Telex’s Code of Ethics and Conduct
As employees of Telex, we are committed to the following:
- to be familiar with and abide by the rules of this code and to conduct ourselves in an ethical manner;
- to help ensure that Telex as a whole operates in an ethical manner and to contribute to the prevention and apprehension of ethical violations.
Telex’s leadership is committed to the following:
- to create an atmosphere in which everyone may feel welcome and appreciated;
- to encourage unrestricted and creative work;
- to assess everyone in an equal manner and according to their work;
- the idea that everyone is free to pose questions and stand up for themselves;
- to take any and all signs of ethical concern seriously.
2. OUR VALUES
- freedom of the press
- the ongoing search for truth
- respect for universal human rights
- self-criticism, self-deprecation, and humor
3. RULES REGARDING CONTENT
- We are impartial and objective. Although we are a commercial media publication, we consider our work to be a public service. We serve the entirety of Hungarian society as a general news portal. We treat issues and events on our site in a manner primarily proportionate to their newsworthiness. Similarly, we provide space for opinions in a manner according to their significance. Of course, we do this while seeking to ensure that the publication is entertaining to the extent that is expected of the media.
- We separate news from opinion. This division in content is clearly maintained at Telex.
- We separate our content from advertisements. Whenever sponsored content or advertising appears on Telex, we make sure to indicate it in a transparent manner. If we detect any pressure to blur this boundary, we ensure that it doesn’t happen.
- We take conflicts of interest seriously. The publication’s content is not influenced by any of the personal, familial, political, or business relations of its authors. We are not here to promote a business or push an agenda. The very appearance of this is something we strive to avoid. Should a conflict of interest arise in a given situation, we immediately bring it to the attention of the editorial office and determine a solution specific to the case at hand so as to eliminate said conflict of interest.
- We are accurate. What we write is true and accurate to the best of our knowledge, and we do our best to avoid mistakes and oversights. If an error nevertheless crops up in one of our texts – whether it originates from our own sources or from another publication – we correct the inaccuracy as quickly as possible. Furthermore, unless the correction regards spelling or style, we also clearly indicate the fact that a change has been made. Corrections made at the request of those concerned are communicated should our editorial staff make such a decision.
- We are credible. We only write down that which is adequately substantiated, and likewise, we don’t withhold any vital information that is adequately substantiated. We are cautious when selecting our sources, and we indicate them to our readers so that they can judge for themselves to what extent they give credence to a given source. We only cite sources that have requested to remain anonymous once we’ve assured ourselves of their trustworthiness and have determined that their request to remain anonymous is reasonable.
- We don’t present the content of others as our own. We only reproduce texts or present press reviews in our publication with clearly indicated references. We strive to rely on primary sources and find out where the facts originate from.
- We strive for completeness. We do our best to provide space for the various opinions surrounding each topic we treat and to obtain all the relevant facts for our pieces. We make it a point to give a voice to those who cannot be heard, i.e., those groups whose interests lack sufficient advocacy to be heard. We also make it transparently clear if a vital piece of information eludes us (i.e., if a piece is still missing from the puzzle), and despite our attempts to obtain it, we are unable to do so for some reason beyond our control (e.g., when a public office doesn’t respond to our inquiries within a reasonable amount of time). During situations involving breaking news – when there isn’t enough time to obtain all the essential information before publication – we inform the readers that work is still in progress, and the article will be continuously updated.
- We provide context. We avoid simplifying matters. We strive to present the issues in all their complexity alongside background information.
- We are accessible. We express matters in a clear, unambiguous, and precise manner.
- We uphold “do no harm.” We understand our responsibility when it comes to writing about certain sensitive topics, such as suicide, domestic violence, and sexual abuse. We do whatever we can to minimize the risks. We exercise caution and highlight in our work where one can turn to if they feel that they are in need of help. With that said, even when bearing in mind the principle of doing no harm, situations do arise when there is a greater public interest in the disclosure of a particular piece of information or the discussion of a certain public matter rather than protecting the sensibilities of some of the individuals involved or, for example, privacy. Decisions of this nature are made with this responsibility in mind and following careful consideration, and we empathize and are discreet with those involved.
- We’re mindful of children. When working on an issue involving children, or even when they appear in our stories, we are acutely attentive to their protection and privacy rights. Moreover, we make it a point to time the release of our age-restricted articles, photos, and videos for the evening and nighttime. We always mark them with a red circle of warning to indicate that the material is intended for those 18 years old or older.
4. RULES REGARDING WORK
- We reject corruption. Be it money, gifts, trips, or invitations: we don’t accept anything that has the intent of influencing our work or – regardless of its real intent – anything of such value that it would, in any case, create this appearance. We strive to operate in such a way that the very suspicion of corruption cannot be cast upon us. We don’t pursue anything that evokes the sense of corruption, even when it doesn’t qualify as such according to the literal sense of the word.
- We don’t pay for information. This constitutes the other side to our rejection of corruption.
- We cannot be coerced. Just as we cannot be bought, we also won’t be intimidated. If we detect a threat, explicit or implicit, or a coercive attempt to influence our work, we notify Telex’s leadership and work together to find a solution.
- We are forthright. As a general rule, when it comes to gathering information, we present ourselves as journalists, introducing ourselves and the fact that we represent Telex. We only conceal our actual identities in such exceptional circumstances when it would otherwise be impossible to obtain the given information of public interest. We don’t take advantage of a situation in which someone is made vulnerable by their lack of familiarity with how the media works. We don’t make promises to our sources that we cannot or do not wish to keep, and we stick to the promises we do make.
- We protect our sources. Under no circumstance do we give away the sources that we’ve promised anonymity.
- We look after the safety of others as well as our own. There are situations in which the personal safety of news workers is put at risk, such as when they are reporting from war zones or within hospitals during the coronavirus pandemic. At Telex, these sorts of news pieces are prepared by colleagues who have volunteered for the tasks and have consulted with the lead editors. We do everything we can to minimize the risks.
- We take care of what is ours. We do our best to maintain the tools necessary for our work and those purchased with our readers’ donations (such as computers and phones) in a usable condition for as long as possible. We are careful that our equipment or the data stored on them do not end up in the wrong hands. We take IT security very seriously. We immediately report any lost or stolen equipment and take the necessary steps to minimize the damage without delay.
- We spend money sensibly. Whether on an assignment or purchasing equipment, we only make use of Telex’s collective funds when it is essential for the sake of carrying out our work.
- We are environmentally conscious. We do our best to avoid energy waste even when we’re on the job, and we don’t generate unnecessary refuse.
- We stand in solidarity with other journalists. We may compete with them for information and precedence, but the competition is open and fair. We do not intentionally obstruct the work of journalists representing competing publications.