Code Of Ethics
These publicist principles are designed to preserve professional
ethics; they do not constitute grounds for legal liability.
Respect for the truth and accurate informing of the general
public are the overriding principles of Tampa Bay Gay.
Guideline 1.1. Exclusive Agreements
Public information about events or developments whose significance,
import, and implications make them of general interest and vital
for the formation of political views and public opinion must not
be restricted or impeded by exclusive agreements with informants
or measures which screen such informants from the public domain.
Tampa Bay Gay will not monopolize information that prevents other
members of the press acquiring important news and thus acts contrary
to the principle of the freedom of the information. This excludes
Guideline 1.3. Press Releases
Press releases issued by government agencies, political parties,
associations, organizations or other representative bodies must
be identified as such if they are published unedited.
News and information accepted for text or pictorial publication
must be checked for accuracy with all the thoroughness; circumstances
permit. Its meaning must not be distorted of falsified by editing,
headings, or captions. The content of documents must be faithfully
reproduced. Unconfirmed reports, rumors, and assumptions must
be identifiable as such.
Where a symbolic photograph is published, it must be made clear
in the caption that it is not a documentary picture.
Guideline 2.1. Opinion Polls
Tampa Bay Gay may publishing findings by opinion poll; when doing
so it is necessary to indicate the number of people interviewed,
the dates on which the poll was conducted and the identity of
the poll's sponsor. Where no sponsor is involved, reports should
point out that the data was collected.
Guideline 2.2. Symbolic Photographs
A non-documentary illustration - especially a photograph - that
the casual reader might mistake for a documentary illustration
must be marked accordingly. The following must therefore be clearly
identified or described in captions or accompanying text to ensure
that they are not misinterpreted even by a casual reader: -Substitute
or indicative illustrations (same motif on different occasion,
different motif on same occasion, etc) -Symbolic illustrations
(reconstructed scenes, graphic representations, artists' impressions
of events described in text etc.) -Photomontages or other alterations.
Guideline 2.3. Interviews
An interview is always within the bounds of journalistic propriety
if the interviewee or his proxy authorizes it. Under circumstances
of exceptional time pressure, it is also acceptable for comments
to be published in unauthorized interview form as long as interviewees
are aware of the intention to publish the wording or gist of their
statements. Journalists should always identify themselves as such.
An interview orally or in written form is not mere news material
but a work protected by copyright, especially if it contains critical
appraisals or comments, which lend it a personal stamp. When such
interviews are reproduced in full or in part, the publishing newspaper,
magazine, or online publication must indicate the source. Even
where the essence of the thoughts expressed is paraphrased, journalistic
propriety requires that the source should be indicated. Where
interviews are announced in resume form, it must be borne in mind
that interviewees, as co-authors, are protected against distortions
or detractions, which could jeopardize their legitimate personal
or copyright interests.
Guideline 2.6. Readers' Letters
(1) Tampa Bay Gay should publish readers' letters - of appropriate
form and content - to give readers an opportunity to air their
views and help form public opinion. This can include visitors/members
posting in message boards.
(2) Correspondence addressed to publishers or editorial departments
Tampa Bay Gay can be published as readers' letters if it is evident
from the form and content that this is in accordance with the
sender's wishes. The sender's consent can be assumed if a letter
refers to articles published on Tampa Bay Gay concerned or to
matters of general interest. Readers have no legal right to have
their letters published.
(3) It is both proper and common practice to publish reader's
names along with their letters. By the very act of sending a letter,
a reader gives tacit consent to Tampa Bay Gay of his or her name.
(4) Only in exceptional cases can a different name be appended
at the author's request. This agreement is to be in written format
and original documentation kept on file.
(5) The obligation of Tampa Bay Gay to take care not to publish
material of punishable content also applies to readers' letters.
Under press laws, editors are co-responsible for readers' letters,
which contain derogatory allegations about identifiable third
(6) The publication of fictitious readers' letters represents
deception of the public and is irreconcilable with the duty of
the press. If there is any doubt about the origin of the letter,
it is incumbent on the editor to check its authenticity.
(7) Where a reader's letter contains factual claims about a third
party, that party is entitled under press law to reply to the
allegations in print.
(8) The right of Tampa Bay Gay to refuse to give evidence also
extends to the writers of reader's letters. A reader's letter
published on Tampa Bay Gay is classified as editorial matter and
privileges its author to refuse to give evidence.
(9) The laws protecting the general right of the individual basically
prohibit the alteration or abridgement of letters from named correspondents
without their consent. This also applies to letters, which do
not bear an "individual stamp" and are thus not protected by copyright.
Letters can be shortened only if the "Reader's Letters" column
contains a standard reference to the publisher's right to print
letters in edited form. If the author of a letter expressly forbids
alteration or abridgement, the editorial department addressed
must either comply with the writer's wishes or refuse publication
even if it has retained the edit reader's letters.
(10) All reader's letters arriving on an editor's desk are to
be treated as confidential documents. Under no circumstances may
they be passed on to third parties.
Published news reports or assertions subsequently found to
be incorrect must be promptly and appropriately corrected by Tampa
Guideline 3.1. Editorial Corrections
An editorial correction must draw the reader's attention to the
fact that the preceding report was wholly or partially incorrect.
It must therefore contain not only the correct facts but also
a reference to the incorrect report in question. Publication of
the correct facts is required even if the error has already been
publicly acknowledged elsewhere. This will be posted at the bottom
of the page on the article that the error was made with the revision
date as well. This does not include partnership or third party
news materials; this material is left to the original news provider.
The duty to rectify an incorrect report lies with the editorial
department. Merely prompting and publishing readers' letters does
not fulfill this duty.
Dishonest methods must not be employed to acquire news, information
Guideline 4.1. Research
Research is a legitimate tool of publicist work but must be conducted
within the bounds of the constitution, the law and respect for
human dignity. As a matter of principle, a researching journalist
who makes untruthful statements about his identity or the identity
of the publication Tampa Bay Gay is guilty of conduct incompatible
with the dignity and role of the press. This will result in immediate
turmination of all ties with Tampa Bay Gay. Covert research can
be justified in individual cases if it brings to light information
of special public interest which could not be obtained by other
means. In the case of accidents and disasters, Tampa Bay Gay shall
bear in mind that rescue operations for victims and persons in
jeopardy take precedence over the public's right to be informed.
Nor does the public's interest in being informed justify any unlawful
acts committed by journalists to acquire news material.
As a general principle, confidentiality agreed at briefings and
background interviews must be observed.
Guideline 5.1. Confidentiality
Where an informant agrees to supply information for publication
only on condition that he or she remains unidentified and protected
as a source, that stipulation shall be respected. A bond of confidentiality
may only be broken where the information in question relates to
the planning of a criminal act, in which case the journalist has
a duty to report the matter to the authorities. Nor need confidentiality
be observed if, after careful consideration of material and other
interests, important reasons of state are deemed predominant.
This situation can arise, in particular, if constitutional order
is likely to be affected or endangered. Reporting on plans and
activities, which are designated secret, is permissible if, after
careful consideration, the need to inform the public is found
to outweigh the stated reasons for secrecy. This does not, however,
justify the committing of unlawful acts to acquire information
(see also Guideline 4.1).
The responsibility of Tampa Bay Gay towards the general public
precludes the publication of editorial matter, which is influenced
by the private, or business interests of third parties. Publishers
and editors must resist any attempts at such influence and ensure
that editorial and advertising matter are kept clearly separate.
Advertising announcements, advertising photographs and advertising
drawings should be identifiable as such.
Guideline 6.1. Separation of Editorial Material and Advertising
Advertisements resembling editorial material must be printed in
a script, position and form, which clearly distinguish them from
the editorial contents of Tampa Bay Gay so that they are identifiable
as advertising even to the casual reader. They must be clearly
marked with the word "Advertisement".
Tampa Bay Gay shall respect the private life and personal sphere
of the individual. If a person's private behavior touches on public
interests, however, it may be discussed in the press. In such
cases, care must be taken to ensure that publication does not
violate the personal rights of individuals who are not involved.
Guideline 7.1. Publication of Names/Photographs
As a general rule, there is no justification for publishing the
names and photographs of offenders or victims in reports on accidents,
criminal offences, criminal investigations or court proceedings.
In all such cases, care must be taken to weigh up the public's
right to be informed and the personal rights of the individual
concerned. Victims of accidents or crime are entitled to special
protection from disclosure of their names. The identity of the
victim is irrelevant for understanding the events surrounding
an accident or crime unless it involves a person of contemporary
history or occurs in circumstances touching on issues of wider
public interest. In the case of relatives who have nothing to
do with the incident, respect for their legitimate personal rights
must, as a matter of principle, take precedence over the public's
right to be informed. The names of individuals concerned and their
families should also be protected in portrayals of criminal cases
published after the death of the persons involved. In these cases,
it is necessary to check whether the incident can be considered
part of criminal history and the perpetrator a person of contemporary
history (see also Guideline 12).
Guideline 7.2. Anniversaries, Birthdays, Civil Union Announcements
Before publishing details of anniversaries involving persons not
normally in the public eye, editors must first check whether the
individuals concerned agree to publication or wish to be protected
from publicity. Email stating a request is considered consent
unless otherwise stated.
It is contrary to journalistic decorum to publish unfounded
allegations, especially allegations of a defamatory nature. All
allegations will include physical/published evidence to certify
allegations as fact.
The publication of text or pictures whose form or content could
deeply offend the moral or religious sensibilities of a particular
group of persons is incompatible with press responsibility.
Guideline 9.1 Pornographic Images and Links
Pornographic images or images showing the direct pubic hair region
will not be published on TampaBayGay.com. Links to pornographic
content directly from TampaBayGay.com is prohibited with the following
exceptions: Online bookstores, fourth party links, other websites
owned by Tampa Bay Gay.
Violence and brutality should not be sensationalized. Reporting
must take due account of the need to protect people.
Guideline 10.1. Accidents and Disasters
The bounds of acceptable reporting on accidents and disasters
are exceeded where the suffering of victims and the feelings of
their families cease to be respected. Those hit by misfortune
must not be become victims for a second time because of the tactless
There must be no discrimination against anyone on grounds of sex,
race, ethnic background, sexual orientation,religion, social group
Guideline 11.1. Crime Reporting
In crime reports, the fact that a suspect or offender belongs
to a particular religious, ethnic or other minority should only
be mentioned if the information is important for understanding
the reported events.
The acceptance or granting of any kind of privilege, which
could impinge on publishing or editorial discretion, is not compatible
with the concept of a respectable, independent and responsible
press. Anyone accepting bribes for the dissemination or suppression
of news is guilty of dishonorable and unprofessional conduct.
Guideline 12.1. Invitations and Gifts
Publishing and journalistic discretion can be impaired if editors
and editorial staff accept invitations or gifts whose values exceeds
the bounds of social convention and professional etiquette. Articles/reviews
based on opinion must disclose any invitation or gift valued over
$200.00 in its publication; readers are left to determine their
own opinions based on published value when disclosing such information.
German Press Council - Press Code:
This Code Of Ethics was based on an original drawn up by the German
Press Council in collaboration with the press associations and
presented to Federal President D. Dr. Dr.Gustav W. Heinemann on
12 December 1973 in Bonn. Last updated version of 23 February
This document was located at the Center for the Study of Ethics
in Professions http://www.iit.edu/departments/csep/PublicWWW/codes/coe/jour-germany.htm
Some sections of this have been directly used while others summarized
and some new information added. Additions to this Code Of Ethics
will contain the dates that they become active. These publicist
principles are designed to preserve professional ethics; they
do not constitute grounds for legal liability.