IMMJ-MA Code of Ethics

UPDATED Jan 2019 / Sharron Lovell

IMMJ-MA Code of Ethics

Please download the code of ethics, print and sign it. Code of Ethics Term 2 Project A

IMMJ-MA Code of Ethics (Short Version)

As an IMMJ-MA student multimedia journalist, you are obliged to understand and apply industry standard professional ethical standards. We want you to tell compelling, visual, creative stories. However, we also require that your stories are underpinned by established professional ethical good practice. That includes being accurate, balanced, honest and fair at all times and in all stages of reporting and storytelling from your research to news-gathering to editing and publishing.

You must at all times, treat sources, subjects, audience, colleagues, and yourselves as human beings deserving of respect and safety. We have a common sense guideline for this. Imagine the subject you are working with is your cousin, your mum, your brother, a friend – would you film them in the same manner and would you ask them the same questions. If not, then don’t do it. That’s not to say we can’t capture difficult moments on film or ask difficult questions – that ’s reality and sometimes part of our work. But we must always maintain due care and respect for our subjects.

Read these guidelines in full and before you go to the field you must sign the bottom to testify that you understand and will comply with IMMJ-MA ethical standards during your study. If you have any questions about any of the topics covered ask your tutor in class or privately, no questions is a silly question especially when it comes to risks and ethics. You will also need to abide by these guidelines when considering the risk and ethics sections of your project forms in Terms 2 & 3.

Please note: This code of ethics has largely borrowed from and condensed the Reuters Handbook of Journalism. We’ve tried to focus on key points and put things into simple language for non-native speakers. This guide is not intended as a set of “rules”. Some ethical breaches are obvious, such as plagiarism, fabrication or bribe-taking, however, journalism is a profession governed by guiding ethical principles rather than by rigid rules. These guidelines are an attempt to help guide you to make good decisions and act in the best interests of your sources, audience and the profession. Always speak with your tutors if you are in doubt.


Minimize Harm

  • Protect sources, translators and yourself. Never put anyone’s physical well-being in danger for a story.
  • If there are any potentials risks or harms that may impact any persons – negotiate with your tutor and ensure informed consent.
  • Avoid stereotyping by race, gender, age, religion, ethnicity, geography, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance or social status.

Seek and report the truth

  1. Be as accurate, honest, fair and comprehensive in your research, news gathering, reporting and editing as possible.
  2. Never assume that the collection of facts and the point of view that you have arrived at, is “the truth.” always aim to dig deeper.
  3. Strive for balance and freedom from bias.
  4. Don’t lie or fabricate information and never plagiarise.
  5. Never manipulate a still or moving image beyond the requirements of World Press Photo image manipulation guidance.
  6. Never pay for a story and never accept a bribe.
  7. Always reveal a conflict of interest to a tutor. If in doubt, ask!