DOCUMENTS

The statute of the Georgian Charter of Journalistic Ethics


1. General Provisions

1.1. The Georgian Charter of Journalistic Ethics (hereinafter the Charter) is a non-entrepreneurial (non-commercial) legal entity, established with the objective of carrying out the goals of the Charter and operating in compliance with Georgian legislation, the given Statute and other internal regulatory documents.
1.2. The organizational and legal form of the Charter is non-entrepreneurial (non-commercial) legal entity.
1.3. Based on its goals, the Charter operates throughout the whole territory of Georgia, as well as beyond its borders.
1.4. The seat of the Charter is in Tbilisi, Georgia.

2. Goals
2.1. The goals of the Charter are:
2.1.1. Developing and establishing rules of journalistic ethics.
2.1.2. Ensuring protection of the Charter of Journalistic Ethics.
2.1.3. Developing and establishing journalistic self-regulatory mechanisms and improving professional standards.
2.1.4. Increasing public trust in media.

3. Forms of Activity
3.1. The Charter with the aim of implementing goals of the statute:
3.1.1. Ensures functioning of the mechanisms for protecting Georgian Charter of Journalistic Ethics.
3.1.2. Conducts educations activities in order to increase professionalism of journalists.
3.1.3. Carries out research, publishing and translation activities.
3.1.4. Lobbies for harmonizing Georgian legislation on the rights of journalists with international standards of human rights.
3.1.5. Promotes rules of journalistic ethics and supports building of their respect.
3.1.6. Cooperates with local and international organizations, including professional unions.
3.1.7. Is eligible to create structural entities of the Charter throughout the whole territory of Georgia.
3.1.8. Conducts supplementary entrepreneurial activities, which does not amend its status of a non-entrepreneurial legal entity.
3.1.9. Conducts other activities which are not prohibited by Georgian legislation.

4. Membership

4.1. Any natural person of legal capacity, which conducts journalistic activities and shares the goals of the Charter may become the member of the Charter.
4.2. Person interested in the membership of the Charter shall apply to the Council of the Charter in written, priory determined form. The application should include recommendations of two members of the Charter or other reliable documents proving conduct of journalistic activities by the applicant.
4.3. The Council takes decision regarding the membership of the applicant within the period of two months from the date of receiving the application.
4.4. Decision on accepting an application on membership can be taken without conducting a meeting, by means of electronic communication (e-mail/social network), which ensures declaration of intent by a member of the Council.
4.5. Person, that actively supports activities of the Charter, but fails to meet the requirements of the membership of Charter, can be accepted as an honourable member of the Charter based on the decision of the Council.
4.6. Founders of the Charter and subsequent members are entitled to equal status and rights.
4.7. Powers of a member of the Charter is terminated based on the decision of the Council under the following circumstances (additionally, the Council decision is not required when membership is terminated based on section 4.7.1 and the receipt of an application has immediate effect of membership termination):
4.7.1. Based on own application.
4.7.2. In case of the failure to pay the Charter fee consequently for one year, without prior notification of the Council.
4.7.3. When declaring a member as a recipient of support based on a decision of the court.
4.7.4. Death
4.7.5. Declaring a person missing.
4.7.6. Declaring a person dead.
4.8. Member of the Charter, which ceases to conduct journalistic activities, will be suspended the membership of the Charter until the renewal of journalistic activities and will not be considered as a member of the Charter in the process of voting. 4.9. Members of the Charter which pursue journalistic activities and at the same time are employed at administrative bodies and/or in a political party are not entitled to be elected in the governing bodies of the Charter.

5. Rights and Duties of Members

5.1. Other than the exceptions foreseen by the given Statute member of the Charter has the right to:
5.1.1. Participate in the work of the Charter General Assembly with the right to vote.
5.1.2. Elect members of the Charter Council/Audit Commission and be elected at the Charter Council/Audit Commission.
5.1.3. Participate in the activities of the Charter based on own qualification and skills.
5.1.4. Receive information from the Charter governing bodies and persons on the activities of the Charter, exception being the limitations foreseen by the Rules of Procedure.
5.1.5. In line with the goals of the Charter use information and material-technical means of the Charter as available
5.1.6. Wear the emblem of the Charter

5.2. Member of the Charter has the duty to:
5.2.1. Respect the Charter principles, Statute, Rules of Conduct and decisions adopted by the Council.
5.2.2. Be wary of the Charter reputation, name and property.
5.2.3. Participate in the Charter activities in accordance with his/her interests and skills.
5.2.4. Be guided by the Charter goals and rules of professional ethics in the process of conducting his/her professional activities.
5.2.5. Pay the pre-determined amount of membership fee in accordance with existing rules.
5.2.6. Indicate his/her name and surname in the process of conducting journalistic activities and ensure accessibility of his/her identification information to the Charter in case of using a pseudonym.

6. The General Assembly of Members

6.1. The highest governing body of the Charter is the General Assembly of Members, which is called by the Council and is held annually, in the month of December.
6.2. The Council decides on including the topic of making amendments and additions to the Statue to the agenda of the General Assembly, unless the draft amendments and additions have been submitted by no less than one-tenth of the Charter members, a month in advance to the date of the General Assembly.
6.3. The General Assembly has the authority to take a decision, if no less than ¼ of the Charter members are present at the meeting.
6.4. The General Assembly takes decisions by a simple majority of the members present, unless otherwise provided by the Statute or law. Each member has one vote. Transferring the right to vote is forbidden.

6.5. The General Assembly:
6.5.1. Adopts the Statue of the Charter by a majority of the 2/3 of the Charter members, amends and makes additions to it.
6.5.2. Elects members of the Council in secret ballot by a majority of votes. In case if the votes are split in half another vote is held.
6.5.3. Receives report on the activities and financial state of the Charter.
6.5.4. Adopts documents on strategic directions of the Charter submitted by the Council.
6.5.5. Elects the members of the Audit Commission for the term of 3 years.
6.5.6. Takes decision on reorganization or liquidation of the Charter by a 2/3 majority of the members.

6.6. Extraordinary General Assembly is called by the Council of the Charter, in case of relevant financial support:
6.6.1. On its own initiative
6.6.2. On the request of the Executive Director or 1/10 of the Charter members, no later than two months after submitting a request.
6.6.3. On the request of the Audit Commission.

6.7. Decision by the members of the Charter may be taken based on a survey conducted by means of electronic communication mechanisms, which enables identification of a member based on his/her e-mail address priory registered at the Charter. Intent of the Charter member on the decision to be taken should be declared using relevant means of electronic communication. Decision cannot be taken by means described in this section on those subjects which require secret ballot. Subsequent protocol on the results of the survey is drawn up by the Council secretariat, which is signed by the Council chairman and secretary.
6.8. Due process of secret ballot in the process of electing the Council is ensured by the Election Commission, which is elected by the members of the Charter and is composed of no less than 5 members.
6.9. Non-members of the Charter, participation of which due to their professional knowledge and skills will be deemed necessary for the work of the Commission may assist the Election Commission in the process of conducting its activities.

7. The Charter Council

7.1. The Charter Council is the highest governing body of the Charter, composed of 9 members.
7.2. The Council members are elected based on a system of quotation: 3 members are elected from journalists registered in Tbilisi, and 6 members are elected from journalists registered outside Tbilisi.
7.3. The Council members are elected by a simple majority of the General Assembly members for a term of 3 years.
7.4. One-third of the Council composition is renewed annually. A person absent from the General Assembly can be elected at the Council, providing he has submitted prior acceptance on being elected as a member of the Council.
7.5. Council meetings are held at least once per month, exception being the cases when no topic has been prepared to be heard by the Council and there are no other issues to be decided by the Council.
7.6. Extraordinary meetings are called by the Council chairman on his/her own initiative or on the request of one-third of the Charter members. The Council has the authority to take a decision if at least two-thirds of the members are present at the meeting.
7.7. Vote of at least 5 members of the Council is required for taking a decision.
7.8. The Council members may express their opinion on an issue under discussion/participate in the work of the Council by using means of remote electronic communication (social networks, e-mail, online video and audio calls).

7.9. The Council:
7.9.1. Calls and holds the General Assembly, notifies the Charter members of the date and agenda of the meeting at least two weeks before the date of the Assembly.
7.9.2. Appoints the General Director based on a competition and signs a labor agreement with him/her.
7.9.3. Decides on the topic of receiving the Charter members.
7.9.4. In line with the Rules of Procedure discusses the topic of violating ethical principles of the Charter.
7.9.5. Refers with a letter of recommendation to a member of the Charter, whose activities violate principles of the Charter, or who is manifestly violating his/her duties foreseen by the Statute.
7.9.6. Determines rules of communicating with the Charter members.
7.9.7. Elaborates strategic directions of the Charter activities and submits them for approval to the General Assembly.
7.9.8. Adopts report on the activities and financial state of the Charter to be submitted to the General Assembly.
7.9.9. Adopts the plan of strategic development of the Charter and its budgetary directions.
7.9.10. Takes decision on the subject of the Charter membership to various organizations/unions and the Charter participation in the process of establishing a legal person.
7.9.11. Adopts a quarterly report of the Executive Director on the activities conducted.
7.9.12. Adopts the organizational structure of the Charter on the proposal of the Executive Director.
7.9.13. Takes decision on the subject of creating and annulling regional units of the Charter, adopts their statutes and appoints their heads.
7.9.14. Takes decision on all other issues, which based on this Statute do not directly fall under the powers of the General Assembly.

7.10. The council membership shall be terminated:
7.10.1. Upon the termination of the Charter membership.
7.10.2. Upon the suspension of the Charter membership.
7.10.3. Based on own application.

7.11. In case of the Council membership termination the person, which during the last General Assembly received higher number of votes, although insufficient for the Council membership, will join the Council. In case when candidates with equal number of votes are present the Council member will be elected based on casting ballots by the Council. The new member of the council is elected for the remaining term of the Council member whose term has been terminated.
7.12. When reviewing an application on the violation of the Charter principles the Council shall be guided by the Rules of Procedure adopted by the Charter Council.
7.13. The Charter Council determines the amount of the honorarium of the Council members and the Chairman.

8. The Chairman

8.1. The Council Chairman is elected from the members of the Council for the term of one year during the first meeting, which is headed by the eldest member, voting is conducted based on open ballot. The Chairman will be deemed elected if a candidate receives majority of the votes but no less than 5 votes. Each member of the Council has the right to nominate the Chairman candidate.
8.2. Term of office of the Charter Chairman commences upon his/her election. The same person can be elected as the Charter Chairman no more than for two consecutive terms.
8.3. The Chairman:
8.3.1. Heads the Council activities and chairs its meetings.
8.3.2. Represents the Charter in relations with third persons.
8.3.3. Raises the issue of the Charter membership of Coalitions established with specific purposes.
8.3.4. Facilitates the process of working with the Charter members and prospective members, in line with the rules developed by the Council.
8.3.5. Performs the functions of the Executive Director prior to his/her appointment.

9. The Executive Director

9.1. The Executive Director is appointed by the Council for a term of three years through a competition. Term of the office of the Executive Director may be extended by one year based on the Council decision.
9.2. Any natural person of legal capacity from the age of 25 years who has higher education, good professional reputation, experience of management and meets additional qualification requirements determined by the Council may be appointed as an Executive Director.
9.3. The Executive Director represents the Charter in relationships with third persons without restrictions.
9.4. List of the subjects on which the Executive Director is not entitled to take a decision without the Council approval is determined by the Council.
9.5. The Executive Director has the obligation to submit a report to the Council on quarterly basis.
9.6. Term of office of the Executive Director shall be terminated:
9.6.1. Based on own application.
9.6.2. Based on the Council decision.
9.6.3. In case of failure to fulfil his/her duties during a period of 2 months.

9.7. The Executive director shall lead the charter activities in good faith. He/she shall be held personally responsible for damages caused to the Charter.

9.8. The Executive Director:
9.8.1. Acts in the name of the Charter and represents the Charter in relations with third persons, exception being the topics falling under the sole competence of the Chairman and the Council.
9.8.2. Disposes of the Charter financial funds and material resources and is responsible for their due utilization, signs relevant
official and other official documentation.
9.8.3. Approves projects to be implemented.
9.8.4. Signs agreements on project related topics on the behalf of the Charter.
9.8.5. Appoints and dismisses employees of the Charter.
9.8.6. Supervises the management of financial resources and other material assets of the Charter.
9.8.7. Signs official documentation of the Charter.

9.9. Code of Conduct of the Executive Director is determined by the Council decree.
9.10. A labor agreement is concluded with the Executive Director, signed by the Council Chairman.

10. The Audit Commission

10.1. The process of the Charter Statute implementation by the Charter Chairman, the Council, the Executive Director and high-ranking officials appointed by them as well as utilization of financial resources or other property in the interests of the Charter is overseen by Charter Audit Commission, which is elected by the General Assembly for a term of three years and is composed of three members.
10.2. A member of the Audit Commission cannot at the same time be a member of the Charter Council or hold an office as a permanent employee receiving remuneration.
10.3. The Audit Commission conducts audit of financial and accounting documentation and inventory of material goods at least once per year.
10.4. The results of the audit are submitted to the Council and presented at the next General Assembly.
10.5. The Audit Commission takes decision with the majority of votes.
10.6. In case if manifest violation is observed, the Audit Commission calls an extraordinary meeting of the Council or an extraordinary General Assembly and chairs the meeting.
10.7. In case if the term of the Audit Commission member is terminated, the person which during the last General Assembly received higher number of votes, although insufficient for the Audit Commission membership will join the Audit Commission. In case when candidates with equal number of votes are present the Audit Commission member will be elected based on casting ballots by the Commission.
10.8. The new member of the Audit Commission is elected for the remaining term of the Commission member whose term has been terminated.

11. The Advisory Board

11.1. The Advisory Board composed of seven members selected by the Council is the advisory body of the Charter. Code of Conduct of the Advisory board is determined by a decree adopted by the Charter Council. The Advisory Boards selects its Chairman from its own composition.
11.2. Meetings of the Advisory Board are called by the Board Chairman or the Charter Council based on timeline and rules determined by the Decree.

12. The Charter Property

12.1. Assets of the Charter are composed of membership fees, donations by members or other persons, grants, supplementary entrepreneurial activities and other revenues received in legally permitted forms.
12.1. Assets of the Charter may only be used for the purposes stipulated in its Statute.
12.2. The Charter is independent in its activities regardless of the source of financing.

13. Termination of the Charter Activities

13.1. The Charter activities shall be terminated (liquidated):
13.1.1. Based on the decision of the Charter General Assembly.
13.1.2. Based on other circumstances stipulated by law.
13.2. The process of the Charter liquidation is headed by the Executive Director.
13.3. After the conclusion of liquidation remaining assets will be donated to a non-commercial legal entity of the same or similar objectives based on the decision of the Council.
14.05.2018
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Vision
Strengthening of media through self-regulation

Mission
The Georgian Charter of Journalistic Ethics is an independent journalistic organization the mission of which is the enhancement of the social responsibility of the media through the protection of professional and ethical standards and the development of self-regulation mechanisms.

Core values  
  • The freedom of speech and expression- the Charter recognizes the fact that every professional right/responsibility of a journalist is based on the right of society to be informed.
  • Freedom of media- we believe that only an independent media has the ability of self-regulation.
  • Social responsibility – the Charter is accountable before every member of the organization and the entire society.
  • Transparency of activities- the Charter pursues its activities in an open and transparent way>
 History
On December 4, 2009, 139 journalists confirmed by signature their will to observe the international norms of professional conduct, and based on the given signature became founders and members of the Georgian Charter of Journalistic Ethics. The Charter’s organizational functioning is defined by its statute, and the 11 provisions of the Charter, developed in accordance with international journalistic standards, determine the basic professional principles of every member of the organization. The Charter currently has 270 members. Within the framework of its mission the Charter of Journalistic Ethics receives/examines the facts of journalists’ violation of professional standards based on the reports submitted to the Charter; pursues educational-cognitive activities for the purpose of enhancement of journalists’ professionalism; cooperates with local and international organizations; promotes the popularization of the norms of journalistic ethics and respect towards them; carries out media monitorings, researches, and issues professional publications; lobbies the protection of journalistic rights and creation of healthy and free media environment.

Strategic development plan for 2015-2018

Based on the analysis of the given objective, existing challenges, external factors and opportunities, as well as the organization’s statute, its mission and vision, the Charter has defined the following strategic directions for the next 3 years:

  • Increase in the efficiency of the Charter’s functioning
  • Professional education of journalists, their rights, and media environment
  • Improvement of the Charter’s organizational management
  • Development of the Charter’s financial capabilities
1.Increasing the efficiency of the Charter’s functioning

1.1. Self-regulation: ensuring the efficient functioning of the Charter as a self-regulation mechanism; increasing the efficiency of the functioning of the Charter’s council.
1.2 Recognizability: intensive work to increase the recognizability of the Charter’s 11 principles and its activity, with a high level of transparency and publicity. Work with the society with respect to systemic mechanisms of interaction.
1.3. Accountability: taking care of the enhancement of media’s social responsibility through media-monitoring/researches and public response.

2. Professional education of journalists, their rights and media environment

2.1. Professional education is media literacy: promotion of the increase of journalists’ qualifications and professional growth.
2.2. Journalists’ rights and media environment: timely and adequate response on the violation of journalistic rights in various ways; advocacy of their rights and free and fair media environment.

3. Improvement of the Charter’s organizational management

3.1. Structural development: the Charter is supposed to maintain for at least the next three years the current structure and develop a human resources management system;
3.2. Strategic analysis and operational management: enhancement of transparency and democratic management within the organization, reinforcement and improvement of administrative management mechanisms.

4. Development of the Charter’s financial capabilities

4.1. Diversity of funding sources: the Charter is supposed to increase the number and diversity of funding sources, and start actively working towards ensuring additional and independent systems of income.
27.12.2017
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