Code of ethics for media in Sultanate soon

By Kabeer Yousuf — MUSCAT: May 21 – The media professionals in Oman will soon have to comply with a code of ethics which is in the final stages of preparation, the Omani Journalists Association (OJA) has said. The code of ethics or code of conduct are a set of guidelines that a journalist or a media organisation must follow as directed by the Ministry of Information. It is being prepared in consultation with the Sultan Qaboos University Media Studies Department and OJA. “The code of ethics for media and media professionals in Oman is currently underway. We are fine-tuning it and it will take effect soon,” a key office-bearer of OJA told the Observer.
The parties concerned are in the process of holding another round of discussions to give it a final shape. “We will be holding another meeting to give final touches to the draft code of ethics to take effect soon,” he said. Suggestions and recommendations have been sought from the relevant parties, stakeholders and media experts. A workshop was held at the Higher Judiciary Institute in Nizwa recently for receiving suggestions.
In March, a seminar was held at SQU comprising journalists, lawyers and faculty members to draft the media code.
The code lays rules for respecting privacy, confidentiality of sources and accurate reporting, among other things, while protecting the rights of journalists in the country.
Provisions in the code will cover the functions of a media person and media organisation and specify how media needs to operate in accordance with the prevailing law and order of the Sultanate.
The code prohibits the publication of anything that might prejudice national interest, public code of conduct, moral norms or divinity of religions.
It is prohibited to publish anything that questions the national currency or anything that could lead to confusion about the stock market in the Sultanate or the economic position of the country.
It is prohibited to publish details of investigations or court proceedings related to personal status or other personal matters whose publishing is banned by standing court instructions or hearings on which the court might impose a publication ban. It is likewise not permitted to deliberately misrepresent court proceedings or deliberations.
Article 1 and 2 of the Publications and Publishing Law state that the profession of journalism, printing and publishing shall be organised under the terms and conditions stated in this law.
It also says press publications issued by ministries, public institutions or public bodies shall be subject to the supervision of the Ministry of Information.