Immediately after the Leveson Inquiry we started to think about how a code of conduct could be drafted for The BPPA that would help prospective members and the British public understand what our profession is all about.
We looked at similar documents from all over the world and we looked at the various codes of conduct and practice that our clients have already signed up to. It has been a massive task and we are proud to unveil what we are calling the “Final Draft” which was approved at a Board meeting last week. Here is the code in full:
The British Press Photographers’ Association Code of Conduct
Members of The British Press Photographers’ Association are professional photographers concerned with taking, editing and distributing news, feature, sports and other editorial photographs. Their work is predominantly for the British news media. The photographers take every care with their work, but it remains the responsibility of publishers to carry out checks concerning accuracy, damage to reputation, and the will of the Courts.
Press photographers should:
- Observe the highest ethical, technical and creative standards. They should conduct themselves in a manner reflecting those standards and be aware that their actions, both positive and negative, reflect on the profession as a whole
- Not materially alter their images, or edit them in such a way as to give misleading impressions of news events
- Provide accurate and comprehensive caption information
- Resist any offers of payment or other inducements from third parties involved in the story to change the way they approach the coverage of news events
- Remember they are subject to the laws of any country they work in
- Always be aware of the codes of conduct observed by their employers and clients and act appropriately when working on their behalf
- Treat people they meet in the course of their work with respect and dignity, giving special consideration to anyone suffering the results of war, crime or other difficulty or hardship
- Protect their own intellectual property and respect the property of others
- Defend media freedom, and the right to work in a fair and unfettered manner
- Feel able to refuse any work involving excessive or unnecessary risks to themselves or others
Ten clauses that sum up how we should behave rather than a set of absolute rules. This is important because we live in an age where there are lots of blurred lines and where each of us may well be doing a wide range of work for which each of these clauses will have greater or lesser significance. PR and hard news are very different and it is important that you read the Code with that in mind.
You will probably have questions about the wording and why it does and doesn’t feature X or Y and we are more than happy to answer those questions. We anticipate the most common query being about why it doesn’t have more specific rules and the answer there is in clause 6:
“Always be aware of the codes of conduct observed by their employers and clients and act appropriately when working on their behalf”
This is important because it refers to the IPSO Editor’s Code for those working for newspapers and other codes for magazines, broadcasting both in the UK and around the world.
According to our constitution this code can come fully into force once it has to be approved at a General Meeting and the next one is scheduled for the 4th of June in London.