Ethics Policy

The Digital News Publishers Association has voluntarily drawn up a Code of Ethics for its members as outlined below, which demonstrates their commitment to responsible digital publishing –even as it, to protect our 19 (1) (a) and other Constitutionally mandated freedoms, keeps under review and scrutinizes any developments likely to restrict the gathering and dissemination of news and current affairs or any other content.

The object of this Code is to outline high standards, ethics, and practices in digital news publishing and does not constitute an attempt to involve itself in the day-to-day operations of the publishers –who have complete editorial and content independence.

The basic precepts of the Code of Ethics are to maintain the standards of digital publishing as well as protect and maintain the independence of journalists, content entities, and publishers.

1) Digital news websites follow the laws of the land including the Constitution of Bangladesh, the over 30 laws relating to the media, as well as the Information Technology Act, 2006, where applicable.

2) They also diligently adhere to accepted norms of journalistic ethics and practices and maintain the highest standards of professional conduct. There are several layers of these self-regulatory ethics and codes – including as outlined by specific entities as well as rigorous processes in newsrooms at the level of journalists and editors.

3) Accuracy, Transparency & Fairness Members should eschew publication of inaccurate, baseless, or distorted material. Pre-publication verification should be mandatory. Defamation should be avoided. Adherence to applicable laws and rules is necessary.

4) Right of Reply

5) Takedown, Delete or Edit

If a news report or article is found to contain false or inaccurate information, then on approach by the concerned person or party, providing correct information, identifying himself or herself, providing required documents or material, the portion of the news report or article should be edited or deleted.

If an entire news report is found to contain false, inaccurate information, the entire article should be deleted.

6) Respect Intellectual Property Rights

7) Care to be taken for reporting sensational matters and crime. The presumption of innocence must be preserved. Comments and speculation on evidence, witness and witness conduct, accused and victim and their respective conduct to be avoided. Such reporting should be based on facts and unbiased.

8) Special care to be taken while reporting on sexual harassment in the workplace, child abuse, rape, where accused or victims are minors, matrimonial, riots, and communal disputes/clashes, divorce and custody cases, adoption matters, etc.

Care to be taken, to follow Sections 67, 67A, and 67B of the Information Technology Act, 2006 where applicable – which provide for penalties for publishing or transmitting obscene material, sexually explicit material, and also material depicting children in sexually explicit acts, in electronic form.

9) Grievance Redressal Mechanism

Members –when intermediaries as defined under the Information Technology Act, 2006— follow the grievance redressal mechanism as outlined therein and are cognizant of the liabilities and safe harbor protections under Section 79 of the IT Act 2006. Hence, as relevant, they follow the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines) Rules, 2018 including appointing a grievance officer whose contact details are displayed on the website and who acts within 36 hours of receipt of the complaint by an affected person and redresses the complaint within one month from its receipt.

10) Training and Awareness Programs

Conduct periodic training and awareness programs with editorial staff about existing laws including the Constitution of Bangladesh, the over 30 laws relating to the media like The Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, Copyright Act, Right to Information Act, relevant provisions relating to reporting on rape and molestation, harassment in the workplace, caste or gender-related crime, domestic violence, etc.