Argentine journalists want “conscience clause” to protect their ethical integrity

Inspired by a common complaint that some topics journalists are ordered to cover go against their personal ethics, the Argentine Journalism Forum (FOPEA) has proposed a “conscience clause” to give them legal recourse to refuse, La Voz reports.

According to the draft law: the “conscience clause is a journalist’s right, the existence of which protects their moral, ethical, and professional integrity…The goal of this instrument is not only to protect a journalist’s integrity against changes in the editorial line of the media outlet that employees them, but also to function as a guarantee of free public opinion.”

Situations where journalists could invoke the conscience clause include changes in editorial or ethical practices that go against their conscience, ethical objections to the connect or focus of stories they have been assigned, violating source secrecy, or moral objections to changes made by editors to articles published under their name.

The clause would apply to both public and private media outlets, Rionegro explains.

According to Huellas de Jujuy, FOPEA wants to open the proposed law up for debate by press workers, journalist associations, and scholars before it is presented to Congress.

Read the full text of the bill in Spanish here.

Note from the editor: This story was originally published by the Knight Center’s blog Journalism in the Americas, the predecessor of LatAm Journalism Review.