greenspun.com : LUSENET : Dirck Halstead : One Thread

Subject: Code of Ethics - We have one

It irks me greatly to see the feeding frenzy against photographers upon the death of Lady Di. Of course I am deeply saddened by her death. The problem is, with whom should we place the blame? A Mercedes going 125 miles per hour is a lethal weapon, a camera taking pictures is not. Nothing justified the risk of public lives and those in the car by driving it at such dangerous speeds.

We must be able to point to our ideals, values, and what we stand for if we want to defend ourselves against outrageously wrong headed logic and witch hunts. Furthermore, if there were camera "thugs" out there, then the only way we can distance ourselves from them is to declare that which separates us from them.

The NPPA has a Code of Ethics and the White House News Photographers' Association has approved one for its next Bylaws publication.

I am proud to point to them as something we can say separates us from those who invade people's privacy.

ARTICLE III (Code of Ethics)

The White House News Photographers' Association, a professional organization dedicated to the support of photojournalism and to ensure the rights of its members in the performance of their duties, strongly believes in the public's natural and legal right to freedom in searching for the truth and the right to be accurately and completely informed about the world in which we live. We believe that there is a direct linkage between the survival of a Democratic Society and an accurate free Press. To that end, we believe that the public journal (both print and television) is a public trust and that all connected with it are to the full measure of their responsibility, trustees for the public. We believe that motion and still pictures are an indispensable means of informing people about their world. We strongly urge and expect our members to maintain the highest standards of ethical conduct in serving the public interest. To that end, all WHNPA members must aspire to the following code of ethics:

1) A healthy Democracy depends on a free and accurate press.

2) The public journal is a public trust and those who work in it are trustees for the public.

3) The practice of Photojournalism (Both TV and Stills) is worthy of the highest dedication and professionalism of those who enter into it as a life's work.

4) Truthfulness, Accuracy, and Fairness are fundamental to good Photojournalism. To publish distortions of the truth is indefensible.

5) Photojournalists and Journalists should publish images and words only of what he or she holds in his or her heart to be true.

6) Our images and words shall be objective and published for the public good. We shall be stoutly independent of power and of material or monetary influence.

7) It is our duty to encourage, assist, and educate all members of our profession, and those who aspire to it, so that the quality of photojournalism may always be raised to higher standards.

8) In the pursuit of our profession, we shall always be mindful of our duty to the common good of society, sensitive to matters of privacy and the grief of others, and to discharge that duty so that when our work is done, we shall have endeavored to lift the level of human ideals and achievement higher than we found it.


Steven C. Affens Vice President - White House News Photographers' Association

======================= Steven C. Affens k3sa@access.digex.net =======================

-- dirck halstead (dirck.halstead@pressroom.com), September 28, 1997

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