Professional standards

1 PROFESSIONAL STANDARDS

1.1 Accuracy
1.2 Impartiality
1.3 Checking facts
1.4 Credibility
1.5 Responsibility
1.6 The public accessibility of work
1.7 Independence
1.8 Fairness
1.9 Language

2 DIVERSITY AND BALANCE OF REPORTING

2.1 Range of subjects
2.2 Range of opinions
2.3 Balance of information

2.3.1 Balance of information in a single programme
2.3.2 Balance of information in a programme series
2.3.3 Balance of information in news and current affair programmes
2.3.4 Balance of information in drama-documentaries

3 ELECTION CAMPAIGNS

3.1 Reference to parliament and politicians
3.2 Facing political parties and candidates
3.3 Balance of reporting on election campaigns in other broadcasts
3.4 Exit polls
3.5 Reporting election results

4 COVERAGE OF POLITICS, PARLIAMENT AND POLITICIANS

4.1 Programme use of parliamentary material and transmissions of parliamentary sessions
4.2 Coverage of political parties
4.3 Political terminology

5 PRODUCTION STANDARDS

5.1 Information gathering

5.1.1 Opinion polls
5.1.2 Methods of opinion polling
5.1.3 Broadcasting results of opinion polls
5.1.4 Non-scientific surveys
5.1.5 Telephone votes
5.1.6 Phone-ins

5.2 Privacy and the gathering of information

5.2.1 Privacy versus public life
5.2.2 Identity of a suspect
5.2.3 Identity of an accused
5.2.4 Identity of crime victims

5.3. Protection of sources of information

5.3.1 Anonymous programme participants
5.3.2 Refusal of appearance in a programme
5.3.3 Embargoes

5.4 News
5.5 Reports
5.6 Interviews

5.6.1 Phone-out interviews

5.7 Commentary
5.8 Payments

5.8.1 Payment to news sources
5.8.2 Payment of fees
5.8.3 Payments to MP's, state counsellors, ministers, government and party officials

5.9 Coverage of exceptional events

5.9.1 Coverage of demonstrations
5.9.2 Civil disorder
5.9.3 Terrorism

5.10 Reporting crime and accidents

5.10.1 Professional means

5.10.1.1 Text
5.10.1.2 Picture

6 RELATIONS WITH STATE AUTHORITIES/GOVERNMENT BODIES

6.1 Relations with the army
6.2 Relations with the police

7 IMITATIVE AND ANTI-SOCIAL BEHAVIOUR

7.1 Clandestine methods of news gathering
7.2 Misrepresentation
7.3 Hidden cameras and microphones
7.4 Leakage of official/confidential information

8 INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM

9 INFORMATION PROCESSING

9.1 Hosts and interviewers
9.2 Reporters
9.3 Guest commentators
9.4 Editing
9.5 Editing interviews
9.6 Use of library material
9.7 Editorial use of technology
9.8 Composition of pictures

9.8.1 Recording, selection of camera frames and angles
9.8.2 Editing
9.8.3 Use of post-production computer technology

9.9 Reconstruction and simulation of an event
9.10 Library material

9.10.1 Labelling of library material
9.10.2 Abuse of library material

9.11 Library material portraying crime
9.12 Mixture of actuality and dramatisation
9.13 Satire

10 RESPECTING THE VALUES OF VIEWERS AND LISTENERS

10.1 Good taste
10.2 Reporting on health issues
10.3 Sex
10.4 Grief and suffering
10.5 Violence
10.6 Cautionary announcements
10.7 Programme interruption
10.8 Special features of radio

11 SPECIAL INTEREST PROGRAMMES

11.1 Programmes for ethnic minorities
11.2 Slovenians living abroad
11.3 Religious programmes
11.4 Portrayal of religion and religious groups
11.5 International service

12 PORTRAYAL OF SPECIAL SECTIONS OF SOCIETY

12.1 Portrayal of women
12.2 Portrayal of people with disabilities
12.3 Portrayal of sexual minorities
12.4 Portrayal of older people

13 CHILDREN AND MINORS IN THE PROGRAMMES OF RTV SLOVENIA

14 INTERFERENCE

14.1 Requests to RTV Slovenia to withhold material
14.2 Veto of programme material by invited programme participants
14.3 Censorship

15 RIGHT TO CORRECTION

16 THE OMBUDSMAN/GUARDIAN OF PROFESSIONAL STANDARDS AND THE PRINCIPLES OF JOURNALISTIC ETHICS

17 MANDATORY REFERRAL

18 LEGAL ASSISTANCE TO JOURNALISTS AND EDITORS

19 ADVERTISING, PROMOTION AND SPONSORING IN THE PROGRAMMES OF RTV SLOVENIA

19.1 Ethical advertising criteria
19.2 Advertising and promotion
19.3 Advertising for charities and other social appeals
19.4 Airing of public relations material
19.5 Journalists, presenters and editors appearing in advertising and promotional programmes
19.6 Sponsorship in programmes

20 ON-AIR APPEARANCE AND DRESS CODES

21 CONFLICT OF INTERESTS, RIGHTS AND DUTIES

21.1 Conflict of business and financial interests
21.2 Appearance and participation in rival electronic media
21.3 Commercial activity
21.4 Financial journalism
21.5 Gifts, benefits and other special considerations
21.6 Political, trade union and professional activities

22 FINAL PROVISIONS

 

1 PROFESSIONAL STANDARDS

Factual/News programmes and all other programmes of RTV Slovenia including reporting have to adhere to the following professional standards:

1.1 Accuracy

The message conveyed has to reflect the facts and may not be misleading or untrue. The journalist is obliged to gather information with due care, check them and pay appropriate attention to expressing them in an literary style of the Slovenian or the languages of indigenous minorities. Reporting on current affairs showing real persons must avoid techniques of virtual reality, except in cases where it serves the message and the protection of personal rights is signalled as such.

1.2 Impartiality

Impartiality is a basic value of all programmes of RTV Slovenia, having as public broadcaster the mission of objectively informing the public. Messages broadcast may not be misleading to the audience.

Reporting should be dispassionate, wide-ranging and well informed. The facts and viewpoints have to be conveyed and presented in a balanced way, and reporting has to take account of all persons, institutions, issues and events in an impartial and ethical way.

Impartiality in factual programmes cannot be ensured by a simple mathematical balance that weighs standpoints with opposing ones, but by a complete presentation of the circumstances giving rise to these standpoints.

Reporting has to avoid anything causing reasonable doubt regarding the impartiality of the journalist or the public service broadcaster or which might create the idea that the journalist or the broadcaster are exposed to the pressure of a certain group, be it of an ideological, political, financial, social, religious or cultural nature.

The requirement of impartiality cannot, however, be held equal to the complete neutrality of every news item. A reporter may express a professional, journalistic judgement based on relevant facts, but not a personal opinion established as a consequence of one-sided views on certain issues.

The creators of radio and television programmes (employees and guests) may not hide or neglect information they personally disagree with.

1.3 Checking facts

The journalists and editors of RTV Slovenia have to respect the basic professional rule demanding that all facts be checked before going on air. If checking is not possible, the source has to be stated. If it is a source known to the editorial board as reliable, which does not wish to be revealed, certain descriptive phrases such as from reliable sources, from verified sources, from well-informed sources, from diplomatic sources, from sources close to, etc. may be used. The programmes of RTV Slovenia do as a rule avoid the use of phrases like: it is being said, the word is, we have heard that, etc.

Special attention is necessary when using unauthorised sources from the Internet, since the worldwide web allows unlimited access and an uncritical use of data from these sources may lead to the passing on of misinformation to the audience. Before airing unauthorised content from the Internet, all facts have to be checked. If an unauthorised source from the Internet is used anyway, it has to be marked clearly as such.

1.4 Credibility

In a democratic society credibility is one of the fundamental values of public broadcasting.

Journalists and all other makers of the radio and television programmes of RTV Slovenia have to be independent in their work and have to maintain the autonomy of the journalistic profession and all other professions that help to form the content and image of radio and television programmes.

News programmes have to offer due account of events and issues, allowing radio and television audience to form their own views.

Credibility demands that everybody contributing to RTV Slovenia's radio and television programmes avoid the public expression of solidarity with any kind of actions undertaken by political parties or associations, societies or other interest groups, as well as lobby groups, which might be interpreted as supporting one of the parties, group of parties or associations.

1.5 Responsibility

The main aim of news gathering and broadcasting is to provide their widest possible accessibility and to enable the user to form a certain opinion on a certain issue. Journalists and editors abusing their position for the dissemination of false or arranged news have to be prevented from so doing.

Responsibility includes also sensitivity and a certain distance from matters disseminated by PR agencies creating an image and reputation for certain personalities for payment without regard to the actual facts.

The programmes of RTV Slovenia report on all events at home and abroad which are significant to the public. The same standards and ethical principles also apply to reporting on events within RTV Slovenia.

1.6 The public accessibility of work

Journalistic work is public, and the journalists of RTV Slovenia have to work in accordance with this rule, and categorically refuse any attempt from any institution or individual to limit the public accessibility of journalistic work, or attempts to use it for certain interests not in accordance with the principle of freedom and independence of the journalist profession. The secrecy of sources recommended by the Council of Europe has to be respected, except for cases, where it might put the life or safety of individuals in danger (cases of bomb warnings or fire, kidnapping or similar threats, but not if it is only a subjective feeling of an individual or merely an excuse in order to avoid journalists) or in cases where editors and journalists would hide the criminal actions of individuals, groups or organisations.

1.7 Independence

Journalists must unconditionally adhere to the principle of the autonomy and independence of RTV Slovenia's programmes in their journalistic work based on the programme foundations passed by the Council of RTV Slovenia. They shall in no case create an impression of bias, or of their professional integrity being distorted.

Even in cases where the production of RTV Slovenia's programmes is supported by independent investors (the state budget, sponsors), RTV Slovenia must maintain keep its editorial independence in the preparation of these programmes. They are also subject to the professional and ethical standards as laid down in this document.

1.8 Fairness

RTV Slovenia's journalists and editors have to respect the personal integrity of individuals and their right to privacy in their reporting. Persons who are heavily attacked or criticised in the programmes of RTV Slovenia must given the chance to reply at the earliest possible convenience or programme. Replies must be broadcast in the same type of programme at the same time as the criticism; only those sequences where the criticised opposes the criticism must match the amount of time of the foregoing criticism. Replies exceeding this framework may be rejected by the editor-in-chief of the programme.

No news or programme content are considered fair if they

a) do not include all substantial facts;
b) include unimportant facts and disregard the most significant ones;
c) unwittingly or intentionally mislead the viewers and listeners;
d) reporters use expressions or schemes that reveal their partiality.

1.9 Language

RTV Slovenia, as a public service broadcaster producing national programmes, must devote special care to the Slovenian language.

The language must be clear and simple, avoiding exaggeration and ambiguity. Programme presenters and moderators, as well as journalists (and all other employed and free-lance programme makers) are obliged to use the literary style of Slovenian and the languages of the indigenous minorities; professional readers and journalists are to use standard language when reading, and when moderating use standard everyday language. The use of dialects is acceptable only when used by persons who are not employed by RTV Slovenia, or in cases of specific social interest (such as like the preservation of certain dialects).

It is recommendable to broadcast contributions by authors of the Italian and Hungarian indigenous minority in their mother tongue with Slovenian sub-titles in the main news programmes at least occasionally.

In principle, the programmes of RTV Slovenia do not allow the usage of vulgar expressions or the use of language that is not in compliance with valid social norms. However, we have to be aware that public acceptability regarding certain expressions and language is constantly changing and has shifted over time.

In certain circumstances, linguistic expressions that might otherwise cause complaint are acceptable. However, they have to contribute to the message conveyed by the programme. Moreover, it has to be clear that avoiding these expressions would lessen the completeness of the programme.

2 DIVERSITY AND BALANCE OF REPORTING

2.1 Range of subjects

The programmes of RTV Slovenia have to ensure a suitable balance between international, national, regional and local news.

It is of equal importance that journalists and other programme makers of RTV Slovenia research and present positive as well as negative events, personalities and social phenomena, and especially "major" events and phenomena, although they might not attract general attention or excitement.

2.2 Range of opinions

In order to achieve a good balance and impartiality, RTV Slovenia has to ensure an account of the widest possible range of different perspectives and opinions. The programmes of RTV Slovenia have to be politically neutral, which means that journalists and editors are not allowed to give preference to certain political or ideological positions. The presentation of perspectives and opinions has to be thorough, including all dimensions and gradations. The programmes of RTV Slovenia have to be complete. If this cannot be achieved in one item, it has to be ensured by a series devoted to a certain issue. If a single item, for special reasons, is not balanced, it has to be clearly labelled as such, and the audience must be informed about the exact date and time of a follow-up broadcast which will include missing facts. Items of news and current affairs programmes have to be followed up and sufficiently explained within one week's time, weekly programmes within two week's time, and monthly programmes within one month.

2.3 Balance of information

RTV Slovenia's programmes dealing with issues of public interest creating different public opinions must relate the various standpoints adequately and evenly. Adequately and evenly in this context equals impartiality and a reasonable volume considering the weight of certain standpoints and opinions, their significance or potential significance.

If possible, the journalist has to find representatives of all involved parties and positions and present them in the news item or programme. If this proves to be impossible, they must inform the audience about it in a clear and direct way.

2.3.1 Balance of information in a single programme

Single programmes dealing with a major controversial issue should give adequate recognition to the range of opinion on the subject. Fairness must be the leading principle in presentation, so that the audience is able to make a judgement on the matter in question based on the facts.

2.3.2 Balance of information in a programme series

Although individual programmes within a series may reflect a particular view, the series itself must give adequate consideration to differing views on such subjects. The intention of providing a balanced overall view must be presented to the viewers and listeners clearly and in advance.

2.3.3 Balance of information in news and current affair programmes

Continuing news and current affairs programmes must present a balanced overall view of controversial matters to avoid the appearance of promoting particular opinions or being manipulated into doing so by events. Journalists and editors must be aware of the necessity for balance in their ongoing presentation of controversial matters.

2.3.4 Balance of information in drama-documentaries

When drama realistically portrays living people or contemporary situations in a controversial fashion, it has an obligation to be accurate, to do justice to the main facts. A clear distinction should be drawn between plays based broadly on facts or real characters, and dramatised documentaries which seek to reconstruct actual events. Audiences should be clear as to whether they are watching fact or fiction.

Any dramatised reconstruction of a controversial current event should observe the standards of fairness. It is inevitable that the creative realisation of some elements, such as characterisation, dialogue and atmosphere, will introduce a fictional dimension, but this should not be allowed to distort the known facts.

Whenever appropriate, persons portrayed in a drama or their surviving near relatives should be notified in advance and, where possible, their co-operation secured. Where their co-operation or approval is withheld on reasonable grounds the portrayal should not proceed.

 

3 ELECTION CAMPAIGNS

3.1 Reference to parliament and politicians

This chapter does not refer to news and current affairs reporting during periods defined in Art. 8 of the Law on RTV Slovenia as exceptional ("Political propaganda is permitted during election campaigns"); neither does it refer to numerous expert and technical (service) programmes on election regulations and their implementation.

Regular news broadcasts and other programmes of RTV Slovenia are also not allowed to convey political propaganda during election campaigns. They must adhere to the standards of information and artistic value set out in of Art. 4 of the Law on RTV Slovenia.

During election campaigns RTV Slovenia will allocate time to all political parties and independent candidates running for the National Assembly for a free presentation under equal conditions. The running order is decided by public ballot.

The radio and television programmes of RTV Slovenia have to ensure equal conditions for all presentations: a microphone in a recording studio or a TV camera providing the same picture frame. The use of picture or sound material from the archives of RTV Slovenia is not allowed for the promotional purposes of the parties.

Parties that intend to make use of the free presentation have to confirm it in writing to the editors-in-chief of the programmes of RTV Slovenia within the terms defined in accordance with legal terms valid in ongoing elections.

RTV Slovenia, in accordance with its programme requirements and technical capacities, will inform political parties and candidates in writing about the schedule of radio and television recordings.

Absence from a scheduled recording invalidates the right to a free presentation broadcast.

The Teletext department of RTV Slovenia does not air free presentations.

3.2 Facing political parties and candidates

Programmes featuring political parties and candidates have to adhere to the following principles:

a) the discussion should be moderated and conducted by journalists guiding the discussion between the representatives of the political parties or candidates impartially and without bias in replies to single questions or complete contextual sequences.

b) the journalists chairing the panel of election broadcasts are obliged to give every participant the possibility of presentation within the allocated time; participants not respecting the time limit are to be stopped .

c) broadcasting during elections is governed by the cumulative principle stating that parliamentary parties versus non-parliamentary parties are allocated air time in a ratio of 2/3 : 1/3 (obligatory for Televizija Slovenija, Radio Slovenija and all radio and TV programmes aired by the regional centres).

d) the presence of political parties in individual programme slots is proposed by the editorial boards of RTV Slovenia; the order of appearance of individual parties is decided by a draw. Thus it will give the opportunity to face candidates of non-parliamentary parties with those represented in the National Assembly. In cases of doubt regarding which parties have parliamentary status and which not, RTV Slovenia is obliged to acquire an official explanation from the speaker of the National Assembly and official data from the central register office at the ministry of internal affairs.
Only candidates from the official lists of a single party or group of parties are allowed to participate in broadcasts.

e) broadcasts during election campaigns are usually live programmes with a limited time for replies; parties that do not use the allocated programme slot for their presentation during the election campaign do not have rights to a substitute slot.

f) with live studio audience programmes, each party is provided an equal number of tickets which are to be handed out to their supporters and followers, but not to its own leading officials and candidates.

3.3 Balance of reporting on election campaigns in other broadcasts

During an election campaign, representatives of political parties or candidates running for the National Assembly are not allowed to appear in RTV Slovenia's broadcasts except for those listed under point 3.1. When reporting on the activity of the representatives of political parties and candidates holding government or public offices, RTV Slovenia has to differentiate strictly between their official function and their election activity. The latter is defined by the provisions of the professional standards.

Journalists and employees of RTV Slovenia running as candidates or otherwise participating in an election campaign during a pending election campaign are not allowed to edit or produce authored programme items. Any infringement of these provisions will result in immediate suspension from work.

3.4 Exit polls

Some of the methodological problems which afflict voting intention polling also affect exit polls, although to a lesser extent: exit polls are based on interviews with people who have actually voted. They are not designed to predict what people will do, but they are designed to predict what the eventual declaration will reveal about what people have already done.

Editors are bound to check the appropriateness of such methods before applying them in practice.

RTV Slovenia will commission predictive exit polling only if it is satisfied that the results are likely to be sufficiently robust to justify the claims it is wished to make of them.

During election results programmes, projections of the likely outcome may be based either upon exit polling data, or upon actual results declared, but the two must not be amalgamated, and the basis of the projection must be clearly signalled to audiences.

Exit polls can also be undertaken to test the reasons the electorate voted in a given way, as opposed to predicting the results.

These analytical polls do not need to achieve the level of accuracy demanded of an exit poll prediction.

3.5 Reporting election results

Reporting election results that are not sourced by the Election Commission of the Republic of Slovenia demands great care.

The following rules must be applied:

a) do not lead a news bulletin or programme simply with the results of a voting intention poll.

b) do not rely on the interpretation of a poll result by the organisation or publication which commissioned it: look at the questions, the results and the trend.

c) report the findings of intention polls in the context of trends. Trends may consist of the results of all major polls over a period, or may be limited to changes in a single pollster's findings. Poll results which defy trends without convincing explanation should be treated with particular scepticism and caution.

d) do not use language which gives greater credibility to the polls than they deserve: polls "suggest", but never "prove" or even "show".

e) report the precise dates of the fieldwork, and draw attention to events which may have had a significant effect on public opinion since it was carried out(e.g. "The opinion poll was carried out last Monday, before the party announced....").

 

4. COVERAGE OF POLITICS, PARLIAMENT AND POLITICIANS

4.1 Programme use of parliamentary material and transmissions of parliamentary sessions

Parliamentary material can be used only in news and factual programmes or for educational purposes and may be used in light entertainment and other programmes of RTV Slovenia only if authorised by the competent editor-in-chief. Statements made in Parliament enjoy qualified privilege when reported, which gives RTV Slovenia a defence to libel. Reports from Parliament in the programmes of RTV Slovenia have to give an impartial account of the proceedings in the National Assembly and the National Council, which means that they need to present the complete range of opinions on a certain issue in a balanced manner. The journalist has to inform the audience in their report about the arguments of MP's in favour of and against a certain issue. Even after a proceeding is closed, it still raises contradictory opinions, and RTV Slovenia is still obliged to present them until, in its own judgement, all relevant opinions have been presented. The editing of speeches from Parliament has to show clearly that two sections of a speech have been used by providing a definite break or an explanation by the journalist making clear that the two sections are not continuous. Otherwise it might create an impression of manipulation.

The programme administration of RTV Slovenia, in accordance with the programme concept adopted by the Council of RTV Slovenia, has the right to decide upon criteria governing live transmissions from Parliament. Due to the substantial public significance of certain parliamentary sessions, news and current affairs programmes should cover the following events within the programme slots defined by the programme management of RTV Slovenia:

  • the constituting of the National Assembly,
  • elections of the president of the National Assembly,
  • elections of the prime minister,
  • elections of the government,
  • interpellation or constitutional indictment against the prime minister,
  • constitutional indictment against the president of the Republic,
  • festive sessions of Parliament.

Upon editorial judgement, the programme management takes the decision to transmit other sessions considered of major national importance.

The programme management of RTV Slovenia obliges itself not to allow reporters issuing personal views during live transmissions of parliamentary sessions.

4.2 Coverage of political parties

RTV Slovenia reports on the work of the political parties day by day, whereby its mission as a public service broadcaster requires a balanced attitude towards all parties.

The presence of a political party in the broadcasts of RTV Slovenia depends on its activity. Press conferences should not be the only gauge of their activity. Therefore, RTV Slovenia is not obliged, except during election campaigns, to allocate parties equal shares of programme time in advance. However, the editors should aim over time (usually a month) to give due prominence to all the main strands of argument and all the main parties. It is up to the judgement of RTV Slovenia which party officials and other party members are invited to take part in individual programmes. In inviting them to take part in its programmes, RTV Slovenia is obliged to ensure the composition of the invited panel, which will give due prominence to all main political strands. Where a participant is invited, but refuses or is unable to appear, this should not normally act as a reason for cancelling the broadcast. In such a case, RTV Slovenia will strive to ensure a suitable exchange in order to be able to present different viewpoints. However, there may be occasions when it may cause the programme to be one-sided and unbalanced and therefore lead to a refusal of the proposed programme.

Editors and journalists proposing to interview party leaders must refer to the editor-in-chief in advance, with the exception of short news interviews.

In the case of broadcasting rather long talks with the prime minister on topical issues, we have to provide similar opportunities for a broadcast by the parties in opposition. If the opposition consists of more than two parties, the broadcast must not exceed by more than one and half times the premier's contribution. The programme has to be aired in an equivalent programme slot, if possible immediately after the appearance of the prime minister or in the following edition of the same programme series, and no later than the following day.

Government parties are all those parties that have signed a coalition agreement or an agreement on collaboration in the government, and parties in opposition are all other parties, regardless of their voting on individual issues. Even if a party member holds a government office, but his or her party has not signed an agreement on collaboration, we consider the party to be in opposition.

4.3 Political terminology

The use of language in political reporting is very important. Be aware that certain words or phrases carry certain nuances. For example, the use of the word "claim" requires particular care. There is a danger in news writing of using the words "claim" and "says" inter-changeably just to ring the changes. If we say one side "says" and that the other "claims", it implies that we are inclined to believe one side and not the other. Similarly, beware of the use of over-simplistic, shorthand labels, since the political beliefs of individual politicians and options usually have wider dimensions.

 

5 PRODUCTION STANDARDS

5.1 Information gathering

5.1.1 Opinion polls

Even a minor mistake made when referring to facts may damage the credibility of a whole programme or series of programmes. The same holds true for opinion polls; therefore polling and its results need to be applied according to the professional standards of accuracy, impartiality and credibility of information. Opinion polls and surveys are not carried out by the journalists and editorial departments of RTV Slovenia, but are commissioned to a wide range of other institutions and experts competent and authorised to conduct surveys based on tested methods and recognised standards. All survey initiatives must be authorised in advance by the editor-in-chief.

Due consideration needs to be paid to the fact that external institutions and experts sometimes exhibit party interests, which calls for a balance of sources. It is therefore recommended that opinion polls on major social issues and events, e.g. elections, be carried out by at least two independent polling institutions/ pollsters.

5.1.2 Methods of opinion polling

Polling and random sampling are two common techniques used to survey public opinion. They are used to discover facts, uncover attitudes, and verify hypotheses. The data collected by these techniques constitutes the basis of various studies and reports published by government, lobbyists, single-interest groups, researchers and journalistic organisations.

To ensure the validity and reliability of their results, surveys of public opinion must be conducted according to tested methods and recognised standards. Any departure from methods or standards should be made known to the public.

5.1.3 Broadcasting results of opinion polls

Prior to broadcasting the results of any opinion poll, the journalists concerned are expected to:

a) obtain all necessary information on the methods used, as well as the main results of the survey;

b) compare the interpretation of the results by the authors of the study with the opinions of other experts in the field;

c) establish the validity of the methods used and the interpretation of the results.

In broadcasting the results of surveys, journalists must:

a) give prominence to the actual data over interpretation of that data;

b) report the name of the person or organisation conducting the survey, and where relevant, the political party affiliation, the name of the sponsor, the population surveyed, the size of the sample, the period during which the survey was conducted, the response rate and the margin of error.

Detailed data is accessible on RTV Slovenia's Teletext and Internet pages.

5.1.4 Non-scientific surveys

Surveys that are not conducted according to recognised standards do not provide valid results or reliable information.

Special care must be exercised in the presentation, whether live or pre-recorded, of statements gathered through interviews with randomly selected persons such as convention delegates or the audience of a phone-in programme. Comments gathered in this way must be presented for the sole purpose of illustrating the range and texture of popular opinion. Care must be taken not to suggest that such presentations reflect the distribution or weight of opinion in the community on one or another of a question. Similarly, while the content of the comments may be summarised, under no circumstances must any numerical tally of comments received on either side of a topic be given.

5.1.5 Telephone votes

"Telephone votes", where callers are invited to phone to a pair or group of off-air telephone numbers which mechanically counts their "vote" on a question, are open to manipulation by any pressure group. They have no information value and may be misleading.

RTV Slovenia's news and factual programmes do not conduct telephone votes or broadcast the results of such votes. Exceptions are some light entertainment programmes where telephone voting is coupled to the methodology of international and other contests and where the lack of reliability and credibility of telephone voting is counter-balanced by other methods of voting and evaluating the contestants or participants.

5.1.6 Phone-ins

RTV Slovenia's phone-ins are generally live. This means that producers must constantly be alert to the possibility of callers breaking the law or causing widespread offence in matters of taste, decency or language.

To minimise the risk, editors and producers should ensure that presenters are properly briefed and are able to extricate the programme from a difficult situation with speed and courtesy. This can usually be achieved by fading out a caller, while the presenter moves the discussion on. When the subject-matter of a phone-in programme leads the producer to anticipate particular problems, callers, like presenters, should be briefed before they go on air.

Callers to such programmes need to be presented by name and family name, which is especially important in programmes dealing with political subject matter (voting on personalities and statements, etc.).

A presentation by name and family name is not necessarily required in so called advice/counselling programmes (health programmes, farming programmes, etc.).

5.2 Privacy and the gathering of information

5.2.1 Privacy versus public life

The privacy of an individual within the broadcasts of RTV Slovenia in this sense means the personal and private life of an individual apart from their public life.

Journalists on occasion may appear to breach an individual's privacy. This is warranted only when the individual's private life impinges on or becomes part of their public life or becomes a matter of legitimate public concern.

There are a number of situations in which individuals cannot or should not be identified. Identification here means more than just not reporting the individual's name. It also means not using a photograph or reporting any incidental detail that could give hints to the individual's identity.

Even when the personal affairs of public figures become a proper subject of enquiry, they do not forfeit all rights to privacy. RTV Slovenia's journalists should confine themselves to relevant facts and avoid gossip. Information broadcast should be important as well as true. It is not enough to say that it is interesting. It is essential that we operate within a framework which respects people's right to privacy, treats them fairly, yet allows us to investigate and establish matters which it is in the public interest to know about.

There are occasions when it is acceptable for programme makers to operate on private property without seeking permission. Sometimes the public has general access to private property. Entering without authority can sometimes constitute a tort (in which the police have no jurisdiction). Sometimes, however, there is a risk of committing criminal trespass. It is important for programme makers to understand the laws of trespass in detail. Consent for such undertakings is given by the editor-in-chief.

5.2.2 Identity of a suspect

In reporting on subjects under police investigation, careful consideration should be given to whether public interest or the protection of the individual is an overriding consideration. In cases where the information passed on by the police or other investigative bodies reveals the suspect's identity (e.g. their initials, etc.) to an extent that makes it implausible to hide it in the report, their name and other information on their identity may be disclosed, but this requires prior approval by the editor-in-chief.

5.2.3 Identity of an accused

When a person accused of a criminal offence is identified in a broadcast, only part of the judicial process is being aired; between the charge and the trial there may be a considerable lapse of time.

Programme personnel should be sensitive to the fact that the consequences for an innocent person could be damaging. When the accused in a criminal case has been identified, there must be a follow-up report of equal prominence on the verdict. The programmes of RTV Slovenia will pay due consideration to the fact that the accused in court proceedings are not presented in humiliating circumstances.

5.2.4 Identity of crime victims

Broadcasting the identity of a crime victim most often only adds to the person's grief, anguish and trauma.

As a general rule, RTV Slovenia does not broadcast the identity of a crime victim, particularly in the case of crimes against the person such as sexual assault, except in one of the following circumstances:

a) the victim consents to the disclosure (in writing or on tape);

b) the victim volunteers their story for broadcast;

c) the public interest is an overriding consideration.

When, without due legal process, an alleged victim accuses somebody of a crime against his or her person, RTV Slovenia does not grant the privilege of anonymity to the alleged victim. Furthermore, the broadcasting of the accusations is dependent on a thorough review, by programme management and the legal department, of the credibility of the person, of the evidence he or she brings forward and of the risk of a suit for defamation.

Under no circumstances, other than the death of the victim, does RTV Slovenia broadcast the identity of a minor who is a crime victim.

5.3 Protection of sources of information

RTV Slovenia strongly upholds the principle of the protection of a journalist's sources. Information about which the public should know is sometimes only available through a confidential source. Off the record discussions with journalists, for example, are often held by public figures and others. If the confidentiality of sources were not respected as a matter of principle, this would inhibit the free flow of information essential to the vitality of a democratic society.

Information from a source who does not wish to be publicly identified may be used if the source is known to the journalist and if they have prima facie credibility. However, to avoid the possibility of being manipulated into broadcasting inaccurate or biased information, the journalist must carefully check the reliability of the source and must obtain corroborative evidence from at least two other pertinent sources.

Disclosure of sources within the journalistic line of responsibility should not be confused with public disclosure of sources. The editor-in-chief has to treat such information with absolute confidentiality. Where the editor-in-chief considers that a report lacks a certain element making it possible to establish credibility and accuracy, he or she has the right to reject the airing of such an item.

Protection of sources is an ethical right to the profession, which like the medical and legal professions, is bound by special duties and rights.

Protection of sources is not a legal right and, especially when public safety or crime is concerned, the courts and other judicial bodies authorised to do so may require a person to reveal their sources of information. In such cases RTV Slovenia will not advise an employee to refuse to obey a court order. RTV Slovenia's legal counsel, however, would be available for advice and could take an action such as urging the court to weigh the public interest carefully before enforcing an order to break journalistic confidence or, if the order were insisted upon, requesting that the hearing be in camera.

5.3.1 Anonymous programme participants

Accuracy and integrity in journalism require that the identity and credentials of an interviewee be evident to the audience.

If an interviewee or any programme participant is anonymous, if the face or identity is concealed or the voice distorted, it is tantamount to concealing from the audience pertinent information required to judge that person's comments, and might further the chances of irresponsible statements by the participant.

There are occasions when the value of the information (measured in terms of the importance of bringing it to the attention of the public) that can be conveyed by an anonymous interviewee or participant outweighs the objections, and the technique may be used. For example, where the public identification of the interviewee may cause personal hardship, or where the interviewee is a person whose personal safety may be jeopardised by identification, anonymity may be justified.

Cases in which an anonymous interview is warranted require the prior approval of the editor-in-chief of information programming.

5.3.2 Refusal of appearance in a programme

Anyone has a right to refuse to appear in a programme. When the audience might reasonably ask why an individual is not represented, it might be right to explain a refusal to appear.

5.3.3 Embargoes

Editors and journalists have to observe embargoes on certain material. Sometimes it may be possible to persuade the source of information to lift or vary its embargo. If embargoes are broken by other media, RTV Slovenia will in each case consider the justification for doing so.

5.4 News

News is a basic journalistic category. News has to be clear, indubitable, exact and open to corroboration. News should not include elements of commentary. RTV Slovenia refrains from broadcasting so called commented news, which may be biased or misleading. Where it is not possible to check all facts, the news sources need to be clearly stated (STA, Reuters, etc.).

5.5 Reports

Reports are the most widespread category in information programming. Reporters and authors of news reports have to report on facts. All facts reported have to be verified; where verification is not possible, we need to clearly state the sources. Reports do not include elements of commentary and RTV Slovenia refrains from broadcasting commented reports.

5.6 Interviews

The interviewer must inform the interviewee before the interview about the purpose for which it will be used. The interviewee must also be given some indication of the probable length of the interview to be included in the programme, recognising that such length is no more than an estimate, and that in some cases the interview may not be used at all. In using an interview, RTV Slovenia must conduct itself in accordance with conditions agreed to prior to the interview.

When two or more people are individually interviewed for the same programme or series of programmes, no one participant may be shown or allowed to hear the comments of the other(s).

The interviewee has to be informed about the contents of the interview.

Anyone expressing contentious views during an interview must be rigorously tested. People in power and those seeking it, or those who advocate or criticise policies must be approached with a broad consistency of tone. RTV Slovenia's interviews should not appear to be sympathetic to a particular position if that position is controversial. They should be professional: searching for answers and clarifying dilemmas. Journalists should avoid impressions of bias through tone and inflexion or through careless wording. If an interviewee refuses to give an interview unless questions are rigidly agreed in advance, programme makers must consider carefully whether it is appropriate to proceed at all. If they decide to do so, they should make clear on air the conditions under which the interview was obtained.

Not all interviews will be challenging. Some are designed to inform, explain or entertain. The techniques appropriate to this purpose are different. People interviewed as eye-witnesses or as experts may need to be encouraged rather than challenged. In the case of interviews of parties to different sides of a subject, editors are obliged to give the other side the opportunity of rebuttal in the following edition of the programme. When interviewing is recorded for later editing, interviewees should be dealt with fairly. This includes telling them that their contribution will be edited. An interviewee who is asked to reply to detailed criticism should be given an opportunity to respond to each of the main points of substance made by the interviewee in the full recording. Choosing only the weaker responses of an interviewee in preference to effective rebuttal is unfair.

Programmes should be wary of agreeing to treat "as live" an interview which is to be recorded. Circumstances may well change before a transmission, which would render inappropriate the use of a recording in its entirety.

5.6.1 Phone-out interviews

The person called must be informed of the purpose of the interview, and permission obtained from them before the interview is broadcast.

When phone-outs are for back-to-back interviews of parties to different sides of a dispute, the first interviewee must be informed of the presence of the second before the interview begins and, if warranted, offered the opportunity of a brief rebuttal.

When the subject is a matter of public controversy, balance is mandatory.

5.7 Commentary

The mission of RTV Slovenia requires that it informs the audience as extensively as possible in a balanced and unbiased manner on events of national and international importance. Although journalists may have shaped opinions on the subject matter they report, they may in no case use only those facts that suit their personal opinion. When broadcasting the subjective opinion of a journalist, it needs to be clearly signalled to the audience. Since subjective opinion can be based on certain, very often partial facts, editors have to ensure the schemes and contents of commentaries are as pluralistic as possible. Commentaries need to balanced over a certain period of time, including all major viewpoints on an issue. No journalist or editor employed at RTV Slovenia holds a monopoly regarding commentaries. The same applies to freelance commentators.

5.8 Payments

As a general rule, RTV Slovenia does not pay news sources.

5.8.1 Payment to news sources

If exceptional payment to sources should be contemplated, approval of the editor-in-chief is required. The fact that such payments were made must be reported in the broadcast.

5.8.2 Payment of fees

On the other hand, there is a requirement, in certain circumstances, to pay persons asked to participate in information programming. The determination of such payments is guided by the existing performers' scale of RTV Slovenia.

5.8.3 Payments to MP's, state counsellors, ministers, government and party officials

RTV Slovenia will not make payment of any kind for any purpose to the mentioned officials. This prohibition applies to all payments, including performing fees, script rights, travel or living costs, or other out-of-pocket expenses.

5.9 Coverage of exceptional events

5.9.1 Coverage of demonstrations

Protests and demonstrations and the right to conduct them take many forms, including marches, the occupation of buildings or other places, picket lines, sit-ins, hunger strikes and similar initiatives by individuals or groups.

Many public events are planned and conducted largely with media coverage in mind. Protests and demonstrations are no different. The exercise of their own rights and freedoms by protestors should not, through the action of RTV Slovenia, result in the loss of the rights and freedoms of others.

The potential for manipulation of coverage is often great. RTV Slovenia's journalists are to observe the following guidelines:

a) The decision to cover a demonstration should not be communicated to anyone outside RTV Slovenia. The prospect of coverage may influence attendance and plans.

b) Journalists must maintain their distance from organisers and demonstrators.

c) Reporting teams should be wary of persons or groups who are clearly performing for the cameras or microphones.

d) Reporting teams must not make any suggestions or requests to demonstrators which could lead to the staging of events.

e) Journalists should inquire into and report on the identity of the organisers, the purpose of the demonstration and the number of participants.

f) When a planned public event is disturbed by a demonstration, the event itself should still receive the coverage it deserves.

g) The decision to broadcast a report must be based on the importance of the event, protest or demonstration, rather than on the sounds and images it provides.

5.9.2 Civil disorder

In some cases of riots or civil disorder, it is clear that the presence of cameras and microphones has provoked violence.

When plans are being made for the coverage of events where civil violence may be expected, every precaution should be taken to ensure that the presence of RTV Slovenia's journalists, cameras or microphones is not a provocation. If their presence is evidently inspiring a potentially dangerous situation, they should cease using recording equipment and, in some circumstances, even conceal it.

5.9.3 Terrorism

RTV Slovenia's journalists must ensure that any action they take will not further endanger the lives of hostages or interfere with the efforts of authorities to secure hostages' release.

When reporting on terrorist acts, RTV Slovenia's journalists and camera crews should obey the following guidelines:

a) Any direct communication from terrorists/hostage takers which contains information about current or contemplated acts of terrorism should be reported immediately to the editor-in-chief of information programming.

b) No live recorded broadcast of a statement by or interview with a terrorist/hostage taker or hostage may occur without authorisation from the editor-in-chief in information programming. Such authorisation will only be provided in exceptional circumstances.

c) Statements or demands by terrorists/hostage takers form an integral part of the incident. In most cases, however, these should be broadcast in summary or edited form to avoid the danger of manipulation.

d) Telephone or other direct contact with hostages or terrorists/hostage takers or both should only be undertaken if, in the judgement of the editor-in-chief in information programming, such activity does not interfere with the authorities' communications or further jeopardise the safety of hostages.

e) Reporters and producers should promptly convey to the editor-in-chief in information programming any request made by the authorities to delay the broadcasting of certain information regarding the crisis or investigation in progress or on the grounds of safety.

5.10 Reporting crime and accidents

When reporting crime and accidents, we should refrain from sensationalism. Television and radio may add to people's fear of becoming victims of crime. We should try to avoid creating unfounded panic, but must strive for balanced crime coverage, making people aware of the danger of violent crime. When reporting crime, we have to consider that the right to information is not to be set above the right to the privacy of individuals.

5.10.1 Professional means

5.10.1.1 Text

A text should focus on the facts. The principle that anyone is innocent until a court finds them guilty applies here. When reporting on criminal acts, we may talk about suspects, not about criminals. Where there is no information from official sources available, we have to clearly signal from which sources information used by the journalist has been gathered.

For example, we cannot say "has allegedly...", "the word is...", but we have to state a source like "the victim's neighbours say", "his colleagues are convinced", "the majority of villagers claim", "witnesses convinced us that they saw...", etc.

The journalist should preferably rely on findings by the investigating authorities, the police and experts.

Where the journalist discovers ambiguity, contradiction, deception, inactivity or deviation in an official investigation and has gathered sufficient material for a parallel journalistic investigation, they must inform the editor-in-chief.

Official sources publish the initials of suspects. When public figures are concerned (in politics, sports, show-business, etc.), the full name may be published upon prior approval by the editor-in-chief. Reference to the source should be made.

5.10.1.2 Picture

When recording and editing crime reports we need to consider that it is not in accordance with our professional and ethical standards to:

a) show helpless crime victims, accidents, close-up shots of blood on faces, bodies, etc.; such scenes need to be shot from a distance, where details that might reveal the identity of the victim are not recognisable. A piece of advice that might make it easier to select the scenes to be edited: the photographer and editor should try to familiarise themselves with the emotional state of the close relatives who learn about an accident on television.

b) Showing license plates, house numbers and other details that might indirectly reveal a victim's identity; the same principle applies here: the photographer and editor have to select footage that does not allow identification of a victim.

c) Showing the accused's appearance in court, when in custody, before the verdict, except when it is happening in court on judicial order.

 

6 RELATIONS WITH STATE AUTHORITIES/GOVERNMENT BODIES

Although established by the Republic of Slovenia, RTV Slovenia acts as an independent and autonomous public service broadcaster. Programme management and journalists co-operate with government/official bodies on an equal level, and do not take or execute their orders or instructions.

The programmes of RTV Slovenia provide integral and detailed reporting on the work of government and other official bodies and cover with due accuracy and in detail the viewpoints of the opposition and the representatives of civil society.

Editors and journalists should keep a professional distance from all instruments of power, since they might otherwise jeopardise the integrity of the institution for which they work.

Legal provisions on state and military secrets impose an obligation on officials and institutions keeping such documents. A military or official secret might in certain circumstances serve as a cover for the interests of individuals, groups or services wishing to conceal important facts or illegal proceedings from the public. The publication of a document which might jeopardise state safety is decided by the editor-in-chief in agreement with the director of programming.

6.1 Relations with the army

In covering military issues, the programme management of RTV Slovenia respects the democratic principle that the army is subject to civil authority.

6.2 Relations with the police

RTV Slovenia helps the public by broadcasting police messages or warnings of traffic problems or emergencies. News programmes, especially at regional and local level, will usually carry police appeals for information about serious crime.

The programmes of RTV Slovenia portray the police as they portray any other state organ. Information programming/news programmes have to explore the role of the police impartially and dispassionately.

Some police forces permit groups of journalists to accompany officers on particular operational duties. Editors and journalists must consider the pros and cons of accepting these invitations. There is a clear public benefit in seeing the operations carried out, but there are risks too. The event may be aimed principally at gaining favourable publicity; it may offer only partial access to a wider operation; and coverage may risk making the media appear part of the operation itself.

The police may try to secure access to untransmitted material recorded during any criminal investigation. Editors and journalists need to consider the issues this may raise before they go on any operation.

 

7 IMITATIVE AND ANTI-SOCIAL BEHAVIOUR

Audiences are concerned about the possibility of people imitating behaviour that they watch or listen to on television or radio. We should try to ensure that anti-social or criminal behaviour portrayed in programmes cannot be copied, and particular care should be taken when dealing with criminal techniques.

The factual reporting of murder and suicide should avoid graphic details. Programmes should avoid drawing attention to certain murder methods. Particular care should be taken in making editorial judgements about any drama that seems to exploit or glorify suicide or murder.

Smoking and drinking in children's programmes should generally be avoided. In both drama and factual programmes there are, on the other hand, cases where smoking is essential to a character or story. In general programmes such as studio debates, smoking is likely to be objectionable, as well as any kind of drug taking. Participants in general programmes of RTV Slovenia do not smoke on air. The drinking of alcohol should not be glorified.

7.1 Clandestine methods of news gathering

Clandestine methods of news gathering should only be employed with due regard to their legality, to considerations such as fairness and invasion of privacy and whether the information to be obtained is of such significance as to warrant being made public, but is unavailable by other means.

7.2 Misrepresentation

Deception must not be used to gain information. RTV Slovenia's employees, therefore, should not misrepresent themselves or their purposes to gain it.

However, there may be occasions when it serves a legitimate programme purpose for a journalist not to declare his or her profession, but to seek information as an ordinary member of the public. Occasions of this sort might occur, for example, during investigations of schemes to defraud the public. These investigations would usually be carried out in places to which the general public has access.

If it is considered important and in the public interest to seek information, without disclosing a journalistic purpose, in places in which the public normally does not have access, approval of the editor-in-chief in information programming must be obtained.

7.3 Hidden cameras and microphones

As a general rule, hidden cameras and microphones must not be used to gather information.

There may be occasions, however, when the use of such concealed recording devices may be regarded as being in the public interest. Occasions of this sort, for example, could include a report on the selling of drugs on the streets.

Even when justified, covert recording risks damaging public trust in RTV Slovenia. Consequently, prior authorisation must be obtained from the editor-in-chief of programming. Authorisation may be given only if the information gained serves an important purpose, is indispensable to that purpose and cannot be obtained by more open means. Moreover, it must concern serious crimes.

Light entertainment and similar programmes may include street polls if the people who feature prominently in these recordings have given their permission before the material is broadcast.

7.4 Leakage of official/confidential information

Leakage of information from governmental institutions is a special form of anonymous informing used when certain state officials wish to inform the public about confidential subjects. Such information may be useful, but it carries with it the possibility of being misleading, since the main aim of informants is not always to reveal the truth. Therefore, the publication of such information is always an ethical challenge to editors and journalists. Information from such sources has to be checked carefully regarding credibility and aim. However, it may constitute an important part of news reporting.

 

8 INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM

Investigative journalism calls for heightened skills and the maintenance of strict standards of accuracy. Investigative journalism must not be conducted without adequate resources and the time needed for exhaustive research.

Programmes may lead the audience to conclusions on the subject being examined. These must be logical conclusions derived from the facts and not from expressions of editorial opinion or unfair methods of presentation. It is essential, therefore, that to conform to the principles of accuracy, integrity, fairness and comprehensiveness, the programmes must be based on the most scrupulous and painstaking research. They should take into account all the relevant evidence available and include recognition of the range of opinion on the matter in question.

The opportunity for a response is essential to investigative programming. In the interest of fairness, opportunity must be given for all parties directly concerned to state their case.

To avoid the possibility of being manipulated into advancing inaccurate or biased information, the journalist must carefully check the reliability of a source and must obtain corroborative evidence from other pertinent sources.

 

9 INFORMATION PROCESSING

9.1 Hosts and interviewers

Host and interviewers must treat their guests fairly. They should not be critical or demanding of some, while conciliatory and sympathetic to others.

It is also essential for the maintenance of their credibility that they refrain from personal advocacy, not only in their public statements, but also in their handling of discussions and their selection of questions.

9.2 Reporters

The role of the reporter is to convey news to the audience, with maximum fairness, accuracy and integrity.

In providing comprehensive coverage, reporters may want to offer some context to news events. To do this, they may present an explanation of the background to the event based on careful research. They must not, however, express or reflect their personal opinion or bias.

The objective in providing context and analysis is to ensure that the audience, which relies on broadcast journalism as a primary source of information, is given as clearly as possible an explanation of news events, personalities and issues.

9.3 Guest commentators

The guest commentator is by definition engaged to pass judgement on public affairs. Because of its character as a publicly owned institution, RTV Slovenia does not adopt as its own the opinions of those commentators whom it invites to articulate the various shades of current opinion on a given subject. RTV Slovenia's concern is to ensure the presentation of a wide spectrum of opinion, particularly when the matter is sharply controversial and, where relevant, to reflect the different regions of the country. RTV Slovenia therefore seeks to select commentators whose background qualifies them to give expert opinions based on accurate information.

Any relevant aspect of a commentator's credentials must be clearly summarised, so that the audience may have a perspective from which to appraise the speaker's view. For example, the position and affiliation of a journalist or the particular qualifications of an academic or any other type of speaker should be stated. The descriptions "free-lance broadcaster" or "free-lance writer" do not meet this requirement.

9.4 Editing

The editing process must result in a true reflection of what was originally seen and heard.

In spite of the time limitations imposed by radio and television production, the editing of items needs to be concise and clear.

What in fact results from selection and editing is a compression of reality, a slice of reality, which must nonetheless reflect the essential truth without distortion.

9.5 Editing interviews

The following are important guidelines for editing interviews:

a) Questions and answers must not be edited so as to change the original meaning, or distort the sense of the original interview as a whole.

b) Answers to questions given in one context must not be edited into another.

c) An answer to a question must not be placed in a programme so that it purports to be an answer to a question other than that actually posed.

d) In cases where the editing process requires repeating questions, reactions or cut-aways, the nature and intent of the original response must be preserved.

e) Listeners and viewers must not be misled into thinking a discussion is taking place between people when no such discussion was recorded.

f) For reasons of fairness and professionalism, recorded interviews must not be added to, changed, distorted or completely new questions by the interviewer given.

9.6 Use of library material

The audience must be advised when audio or visual material was recorded much in advance of the programme, particularly if the speaker's views or known information on the subject have changed in the interim.

Re-use of an interview or part of an interview should be handled in such a way that the context of the original interview is not distorted.

9.7 Editorial use of technology

Special effects, including sound effects, should be used with particular care in the presentation of journalistic material. On the rare occasions when they are used, rigorous judgement must be applied to ensure that they do not distort reality or have the effect of producing editorial comment.

Accuracy and integrity can be compromised by the abuse of the technology of radio and television, which offers a wide variety of visual and sound effects, to modify what is being broadcast. Information programming of RTV Slovenia, including information programmes on culture and sport, should therefore avoid the use of misleading special effects made possible by analogue radio and television technology, as well as by digital computer-driven technologies which create a world of virtual reality.

On occasions when the use of special effects is essential or suits the aim of the programme best, their use should be clearly signalled to the audiences.

9. 8 Composition of pictures

A basic feature of television communication is the picture as a portrayal of the temporal and spatial dimensions of the event or proceeding.

Due to their predominant suggestive power, camera shots are decisive factors in establishing emotional and rational identification, creating impressions, judgements and opinions on the recorded and broadcast material. In general, there are two prevailing camera approaches, the subjective or personal (used in fiction programmes) and the objective or reporting (used in factual programmes). An explicitly subjective approach is in general not appropriate in factual programmes.

The pictures or the shots in factual programmes are to reflect the event or proceeding objectively. This should give the viewer the chance to obtain a realistic and complete impression of what was really going on and happened. The only eligible fictional element is duration, when the real duration of the event is adapted by cutting and editing to a suitable time frame. Live transmissions of events or proceedings constitute an exception.

Visual means permit unintended or deliberately false portrayals of events, circumstances or personalities. Therefore, we should carefully consider camera angles, post-production changes and changes of content caused by the application of technical means. The application of such procedures might result in a distorted and misconstrued portrayal of reality, imposing one-sided views upon the audience.

9.8.1 Recording, selection of camera frames and angles

The message and the portrayal of objects or personalities may be widely modified by the use of camera angles and frames. Therefore, in factual programmes we should refrain from using low or high camera angles when portraying personalities, especially public figures.

9.8.1.1 A low camera angle gives the viewer raises the status in the portrayed personality, whereas a high camera angle causes exactly the opposite effect.

9.8.1.2 Close-ups and wide plans have a certain psychological effect and carry certain implications. Factual programmes should refrain from their use if they do not serve any other purpose than to over-emphasise the features and reactions of a personality.

9.8.1.3 Camera angles and techniques revealing the private life and reactions of the portrayed individual or intimate details may be employed only upon prior approval by the individual portrayed.

9.8.2 Editing

The editing of recorded material is an essential and legitimate technique of journalism as long as, by repeating sequences or adding inauthentic scenes, it does not distort the objective reflection of events or developments.

9.8.3 Use of post-production computer technology

The use of computer animation and special effects may compromise the authenticity and integrity of recorded material. In factual programmes we should therefore refrain from using effects such as stop motion, slow motion, double exposure or other effects modifying what is being broadcast if they are not employed for the purpose of carrying more detailed information on an event, development or personality.

9.9 Reconstruction and simulation of an event

Any reconstruction or simulation must coincide as closely as possible with the event that it purports to portray.

A reconstruction or simulation can be the most effective means of conveying certain types of information, such as space exploration or the events surrounding an accident. If an event or portion of an event is reconstructed or simulated in the course of a programme, this must be made clear to the audience by audio or visual means.

9.10 Library material

9.10.1 Labelling of library material

Library material used to illustrate topical events or issues needs to be clearly signposted. Library material should not be used to illustrate an event in a way that would lead the viewers and listeners to believe that it is an actual event.

9.10.2 Abuse of library material

The use of library material must be clearly signalled if it is not obvious from the context of the report, especially in news and current affairs programmes, where library material should be labelled "library material" and the date it was recorded.

We should not use library material to illustrate events in a way that might be misleading the audience.

a) Library material of an event should not be used to illustrate another event in a way that would lead the viewers and listeners to believe that it is an actual event.

b) Dramatised portrayals or reconstructions must not be presented as documentary material. When using a dramatised scene as a story-telling device in a documentary film due to a lack of authentic material, it has to be clearly signalled to the audience,

c) An event may be reconstructed with the prime purpose of conveying factual information due to a lack of authentic material and must be clearly signalled. Audiences must not be in doubt as to where a reconstruction begins and ends.

d) The constant repetition of the same material for illustrating different subjects explored in news and current affairs programmes might be misleading, especially when it includes pictures of identifiable people.

9.11 Library material portraying crime

We need to take care in repeating library material relating to crimes or to victims. Each use of such material needs a separate decision requiring judgement and taste

a) Do not use library material of one identifiable crime to illustrate another.

b) It will rarely be appropriate to use pictures of the scene of a crime to preview a forthcoming inquest or trial.

c) When selecting illustrative library material, we have to avoid inattentive and frequent use of racial, national, religious, sexual and other stereotypes.

9.12 Mixture of actuality and dramatisation

Journalistic programmes must not as a general principle mix actuality (visual and audio of actual events and of real people) with a dramatised portrayal of real or historical figures and events.

The audience must be able to judge the nature of the information received. The mixing of forms renders such a judgement difficult because it may lend the appearance of reality to a hypothesis.

Should a situation arise in which such a mixture of forms is the only adequate method to convey the necessary information, the dramatised portion must be well identified.

9.13 Satire

Satire should not be used in information programmes and should only exceptionally be used judicially with the main purpose of a serious examination of important questions. It is ambiguous enough in its effect that its use in such programmes may lead to confusion on the part of the audience about the nature and purpose of the programme. Satirical items should be so treated in presentation that the difference between genuine information, opinions and viewpoints and information presented from a humorous angle is easily recognised by the audience.

 

10 RESPECTING THE VALUES OF VIEWERS AND LISTENERS

10.1 Good taste

RTV Slovenia's programmes should be in good taste, that is to say, they should respect and reflect the generally accepted values in society regarding such matters as vulgarity, profanity, or sexual behaviour.

The audience for broadcast information is composed of different groups, and notions of good taste vary substantially among them. The broadcaster therefore cannot expect to enjoy the same complete freedom of expression of vocabulary or of visual presentation as is enjoyed by a book publisher, in live theatre or in the movies, whose readers and viewers by and large make conscious choices about what they read and see.

However, there will be occasions when in reflecting reality it would be inappropriate to excise certain uses of language or depictions of violence or sexuality which normally would be avoided. To do so would be to deny RTV Slovenia's audiences access to certain events which may contribute materially to an understanding of the world in which they live.

10.2 Reporting on health issues

RTV Slovenia's programmes respect as a general principle the Hippocratic oath requiring that nothing may be undertaken that could negatively affect the patient's health. Reporting on health issues should therefore respect the following principles:

  • Information and programmes broadcast should not put the viewers' and listeners' health at risk.
  • Before broadcasting, all facts with a potential influence on people's health need to be checked with medical experts, even if it might result in a delay in the production of the programme.
  • News and other programmes should not create false hope and expectations that a "miraculous new drug" is to be discovered soon.
  • Due to conflict of interest, we should refrain from the commercial advertising of medicine from individual manufacturers.
  • We adhere strictly to the principle of confidentiality of data on patients and their medical records. We must not, in any way, hurt a patient's feelings or human dignity. We must be fully aware of the fact that coverage might permanently change their lives.
  • We must consider ways of minimising the grief or distress of individuals, especially of children and the severely ill.
  • We should respect the privacy of the patient's next-to-kin and other relatives.
  • We should protect peoples' privacy also when covering natural disasters. Close-ups of injured, ill or otherwise affected persons should on such occasions when possible be avoided.
  • In case of doubt we will refrain from coverage on health issues.

10.3 Sex

Explicit scenes of nudity or eroticism are acceptable only if it is clear that they are essential to the information being conveyed in the programme and that such information is itself important enough to warrant broadcast. Such scenes must never be emphasised or used primarily to shock or for sensation.

10.4 Grief and suffering

Scenes of suffering are to be used only when necessary to an understanding of information important to the public. Discretion is necessary in showing harrowing sights and, if used, they should not be prolonged unnecessarily. Private grief may sometimes have a legitimate programme purpose, but must not be exploited for sensational effect and personal privacy must be respected.

10.5 Violence

Violence must not be exploited in the information programming of RTV Slovenia. It is our policy not to portray violence except where its depiction is an essential fact of the reality being portrayed.

The presentation of violent scenes or events must be an accurate reflection of reality and appropriate to the context of the programme.

10.6 Cautionary announcements

Should a programme contain material which may be disturbing to some segments of the audience (particularly children) because of scenes of violence, sexual behaviour, or language, cautionary announcements before or during the programme should be used.

10.7 Programme interruption

RTV Slovenia may inform the audience about exceptional events without waiting for the next news programme. Television may broadcast the information in sub-titles without interrupting the ongoing programme, whereas radio is bound to do so. Such interruptions should be clearly signalled and should be made only upon thorough editorial consideration regarding the appropriateness of the "latest news" indication in order to avoid unnecessary excitement and interruption in the regular programme. The decision to interrupt the programme in order to broadcast urgent news is taken by the editor in charge in agreement with the editor-in-chief.

10.8 Special features of radio

Radio is a generic medium that reaches the widest audience. Besides general information, radio programmes offer service information to the customer. This includes traffic information, information on exceptional events, weather phenomena and other information that is broadcast also on the basis of checked information, in order to prevent misuse and manipulation, passed on by listeners.

Radio programmes also broadcast emergency announcements when radio as a medium supports the search for a person, usually a close relative of a deceased person. An official death certificate has to be issued prior to broadcasting the call.

 

11 SPECIAL INTEREST PROGRAMMES

11.1 Programmes for ethnic minorities

Besides the legally secured amount of programming in the language of and for ethnic minorities, RTV Slovenia's programmes devote pertinent attention to the life and situation of both indigenous ethnic minorities in Slovenia, as well as to other ethnic groups living here.

The programmes are open to their incentives and issues of concern to them. As a public institution, RTV Slovenia has to respect their rights and contribute to their development. The coverage of issues concerning ethnic minorities and groups must also be one of the major focuses of prime time news and current affairs programmes of RTV Slovenia.

11.2 Slovenians living abroad

Slovenians living abroad are one of the major concerns of RTV Slovenia's programming. Their situation and work is reflected in all the programmes of RTV Slovenia. Special programmes cover their specific needs and miantain contacts with them.

11.3 Religious programmes

Religious programmes are a consistent part of RTV Slovenia's programming. The programme management of RTV Slovenia has to provide for a balanced representation of all religious communities registered at the Government Office for Religious Communities. Journalists in information programming may occasionally appear in religious programmes, and the same applies to journalists working on religious programmes, both with prior approval of the editor-in-chief.

11.4 Portrayal of religion and religious groups

People and countries should not be defined by their religions unless it is strictly relevant. Particular religious fractions should not be portrayed as speaking for their faith as a whole.

Words such as "fundamentalist", "militant" and "Islamist" should be used with great care. What may be a fair description of one group may not be true of all similar groups.

The Church cannot be used as a synonym for the catholic church. Many of the couple of dozen religious communities in Slovenia also use the term church; therefore, programmes need to state clearly to which church they are referring: Roman catholic, protestant, orthodox. In cases where the programme focuses on one church exclusively and it appears perfectly clear to the viewers and listeners from the context, we may use the term "the church" also for any religious community declaring itself a church.

11.5 International service

RTV Slovenia in the framework of its regular programmes broadcasts programmes in foreign languages aimed at international audiences.

It is a specific type of production considering the conventions and practice of the environments it aims at.

 

12 PORTRAYAL OF SPECIAL SECTIONS OF SOCIETY

RTV Slovenia has a responsibility to serve all sections and groups of society. While avoiding stereotypes and portraying the full range of roles, we must beware of the danger of depicting a society that does not exist. Where prejudice and disadvantage exist we need to report and reflect them in our programmes, but we should do nothing to perpetuate them.

Some concerns are common to all groups who feel inadequately portrayed in programmes. RTV Slovenia's programmes should not categorise Romany people as criminals, women as housewives, disabled people as victims, gay people as ineffectual, old people as incapable, or people of any particular profession, vocation or walk of life as inevitable figures of fun. People should appear in the full range of roles that reflect reality.

12.1 Portrayal of women

In spite of laws and changing attitudes, women are still discriminated against in some respects. It is therefore inappropriate to create and emphasise the impression that certain activities are the preserve of one sex only. Since for almost all professions there are comfortable alternatives which are not sexist, we should use these non-sexist terms.

12.2 Portrayal of people with disabilities

Programmes can be sensitive to the rights and dignities of disabled people without losing editorial strength. People with disabilities should not be patronised and characterised as either "brave heroes" or "pitiable victims". People with disabilities should be well represented in our programmes, and the audience should be accurately and impartially informed about and sensitised to their concerns and issues.

Special care needs to be paid so that the terminology used is modern and acknowledged by experts, and avoids the use of obsolete, offensive terms of every-day language.

Suitable terms are "disabled" or "disabled person". Furthermore, we can use "deaf" and "deafened" ("deaf and dumb" is hardly ever acceptable), "blind" or "visually impaired", "people with motive impediments" (speaking of "people in a wheelchair" or "persons who use a wheelchair"), "persons with intellectual disability" and others.

We refrain from using terms like "mentally handicapped", "defective", handicapped", "crippled", "retarded", etc. When referring to people who use wheelchairs, we do not use terms like "confined to a wheelchair" or "wheelchair-bound".

Before interviews and other programmes, editors and hosts should consult the disabled person on the subject and accept the terminology proposed. People with disabilities usually do not try to hide their disability and can talk about it bluntly and concretely. We should respect the wish of some groups of disabled people using special terminology that it be used by others.

When referring to disabled children, we speak of "children with special needs". In the same context we use the expression "children deaf and hard of hearing", "blind and visually impaired children", "children with motive impediments", "children with behaviour and personality disorder", "children with speaking disorder", etc.

People with disabilities have to be able to access the premises and studios where the programme is being produced and should be presented in the programme as they would wish.

12.3 Portrayal of sexual minorities

Homosexual people can be particularly subject to thoughtless and offensive stereotyping. These stereotypes might be even consolidated if programmes allow offensive assumptions or generalisations, while the approach of truthful portrayal might help to change them. In portraying sexuality, we have to avoid simplification, stereotypes and personal judgement. Homosexual relationships should be portrayed accurately and impartially as compared to heterosexual relationships.

Be sensitive to the effect of language. We must not confuse homosexuality with transvestism or trans-sexualism.

12.4 Portrayal of older people

The programmes of RTV Slovenia pay special attention to the portrayal of older people; the aim is to help to shape an appropriate public attitude to the ever-increasing number of older people. This includes programmes targeting older people, as well as programmes where they participate as contestants, competitors or artistes.

More and more older people lead vigorous and fulfilling lives. Images that concentrate on them as living on the margin, dependent, frail and passive, ignore reality and should therefore be portrayed realistically.

 

13 CHILDREN AND MINORS IN THE PROGRAMMES OF RTV SLOVENIA

Children can be involved in programmes in a number of ways: as actors, interviewees, participants in or subjects of a programme and even, occasionally, as programme makers themselves. The use of children in programmes often requires handling with great care: it can be difficult for programme makers to strike a balance between competing interests - those of the child, of the parent(s), and of the audience as a whole.

We should also respect the interest of children as viewers of and listeners to RTV Slovenia's programmes, whether these programmes are aimed specifically at them, or at a general audience.

It will often be appropriate to seek the consent of parents or legal guardians before interviewing young children, or otherwise involving them in programmes, and the younger or more vulnerable the child, and the more sensitive the subject matter, the more likely it is that consent will be essential. If children are to take part in programme making during school hours it is normally necessary to seek the consent of the school.

Where consent has been refused, reference should be made to the editor-in-chief before taking any decision to go ahead.

In the case of drama involving children's performances, if a child is required during school hours, the consent of the child's school is required.

Journalists and other programme makers should consider carefully the impact of programmes on a child involved in it, both in the way it is made, and any possible impact it may have when broadcast.

Programme makers may need to consult professionals and experts when dealing with children.

When dealing with dangerous or illegal activity among children, such as drug taking or prostitution, it is often advisable for programme teams to be accompanied by independent experts throughout their contact with the children.

When factual programmes feature children involved in illegal or anti-social activity, identification may raise difficult ethical issues. There may be a public interest in identifying the children concerned, but the longer term interests of the child may argue for anonymity. Programme makers should refer to a more senior programme maker where they are in doubt about the balance of interest. Parental consent may not be a sufficient reason to identify a child if the child's long term future would be better served by anonymity.

When recording anti-social or criminal practices by children with the intention of highlighting the practice rather than the individuals, the general rule is that individual children will not be identified.

Interviews with children need particular care. Children can be easily led in questioning and are often open to suggestion. Young children in particular may have difficulty in distinguishing between reality and fantasy. Programme makers should be careful of prompting children and should allow them speak for themselves. Children should not be talked down to or patronised.

Any matters leading to the identification in the youth court proceedings of a witness, defendant or other party in those proceedings who is under 18 may not be revealed. The restrictions include the naming of schools and of addresses. No picture of a person under 18 can be broadcast. A child involved in criminal proceedings as a defendant (known as the "accused"), a victim or a witness cannot be identified.

The same is valid for care proceedings, adoption, guardianship and similar concerns.

Child victims of sexual offences may not be identified either.

It is usually contempt of court to broadcast detailed accounts of proceedings in any court sitting in private. This includes proceedings involving warships and the adoption or guardianship of an infant. In wardship cases it is not contempt to report the court's order or an accurate summary of it, unless the court expressly forbids this.

 

14 INTERFERENCE

14.1 Requests to RTV Slovenia to withhold material

Once material is recorded in accordance with journalistic policies, it may be used for broadcast provided no considerations intervene outweighing the programme need, and no other agreement was made at the time of recording.

Good judgement must be exercised to balance the reasons for a request to withhold material against programme requirements. Such reasons could include compassionate grounds or a lapse of time during which the context may have changed.

If requests are made to withhold material from broadcast after it has been willingly recorded, producers and supervisors must consider the nature of the agreement which was made at the time of the recording. If the projected use of the material is in accordance with that agreement, and provided no other considerations intervene, a request to withhold the material from broadcast should not be granted.

Efforts should always be made to explain the position of RTV Slovenia.

14.2 Veto of programme material by invited programme participants

Participants in programmes will not be granted the right to veto any portion of a programme.

The responsibility for programme material cannot be transferred from RTV Slovenia, which is solely responsible for what it broadcasts, and for ensuring programmes follow its journalistic policies.

Invited participants will have a particular view of the subject of a programme and of their role in or opinion of the subject. RTV Slovenia must not expose itself to pressures from one or more participants. Unfairness and lack of balance could be the result.

14.3 Censorship

According to the constitution of the Republic of Slovenia, which provides for the right to free and independent information, any kind of censorship is illegal and unethical. The editors and journalists of RTV Slovenia must not succumb to any kind of pressure, direct or indirect, to censor their programmes. Furthermore, they will not escape into different forms of conformist self-censorship, since conformism is not consistent with independent journalism. The particular care that needs to be undertaken when broadcasting unofficial Internet information cannot be equated with censorship. Where programme material has been affected as a result of submission to censorship, authorities, editors and journalists or the programme management will identify it on air. Where such restrictions have affected the reporting of journalists from abroad, it should be brought to the attention of the audience at the time of the broadcast.

 

15 RIGHT TO CORRECTION

RTV Slovenia will not hesitate to admit a material error when it is established that one has been made. To do otherwise or to defend a programme exhibiting poor taste or unacceptable ethics or containing errors would lead inevitably to loss of credibility.

Errors of facts must be corrected clearly and promptly in order to maintain the principles of accuracy and fairness. The editor-in-chief of news and current affairs programmes must be consulted to determine the nature and time of the correction. A correction may refer to the inaccurately stated facts and cannot considerably exceed the length of the original inaccurate broadcast.

A correction may, in some circumstances, involve a retraction or an apology and have legal implications.

 

16 THE OMBUDSMAN/GUARDIAN OF PROFESSIONAL STANDARDS AND THE PRINCIPLES OF JOURNALISTIC ETHICS

The guardian of professional standards and the principles of journalistic ethics in the programmes of RTV Slovenia supervises the implementation of the professional standards and principles of journalistic ethics defined by this document. Furthermore, the journalist protects the interests of the license fee payers, as well as those of journalists and other radio and television programme makers, against groundless complaints and criticism and against unfounded measures taken by individual editors.

In accordance with the laws governing RTV Slovenia, listeners and viewers have to turn first to the editors-in-chief of the individual radio and television programmes of RTV Slovenia with their complaints, proposals and suggestions. If they are not satisfied with their response or actions, they may pursue their concern further with the guardian of professional standards and ethical principles.

The guardian acts as a registry of the complaints, initiatives and inquiries of viewers and listeners and those of the employees of RTV Slovenia; in addition to that, he or she may start proceedings on his or her own initiative. The guardian has to establish in the initial phase of every proceeding, whether and which professional standards and ethical principles of RTV Slovenia have been infringed. The guardian reports their findings to the individual or institution/organisation that filed the complaint, initiative or inquiry, the directors of radio and television programmes and the editor-in-chief of the programme that supposedly caused the infringement.

In cases that meet a wider public response regarding a programme that supposedly infringed professional standards and ethical principles and that are of wider interest to a wider audience than just the complainant, it is the guardian's task to "publish" them.

The guardian of professional standards and ethical principles is an organ of the Council of RTV Slovenia and has to report to it regularly. Programme management has to give the guardian the opportunity to "publish" findings occasionally in special radio and television programmes.

The decisions of the guardian of professional standards and ethical principles are binding on all radio and television programme makers of RTV Slovenia.

The statutes of RTV Slovenia define in detail who may be elected guardian of professional standards and ethical principles of RTV Slovenia, what conditions candidates for the office of guardian have to fulfil. The methods and procedures of the institution of the guardian of professional standards and ethical principles are defined by the Council of RTV Slovenia.

 

17 MANDATORY REFERRAL

Journalists, editors and other radio and television programme makers of RTV Slovenia have to inform their senior editors about their work and consult them on contentious issues that might meet a wide public response. If the coverage of such issues would represent an infringement of the professional standards and ethical principles of RTV Slovenia, the final decision on how journalists and other programme makers are to act is taken by the editor-in-chief of the radio or television programme that is to broadcast the material in question. In spite of hierarchy principles, editors are not authorised to change, adapt or considerably shorten material without the consent of the journalist.

Journalists and other programme makers consult and refer to their senior editors, who inform and consult the editors of individual programmes, who refer to the editors-in-chief.

The editor-in-chief, the programme editor, the editor of the department and the editor of the individual programme are obliged to give the junior editor or journalist the chance to discuss the matter or to seek consultation.

 

18 LEGAL ASSISTANCE TO JOURNALISTS AND EDITORS

It is the responsibility of RTV Slovenia to provide legal advice and assistance to journalists and editors, even if they have infringed professional standards and ethical principles, committed an offence or breach of the law or any other provision of the Republic of Slovenia or the country they report from.

Legal assistance is implemented in order to prevent cases in which the principles of accuracy, impartiality and credibility of RTV Slovenia's programmes might be endangered, financial or material loss caused or damage done to the reputation of an individual or the whole institution of RTV Slovenia.

In order to avoid the impression of partiality in favour of its employees, the management of RTV Slovenia is obliged to procure legal assistance from independent experts, respected jurists and lawyers in conditions that will allow the timely preparation, production, execution and broadcast of items and programmes. RTV Slovenia will bear the costs of legal assistance. However, it has the right to deny legal assistance to an employee deliberately and evidently breaching the law and the principles laid down in this document.

 

19 ADVERTISING, PROMOTION AND SPONSORING IN THE PROGRAMMES OF RTV SLOVENIA

19.1 Ethical advertising criteria

The programmes of RTV Slovenia will undertake to broadcast only advertisements that conform to the law and ethical principles:

  • The messages conveyed in commercials must be truthful. Airing misleading commercials is unethical and illegal.
  • Prices stated must be accurate and not be misleading to the consumer.
  • Commercials must not compare different products.
  • Incomplete and suitable commercials for a product or service that may be misleading to potential consumers are not to be aired.
  • Commercials shall not act against the good taste, as well as religious and other feelings of viewers and listeners.
  • Commercials aimed at children need special attention; they must not contain any elements that might endanger their health, safety or education. The same criteria apply to commercials that feature children or that show child exploitation.

The airing of commercials that do not conform to these criteria shall be rejected by the programme management.

RTV Slovenia will make every effort to support humanitarian projects and organisations.

19.2 Advertising and promotion

The programmes of RTV Slovenia shall air commercial advertisements in accordance with the provisions laid down in the statutes of RTV Slovenia.

The airing of commercials can be ordered only through the Marketing Service Department of RTV Slovenia. Except for the Marketing Service Department, no other department is permitted to place commercial advertisements in the programmes of RTV Slovenia.

The Marketing Service Department will assess, when launching a commercial advertisement in its programmes, the compliance of its contents, portrayal, communication and technical aspects with the criteria of the Advertising Code, the recommendations of the Council of Europe, the EGTA and other international conventions.

Airing of a commercial that complies with all criteria may not be prevented.

The Marketing Service Department has to reject broadcasting of a commercial advertisement where:

  • content does not comply with legal provisions;
  • a commercial does not comply with the programme principles of RTV Slovenia;
  • a commercial is not in compliance with current legislation or the Slovenian Advertising Code;
  • the contents or portrayal infringe international conventions on child protection;
  • the commercial tries to urge directly the purchasing of the product advertised;
  • the commercial conveys a message insulting a legal entity or private citizen or RTV Slovenia;
  • the content of the commercial (wording, music or picture) offend human dignity or the dignity of an individual or social group;
  • the commercial persuades or induces viewers to act in a way that might endanger their health, safety or the lives of individuals or social groups;
  • it advertises behaviour potentially endangering the environment;
  • it is in conflict with established norms and cultural values;
  • it abuses or insults the religious feelings or political conviction of individuals or social groups;
  • the message propagates religious, racial, age or national intolerance;
  • it portrays violence or pornographic scenes in a way that might be understood as an encouragement to indecent sexual behaviour in our cultural environment;
  • it defames, discredits or insults companies, organisations or societies, as well as governmental institutions and their representatives;
  • the commercial advertises an illegal product or service;
  • the commercial is not in the Slovenian language, or is a TV commercial that is not dubbed or sub-titled in Slovenian;
  • the client ordering the commercial is not registered for the business it advertises;
  • the commercial advertises for a broadcaster in direct competition with RTV Slovenia;
  • it advertises for a certain political party outside an election campaign;
  • the client does not abide with contractual provisions or act against the business conditions of RTV Slovenia;
  • the client or one of its individual members has liabilities to RTV Slovenia;
  • RTV Slovenia is involved in legal proceedings against the client due to outstanding liabilities;
  • the programme slots foreseen for advertising are already assigned;
  • the client does not submit the material on time;
  • the client does not submit a clearly defined order;
  • the recorded advertising material does not comply with the technical standards of RTV Slovenia;
  • the commercial is not labelled as required;
  • the text of the commercial has not been proof-read;
  • the commercial makes unauthorised use of RTV Slovenia's file material;
  • it advertises commercial telephone lines offering sexual or fortune-telling services.

The Marketing Service Department is in charge of advertising and promotion on the Teletext and Internet pages of RTV Slovenia.

The responsibility for advertising aired in the programmes of RTV Slovenia lies with the director-general of RTV Slovenia or their duly authorised representative.

The client ordering the broadcasting of the commercial is liable for the authenticity of the content.

RTV Slovenia does not allow hidden advertising in its programmes, including the intentional highlighting of products, services or companies in programmes.

Furthermore, mentioning a product (brand name) or service in programmes intended to raise sales is considered advertising.

Cases of possible hidden advertising in regular programmes are to be adjudicated by the director-general of RTV Slovenia or their duly authorised representative.

19.3 Advertising for charities and other social appeals

RTV Slovenia does not charge advertising for humanitarian organisations and social appeals.

Charitable organisations and foundations and social institutions that sign an appropriate written agreement with RTV Slovenia are entitled to free advertising. The Marketing Service Department will schedule advertising of and for humanitarian organisations according to special rules. All organisations and foundations should provide evidence (by authentic documents) of their humanitarian work.

Furthermore, non-profit organisers of cultural, scientific, professional and sports events are entitled to free advertising.

Free advertising on the programmes of RTV Slovenia is also available to social preventive campaigns or fund-raising campaigns for areas affected by natural disasters or catastrophes.

When granting free advertising space in the programmes of RTV Slovenia, priority shall be given to humanitarian organisations raising funds to help socially endangered individuals or groups, as well as people with disabilities in Slovenia.

19.4 Airing of public relations material

The Marketing Service Department of RTV Slovenia provides commercial clients with the opportunity to air specific promotional messages (public relations). Liability regarding the authenticity of the content lies with the client.

As specific messages are considered, all contributions aimed at creating or raising the reputation of a commercial entity or company by presenting its business, but are not aimed at the raising of sales of a certain brandname or service.

Political parties or election campaign organisers are not entitled to order broadcasts of this type.

Specific promotional messages should not feature individuals in order to raise their own individual reputation or in order to promote political or religious issues.

Specific promotional messages are subject to the same restrictions as other commercial advertisements in the programmes of RTV Slovenia.

News and current affairs items are not eligible for such messages.

Infringements of this provision are to be adjudicated by the editor-in-chief.

19.5 Journalists, presenters and editors appearing in advertising and promotional programmes

Editors, journalists and presenters of RTV Slovenia's programmes are not allowed to appear in commercial advertisements and promotional messages, nor are they permitted to contribute to the creation of commercials (in co-operation with advertising or PR agencies).

The director of programmes may permit exceptions as to appearances in advertising for humanitarian organisations.

These provisions do not apply to appearances in programmes promoting RTV Slovenia.

19.6 Sponsorship in programmes

Legal provisions allow the sponsorship of RTV Slovenia's programmes. In cases of programme sponsorship, the following criteria apply:

  • the sponsoring of any programme of RTV Slovenia shall not have any influence on its professional integrity, autonomy or financial independence;
  • sponsorship of factual programmes, due to the sensitivity of the issue, needs prior authorisation of the ddirector of programmes;
  • sponsorship of RTV Slovenia's programmes may not exceed 50% of the programme costs; programmes sponsored by humanitarian organisations or the state budget constitute an exception;
  • RTV Slovenia is entitled to participate as a tender in calls to apply for public funds;
  • names and titles of sponsors have to be published in the final credits of the sponsored programme.

Attracting sponsors for the individual programmes of RTV Slovenia falls under the competence of the Marketing Service Department. Formats presenting the image and message of the sponsor are decided by the editor-in-chief.

The airing of sponsored messages has to comply with advertising provisions and standards.

Business negotiations with sponsors are to be conducted exclusively by the duly authorised representative of the Marketing Service Department.

The sponsorship of programmes co-produced by RTV Slovenia and other producers must be settled in appropriate sponsorship contracts defining the criteria, formats, content and values with each sponsor separately.

 

20 ON-AIR APPEARANCE AND DRESS CODES

Journalists, radio and television presenters and editors must treat their guests and communicate with the public fairly and with due respect. However, it does not imply that they are not allowed to ask their interviewees open and detailed questions demanding clear answers.

On-air personnel of RTV Slovenia, as well as crews operating in public, must take care of their appearance. When covering formal events (sessions, congresses, exhibitions) and when hosting studio debates, presenters and journalists must appear in formal clothing. When covering outdoor events or crisis spots, the dress code need not be respected strictly. Personnel appearing in other programmes dress in accordance with the programme concept.

 

21 CONFLICT OF INTERESTS, RIGHTS AND DUTIES

Journalists, editors and other radio and television programme makers of RTV Slovenia may not use their position at RTV Slovenia or act against the accuracy, impartiality and credibility of RTV Slovenia's programmes, endanger the reputation of individuals or the institution as a whole or betray the viewer's and listener's trust in the programmes of RTV Slovenia by their public and political engagement, by their free-time activities, their private investments or financial interests.

Private use, financial profit or use to the benefit of a third party of the name, data, intellectual property, of technical and other equipment of RTV Slovenia is not permitted without authorisation.

No one is permitted to act against the interests of RTV Slovenia by using, copying or removing audio, video or graphic material or computer software created, produced or owned by RTV Slovenia and use it to the advantage of other broadcasters, independent producers or other interested groups.

21.1 Conflict of business and financial interests

If an employee, in the normal conduct of duties and responsibilities with RTV Slovenia, is faced with having to make a decision that involves, directly or indirectly, any from of discretionary control over family members or relatives or on business issues that involve a relative or even business partners of RTV Slovenia that might be in a competitive relationship with the employee's relatives, then that employee must not make any decision in this regard. This provision includes executives of RTV Slovenia, editors-in-chief and other editors and partners that have relatives working in RTV Slovenia's programme and technical production, as well as in marketing.

Employees in their own time may not work for organisations considered by RTV Slovenia to be in competition, if by so doing they act against the reputation and interests of RTV Slovenia. This includes rival radio and TV stations, radio and TV production or computer and software companies, publishers, news agencies and documentation services.

Employees of RTV Slovenia in their own time may not use their professional skills for the training of personnel in competitive companies or institutions.

These provisions do not apply in cases of employees being involved in scientific research carried out by national or foreign universities or faculties, participating at expert or professional conventions and seminars, or working in national or international professional and non-profit associations or institutions.

Furthermore, the provisions do not apply in cases of artistic engagement, scientific engagement at public universities and institutes, providing expertise to court authorities, or non-profit charitable activities that do not act against the reputation of RTV Slovenia.

The outside activities of RTV Slovenia's employees may not cause any expenses or otherwise act against the public institution. No employee is allowed to make use of RTV Slovenia's facilities for their outside activities.

21.2 Appearance and participation in rival electronic media

Employees of RTV Slovenia may, if approved in advance by the editor-in-chief, appear in the roles and types of radio and television programmes of rival broadcasters and other electronic media:

  • as interviewees in factual programmes;
  • in programmes presenting his/her artistic, publicist or scientific work;
  • as witness in documentary and education programmes;
  • as a jury member or spectator in entertainment programmes under the condition that the person's job is not mentioned.

21.3 Commercial activity

When acquiring equipment or services or entering into contracts on programme, technical or business co-operation, RTV Slovenia has not only to comply with legal requirements, but must undertake to protect its business interest and the reputation of RTV Slovenia.

Employees must not have any business or family connections with a company, organisation or individual outside RTV Slovenia that is engaged in or affected by product or service contracts with RTV Slovenia.

Employees of RTV Slovenia engaged in such activities are required to protect business interests and confidential information, as well as provide equal opportunities to qualified independent suppliers.

21.4 Financial journalism

The production of programmes on economic and business issues needs to be especially sensitive to potential conflicts of interest. Employees of RTV Slovenia may not own shares exceeding 1% in companies or corporations they cover and must not have family members or relatives on the board or management of the company. The programme management of RTV Slovenia must make every effort to ensure that none of the programme makers is influenced by financial interests. It is illegal to use programme information acquired in advance to trade ahead of the markets.

21.5 Gifts, benefits and other special considerations

Employees of RTV Slovenia must reject gifts, benefits or other special considerations offered by companies, organisations or individuals to influence their reporting or other work by neglecting the professional standards of accuracy, impartiality or accuracy of the programmes of RTV Slovenia or the business or other interests of the public institution. Employees must also reject goods, discounts, services, cash, gratuities or entertainment outside the normal scope of business hospitality (like business lunches or gifts of modest value).

These restrictions do not apply to the acceptance of reduced cost facilities granted to certain professional profiles with no regard to the employer.

As a general rule, RTV Slovenia finances the travel expenses of its employees. Directors of programmes may allow exceptions, when travel is financed by some governmental or other institution or company under the condition that it in no way interferes with the professional integrity of the broadcaster or the autonomy and independence of reporting. Such financing needs to be mentioned in the credits of the programme.

Employees have to reject gifts exceeding a value of 15,000 SIT. If rejection of such a gift is not possible for protocol or similar reasons, the gift must be transfered to the possession of RTV Slovenia.

Employees are not allowed to make private use of test or promotional vehicles offered to RTV Slovenia.

Awards won at festivals, contests or other national or international events belong as a rule to the awarded author or production crew (according to the rules of entry). If the award is handed over and cashed in by RTV Slovenia, the authors and production crew need to be informed and reimbursed the award money.

Award-winning authors and producers need to inform the director general of RTV Slovenia of this. The rules on annual awards foresee the financial recognition of programme, technical and business achievements of individuals.

21.6 Political, trade union and professional activities

Employees of RTV Slovenia are free to join political, trade union or professional organisations. The incompatibility of political and editorial or managerial functions is regulated by law and the statutes of RTV Slovenia.

If their political, trade union or professional activity does not interfere with working processes and responsibilities and does not infringe legal provisions on political propaganda, no employee of RTV Slovenia may be penalised or disciplinary procedures started against them.

Employees of RTV Slovenia standing for a seat in local elections, in the elections to the National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia, to the National Council or other offices defined by electoral law, have to inform the editor-in-chief in due time, at the latest when submitting their candidacy.

An employee is considered to participate in an election campaign when they appear on a party's approved list of candidates or as speaker or moderator of party assemblies or when they appear in election advertisements or promotional programmes.

During election periods candidates are not allowed to appear in the programmes of RTV Slovenia (except for election campaign programmes defined by law and the rules on election campaign programmes of RTV Slovenia); during this period the person is not allowed to perform the duties of editor, journalist or presenter.

During election campaigns candidates are allowed to take unpaid leave.

The possible changes to employment contracts due to the election of a candidate to a professional, political or government office are determined by law.

Membership and any other involvement in organisations operating secretly is not in compliance and represents a major infringement.

 

22 FINAL PROVISIONS

The professional standards and principles of journalistic ethics in the programmes of RTV Slovenia come into force upon ratification by the Council of RTV Slovenia.

Until a law on RTV Slovenia and the statutes of RTV Slovenia are amended, the function of the ombudsman/guardian of professional standards and principles of journalistic ethics in the programmes of RTV Slovenia are to be performed by the Council of RTV Slovenia.

The document shall be printed all shall be made accessible to the public in printed versions, as well as on the Teletext and Internet pages of RTV Slovenia and distributed to all employees in printed form.

Lendava, May 18, 2000

Janez Kocijančič, MA
Chairman of the Council of RTV Slovenia

 

The Professional Standards and Principles of Journalistic Ethics in the programmes of RTV Slovenia was adopted by the Council of RTV Slovenia at its 18th regular session, May 18, 2000.