and modern journalism in Bulgaria. A transparent and well-functioning media environment in conducive not only for journalists and citizens, but also for the democratic development of the country as a whole.

The goal of this Code of Conduct is guarantee and contribute to the adherence to certain ethical principles in the journalistic work. This also includes the writing of journalistic texts and the communication conducted between the members of AEJ-Bulgaria and third parties.

2. Goals

  • To guarantee that AEJ-Bulgaria members follow the organization’s mission of working ethics towards an exemplary and independent journalism, which works in service of society.
  • To guarantee that AEJ-Bulgaria members adhere to the Bulgarian Media Code of Ethics.
  • To guarantee that AEJ-Bulgaria members shall contribute to the protection and improvement of AEJ-Bulgaria’s reputation in accordance with the organization’s values.
  • To guarantee and safeguard AEJ-Bulgaria’s interests and that members adhere to the organization’s autonomy while standing against circumstances which compromise the principles of independence, objectivity, bravery and responsibility, which lay at the cornerstone of independent journalism.

3. General standards applicable to AEJ-Bulgaria members:

  • To strive to be objective in their work and to protect the public interest.
    To adhere to the principle of political impartiality and to avoid showing political prejudice in their work as journalists.
  • Not to accept payments in the organization’s name, which could compromise the public image of the association and/or undermine its identity or autonomy.
  • To refuse any offer of compensation or financial gain from persons, which might seek a favorable opinion from AEJ-Bulgaria or are after actions which would violate the statute of AEJ-Bulgaria.

4. Standards with regard to public representation and public speaking in the name of AEJ-Bulgaria

  • Information regarding AEJ-Bulgaria may only be announced publically by persons authorized to do so.
  • If members of the organization plan to speak publically, in conferences or in front of the media in the name of AEJ-Bulgaria, they shall first notify the of AEJ-Bulgaria’ Executive Board.
  • The Executive Board of AEJ-Bulgaria decides whether and how to authorize organization members to speak publically on politics, plans, official statements, positions etc. while taking under consideration the member’s level of expertise.
  • AEJ-Bulgaria members shall not cast aspersions on the organization as well as spread misinformation.
  • AEJ-Bulgaria members have to conduct themselves professionally while in contact with other members, representatives of other media and third parties.
  • While speaking publically in the name of AEJ-Bulgaria, members have to avoid criticizing the activities of other organizations so long as this criticism is not constructive and backed up by explicit evidence.
  • AEJ-Bulgaria members are free to discuss publically their own work and the work of third parties, as long as they do not express their position in the name of the organization, their comments do not damage the reputation, values or Code of Conduct of the organization, as well as the ethical standards of journalism.

5. Confidentiality standards

  • AEJ-Bulgaria members cannot divulge confidential information with regards to projects, policies, the contents of internal discussions or any other information concerning the association, its members or its Executive Board.
  • All financial information regarding the organization’s activities is considered confidential. This excludes reports specifically written for the public or third parties, as well as those required by the legal authorities or contractual partners.
  • AEJ-Bulgaria members shall not use any type of confidential information with the intent of self-interest or benefit.

6. Regulations for internal communication

Communication in AEJ-Bulgaria is based on respect, solidarity initiative and cooperation. AEJ-Bulgaria members are required to:

  1. To adhere to mutual consideration and respect regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, religion or marital status.
  2. To communicate and consult among each other openly and in a way, which is conducive to fulfilling their duties morally and effectively.
  3. To exchange ideas and experience with other members and partners.
  4. To encourage the exchange of ideas and resources.
  5. To encourage teamwork, team spirit and cooperation.
  6. To resolve conflicts in mutual agreement and to avoid open conflict.
  7. To teach each other and maintain an environment conducive of professional growth.
  8. To be open to constructive discussion and adhere to ethical norms.

While communicating among each other, members obligate themselves NOT to employ:

  1. Content which insults, harasses or threatens other discussion members
    Content which serves illegal activities.
  2. Content which infringes on foreign intellectual property.
  3. Pornographic, uncensored, obscene or illegal content.
  4. Advertisements or any form of commercial activity.
  5. Content aimed at political upheaval.
  6. Content which is purposefully false or published with the intent of deceiving others.

7. Principle of Equality

  • The Chairperson and the Executive Board of AEJ-Bulgaria shall treat all members equally and assign them tasks on the basis of their qualifications, experience and working schedule, as well as the results which have to be achieved. Members should accept only tasks for which they are completely capable and qualified. AEJ-Bulgaria members do not foster unsubstantiated expectations with regard to the organization among potential members, beneficiaries, donors and other third parties.
  • AEJ-Bulgaria commits to a safe work environment, free of all forms of discrimination. All candidates have an equal opportunity of membership and all current members have an equal opportunity of advancement in their related professional fields.
  • AEJ-Bulgaria offers equal opportunities to all its staff and members regardless of their race, skin colour, gender, religion, age, marital status, disability, sexual orientation or nationality.

8. Conflict of interests

  • Every member of AEJ-Bulgaria shall declare that he/she avoid any potential, real or foreseeable conflict of interests which might arise from his/her AEJ-Bulgaria membership.
  • No member of AEJ-Bulgaria can take on public duties or office which might lead to a conflict of interests with AEJ-Bulgaria.
  • In their role as representatives of AEJ-Bulgaria, members and the Executive Board are barred from campaigning for or against any given political party or its candidates, as well as from gathering donations for their political campaign or agenda.