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Press Code

Why a Press Code?

The Press Code guides journalists in their daily practice of gathering and distributing news and opinion to ensure responsible, ethical and FAIR journalism. It also guides Council to reach decisions on complaints from the public. Member publications subscribe to this Code. The Press Code is available in English, Afrikaans, isiZulu and isiXhosa.

What is the Press Code about?

The Press Code covers a wide range of issues, the essence of which is to help journalists to avoid causing unnecessary harm. This is mainly achieved by accurate, truthful, fair and balanced reporting, and by giving the subjects of critical reporting an opportunity to reply to allegations made against them.

Can the Press Council help a complainant to understand the Press Code?

Yes. Complainants are welcome to contact the Public Advocate, either by phone or in writing, to come to a better understanding of the Press Code. A booklet on the Press Code, Decoding the Code – sentence by sentence, written by former Press Ombud Johan Retief, is also available. The Press Council also runs training workshops on the Press Code.