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UNESCO, PMA launch the Code of Conduct to improve conflict-sensitive reporting

Public Media Alliance (PMA) and UNESCO launched the “Code of Conduct to Improve Conflict Sensitive Reporting and Safety of Journalists in South Asia” on 23 November 2021.  
 
Contributed by 30 journalists from Bangladesh, India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka who gathered virtually in September 2021 to strengthen their capacity in conflict-sensitive reporting, journalist safety, and self-regulation, the Code of Conduct (CoC) aims to guide journalists and media workers on how they can cover pertinent areas in an informed, fair, and safe manner. The participants – from journalists to academics and editors – worked collaboratively to develop a regionally relevant CoC to strengthen media credibility.
 
The draft Code has been reviewed by regional stakeholders, including press council representatives, media academics, and journalists, leading to this final document.

Conflict-sensitive reporting contributes to reconciliation and peace-building- which is at the heart of UNESO’s mandate. With this document, our aim is to make reporting on conflict more comprehensive, insightful, and most importantly reliable- thus making it more influential.
Eric Falt, Director, UNESCO New Delhi

The CoC was developed as part of a project supported from the UNESCO International Programme for the Development of communication (IPDC).
 
It urges the journalists and the mass media to report in an unbiased manner while keeping the respect for human rights and democracy at center of their reportage.  It also emphasizes on the importance fact-checking, avoidance of any form of gendered disinformation to ensure respect for all genders.
 
The CoC lists out five recommendations for further improvement:

  • Develop effective HR policies to protect the interests and wellbeing of journalists; 
  • Introduce more preventative measures against sexual harassment in the workplace and in the field. Create safe spaces for people to report harassment and abuse; 
  • Implement gender sensitive training for leaders and other staff members;
  • Introduce guidelines for reporting when using minors as sources;
  • Introduce codes of conduct for media managers and owners.

Download the Code of Conduct