Radio Television Digital News Association of Canada’s Code of Journalistic Ethics (2011)


Free speech and an informed public are vital to a democratic society. The members of RTDNA Canada recognize the responsibility of electronic journalists to promote and to protect the freedom to report independently about matters of public interest and to present a wide range of expressions, opinions and ideas.

Article One – Accuracy

Electronic journalists will inform the public in an accurate, comprehensive and fair manner about events and issues of importance.

Article Two – Equality

Electronic journalists will report factors such as race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sexual orientation, marital status or physical or mental disability only when they are relevant.

Article Three – Authenticity

Electronic journalists will present news and information without distortion. Interviews may be edited provided that the meaning is not changed or misrepresented. Electronic journalists will not present news that is rehearsed or re-enacted without informing the audience. Newsrooms should take steps to ensure the authenticity of all video and audio, including news material acquired from the public, freelancers and other sources before disseminating/broadcasting it. Editorials and commentary will be identified as such.

Article Four – Privacy

Electronic journalists will respect the dignity, privacy and well being of everyone with whom they deal, and will make every effort to ensure that newsgathering and reporting does not unreasonably infringe privacy except when necessary in the public interest. Clandestine newsgathering techniques should only be used when necessary to the credibility or accuracy of a story in the public interest.

Article Five – Independence

Independence is a fundamental value and we will resist any attempts at censorship that would erode it. Electronic journalists will resist pressures to change or alter the news. Intrusion into content, real or apparent should be resisted.

Article Five A – Integrity

Electronic journalists will not pay subjects or sources that have a vested interest in a story. Commentators or contracted experts are exempted. Electronic journalists will not accept financial compensation from those who seek to influence news coverage thereby compromising journalistic integrity and independence.

Article Six – Conflict of Interest

Electronic journalists will govern themselves on and off the job in such a way as to avoid conflict of interest, real or apparent.

Article Seven – Corrections

Errors will be quickly acknowledged and publicly corrected on all platforms.

Article Eight – Decency and Conduct

Electronic journalists will treat people who are subjects and sources with decency. They will use special sensitivity when dealing with children. They will strive to conduct themselves in a courteous and considerate manner, newsgathering as unobtrusively as possible. They will strive to prevent their presence from distorting the character or importance of events.

Article Nine – Fair Trial

In reporting matters that are or may be before the courts, electronic journalists will ensure that their reporting does not interfere with the rights of an individual to a fair trial.

Article Ten – Covering Violent Situations

Reporting on criminal activities such as hostage takings, prison uprisings or terrorist acts will be done in a fashion that does not knowingly endanger lives, offer comfort and support or provide vital information to the perpetrator(s). RTDNA members will contact neither victims nor perpetrators of a criminal activity during the course of the event for the purpose of conducting an interview that would interfere with a peaceful resolution.

Article Eleven – Intellectual Property

Plagiarism is unacceptable. Electronic journalists will strive to honour the intellectual property of others, including video and audio materials.

Article Twelve – Impediments

Electronic journalists will seek to remove any impediments to or bans on the gathering or reporting of news in the public interest.

Article Thirteen – Sources

Electronic journalists will make every effort to attribute news on the record. Confidential sources should be used only when it is clearly in the public interest to gather or convey important information or when a person providing information might be harmed.

Article Fourteen – Respect and Enforcement

Members of the RTDNA will respect the provisions of this Code and the RTDNA itself will take all reasonable steps to encourage that all electronic journalists in Canada are aware of and observe the Code, even if they are not themselves members of the RTDNA.