According to the constitution of the Republic of Bulgaria and its international agreements in the field of human rights;
Affirming that everyone has the fundamental right to freedom of expression, access to information, protection of personal dignity and privacy, and the right to safety and security;
Reaffirming that the right of the media to operate without any censorship must be guaranteed;
Recognizing that to balance these rights, the media have both freedoms and responsibilities, both rights and duties;
By declaring that our main objective, adopting the spirit and letter of this Code, is to respect the right of the public to receive and disseminate reliable information so that citizens can play an active role in the conditions of a transparent democracy;
Recognizing our responsibility to respect these rights, we, the representatives of the Bulgarian media, accept the following principles:
1. PROVIDING RELIABLE INFORMATION TO THE PUBLIC
1.1.1 We will provide the public with accurate and verified information and will not intentionally hide or distort facts.
1.1.2 We will not publish information that we know to be false.
1.1.3 We will not mislead the public and will clearly indicate where manipulated texts, documents, images and sounds have been used.
1.1.4 We will clearly distinguish facts from comments and assumptions.
1.1.5 We will aim to present a variety of opinions and perspectives in comments and analysis.
1.1.6 When covering disputes, we will endeavor to give the affected parties an opportunity to express their position.
1.2.1 We will post a clear and sufficiently conspicuous correction as soon as it is proven that inaccurate or misleading information has been posted, and we will apologize if necessary.
1.2.2 We will provide a right of reply to individuals and organizations directly affected by inaccurate or misleading postings.
1.3.1 We will endeavor to verify information before it is published by seeking and using a variety of sources, and where possible will indicate its origin.
1.3.2 We prefer to use identified sources over anonymous ones whose honesty and reliability cannot be judged by the public.
1.3.3 We will not disclose our confidential sources of information.
1.3.4 We will always indicate when information has not been verified.
2. COLLECTION AND DISPLAY OF INFORMATION
2.1.1 We will collect information by fair and lawful means.
2.1.2 If we use decoys, hidden cameras and microphones or other special techniques, as well as concealing our professional identity, this will only be done if there is no other way to secure information that is extremely important to the public interest; we will indicate in the information that such methods have been used.
2.2.1 We will not use threats, coercion or harassment to collect information.
2.3.1 We respect everyone's privacy.
2.3.2 We will avoid publishing photographs and recordings taken outside of public places if the individuals concerned do not consent.
2.3.3 We will not add to the distress of people in distress or victims of crime and will communicate such information with compassion and restraint.
2.3.4 We will respect people's wish not to be disturbed in their grief.
2.3.5 Only a particularly important public interest can justify media interference in private and family life.
2.3.6 According to the practice of the European Court of Human Rights, public persons enjoy a lower degree of privacy protection and therefore information about their private life may be disclosed, but only when required by the public interest.
2.4.1 We will have a special responsibility to respect children's rights, including their right to be heard.
2.4.2 We will not take advantage of their inexperience and gullibility.
2.4.3 We will not publish information or photographs about the private lives of children unless it is of significant public interest.
2.4.4 We will not disclose the identity of children in trouble or involved in crime where it could harm them.
2.4.5 We will avoid interviewing children without the consent of responsible adults.
2.5.1 Respecting everyone's right to live in safety and security, we will not post material that incites or promotes hatred, violence or any form of discrimination.
2.5.2 We will not state race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, mental or physical condition if these facts are not material to the meaning of the information.
2.6 Crimes and Cruelty
2.6.1 We respect the presumption of innocence and do not qualify anyone as a "criminal" prior to conviction.
2.6.2 If we have reported allegations against someone, we will also report the outcome of the legal process.
2.6.3 We will exercise caution in disclosing the identity of victims of crime and witnesses of crime, particularly in cases of sexual abuse, unless the victims themselves agree to be identified.
2.6.4 We will refrain from glorifying or overly sensationalizing coverage of crime, violence and cruelty.
2.6.5 We will take care not to be used as a platform by those who promote, incite or practice violence; we will report their actions with due restraint and only if it is in the clear public interest to do so.
2.7.1 We will adhere to good tone and decorum in our postings.
2.8.1 When reporting suicides, we will avoid giving details of how they were committed to limit the risk of imitation
3. EDITORIAL INDEPENDENCE
3.1 We will not yield to political or economic pressure or influence.
3.2 We will clearly distinguish editorial decision-making from the media's commercial policy.
3.3 We will clearly distinguish editorial content from paid posts, advertising or sponsored material.
3.4 We do not accept any personal, political or financial incentives that may affect our ability to provide the public with accurate information.
3.5 We will not use our access to information as a means of personal gain, especially in relation to information about business developments and financial markets.
3.6 We will not cover events or topics in which we have a direct personal interest, or state our personal interests where relevant to the material.
3.7 We respect the journalist's right to refuse to perform tasks or to be named as the author of materials that violate the letter and spirit of this Code.
3.8 We will not pay sources for information, but where payment has been made to obtain information that the public has a right to know, we will clearly state that payment has been made for it.
4. MEDIA AND BETWEEN MEDIA RELATIONS
4.1 We believe that relationships between the media, as well as between media professionals working in them, should be characterized by mutual respect and fair competition, in order to preserve the authority of the profession.
4.2 We believe that the public has a right to know who owns and controls the media.
4.3 We consider all forms of plagiarism unacceptable.
4.4 We respect copyright and abide by copyright agreements.
4.5 Short excerpts from foreign material may be used without permission, but it must be stated from which media they are taken.
4.6 Longer excerpts or entire materials from other media may be used only with prior permission and credit to the author and media.
4.7 We will support our colleagues in other media when they are unfairly attacked or criticized. On the other hand, however, professional solidarity will not be an excuse for hiding or distorting information.
4.8 We believe that journalists who have complied with the letter and spirit of this Code but are prosecuted by third parties for their publications should be supported by the media in which they work.
5. PUBLIC INTEREST
5.1 Violation of the terms of this Code can only be justified if it is unequivocally proven that it was in the public interest.
5.2 For the purposes of this Code, information "in the public interest" should not be confused with information that is "interesting to the public"
5.3 A publication is "in the public interest" only when:
Is to protect health, safety and security;
Assists in the prevention and detection of serious crimes and abuse of power;
It protects the public from the danger of being seriously misled.
1. Journalists, editors, producers, publishers and owners of print and electronic media.
2. These principles form the basis of the self-regulation of the Bulgarian media. Media that accept this Code will make appropriate publications about it.
3. For the purposes of this code, "publication" means any presentation of information in both printed and electronic media.
4. According to the Child Protection Act, "a child is any natural person under the age of 18".