The Canon of Journalism
The Canon of Journalism (Adopted on June 21, 2000)
Aware afresh of the important mission of newspapers on the threshold of the 21st century, and pledging their continued effort toward an affluent and peaceful future, members of Nihon Shinbun Kyokai (The Japan Newspaper Publishers and Editors Association) have formulated this new Canon of Journalism.
The public's right to know is a universal principle that sustains a democratic society. That right cannot be ensured without the existence of media, operating with the guarantee of freedom of speech and expression, while being totally committed to a high moral standard and fully independent. Member newspapers resolve to retain their role as the fittest standard-bearers in this regard.
In a modern society flooded with a vast amount of information, the public is constantly required to make correct and swift decisions on what is true and which information to select. It is the responsibility of member newspapers to respond to such requirements and fulfill their public and cultural mission through accurate and fair reporting, and through responsible commentaries.
All newspapermen and women engaged in editing, production, advertising and circulation should uphold freedom of speech and expression. They should also conduct themselves with honor and decency in such a way as to ensure this responsibility is duly fullfilled, and to strengthen readers' confidence in newspapers.
Freedom and Responsibility
Freedom of expression is a fundamental human right, and newspapers have that absolute freedom in both their news coverage and editorial commentary. In exercising that freedom, however, member newspapers must be duly aware of their heavy responsibility and be constantly mindful not to impair public interests.
Accuracy and Fairness
Newspapers are the first chroniclers of history, and the mission of reporters lies in the constant pursuit of truth. Reporting must be accurate and fair, and should never be swayed by the reporter's personal conviction or bias. Editorial commentary should be an honest expression of the writer's belief, not an attempt to court popularity.
Independence and Tolerance
Member newspapers uphold their independence in the interests of fair commentary and free speech. They must reject interference by all outside forces, and resolve to remain vigilant against those who may wish to use newspapers for their own purposes. On the other hand, they should willingly give space to opinions that differ from their own, provided such opinions are accurate, fair and responsible.
Respect for Human Rights
Member newspapers should pay the utmost respect to the dignity of human beings, put a high value on individuals' honor and give serious consideration to their right to privacy. They should also acknowledge errors and correct them promptly, and in cases when an individual or a group has been unjustly maligned, adequate steps should be taken to rectify the situation, including the provision of an opportunity to reply.
Decency and Moderation
In the performance of their public and cultural mission, member newspapers must be available for anyone to read anytime, anywhere. They should maintain decency both editorially and in the area of advertising, and in their circulation practices they should at all times exercise moderation and good sense.
The member companies of Nihon Shinbun Kyokai, by fully recognizing the ideals upheld by the Canon of Journalism and pledging its realization in the area of sales, herein adopt the newly drafted Newspaper Sales Code.
Responsibility of Newspaper Salespersons
In order to accommodate the public's right to know and to fulfill public and cultural missions, it is indispensable for newspapers to ensure wide readership. All the people involved in newspaper sales assume a responsibility for contributing to the development of a democratic society through their respective assignments.
Maintenance of Home Delivery System
Newspapers are able to fulfill their roles only when they are delivered to readers. In order to ensure that readers can read newspapers equally at any time and in any place, we are determined to maintain the home delivery system and to deliver newspapers swiftly and without fail.
Observance of Rules
All the people involved in newspaper sales are obligated to contribute to the maintenance of the independence of their respective management in order to preserve freedom of speech and expression. In the conduct of sales activities, we will make efforts to win the trust and understanding of our readers by imposing harsh discipline upon ourselves and observing rules for fair competition with moderation and good sense.
Together with Readers
Only by winning the trust of readers are newspapers capable of accomplishing the missions bestowed on them. All the people involved in newspaper sales herein pledge to continuously pursue self-improvement fit to the new era in such areas as protection of the environment and contributions to the community, while striving to meet readers' requirements.
The Purpose Behind the Establishment of the Newspaper Advertising Code of Ethics
To defend freedom of speech and expression and to enhance the credibility of advertising, it is desirable for the newspaper industry to impose restraints on advertising on its own initiative through cooperation and agreement with those concerned with advertising, and not through legal restrictions or government intervention.
The entire responsibility for the contents of advertisements lies, in the first place, with the advertiser. In publishing advertisements in their pages, however, newspapers must consider the social impact of newspaper advertising, eliminate improper advertising, defend the interests of readers and must establish principles to maintain and enhance the credibility of newspaper advertising.
Nihon Shinbun Kyokai has hereby established the Newspaper Advertising Code of Ethics, based on an agreement of member newspapers, and has made clear its attitude by declaring some basic principles covering the publication of advertisements. However, this code does not necessarily bind the judgment of member newspapers in publishing advertisements in their pages nor does it have any legal binding power.
Member newspapers of Nihon Shinbun Kyokai, recognizing the mission of newspaper advertising in society, must constantly strive to elevate ethical standards and must respond to the trust of readers.
- Newspaper advertising must tell the truth.
- Newspaper advertising must not damage the dignity of newspaper pages.
- Newspaper advertising must not violate laws and regulations related to advertising.