Editorial Charter

The purpose of the present Charter is to reaffirm the essential principles of independence, freedom and reliability of information, and to specify the rights and duties of journalists, directors and owners/shareholders of the Defensorum website. It is binding on all parties. 

The vocation of Defensorum.com is to provide quality, accurate, verified and balanced information. Journalists are expected to take a critical look at information and to echo the pluralism of opinions.

Journalists have the necessary ressources to exercise their profession rigorously, to collect and verify information, independently of any external pressure. They refrain from manipulation and plagiarism, do not relay rumors, and avoid sensationalism, approximations and bias. They must avoid any link of interest with the actors in the sectors they write about, and undertake to declare any conflict of interest.

The editorial independence of Defensorum with regard to its shareholders, advertisers, public, political, economic, ideological and religious authorities is the necessary condition for free, high-quality information. No text may be imposed on it, and no direction may be dictated by external intervention or constraint.

Defensorum’s shareholders guarantee the site’s economic independence in line with the present Charter, but refrain from intervening in its editorial choices and the way it processes information.

The site’s editorial line cannot be guided or influenced by the interests of advertisers, nor by those of other publications belonging to the same shareholders. Editorial directors (or their delegates) are responsible for the editorial line and content of their publication.

Defensorum’s editorial teams ensure that all the principles of the Declaration of the Duties and Rights of Journalists (Munich, 1971), which is essential to editorial independence and constitutes the ethical foundation of the journalistic profession, are observed. These principles apply to all editorial content produced by the site’s journalists, regardless of the format in which it is distributed.

Duties and rights of shareholders

The shareholders of Defensorum website have the powers conferred on them by company law. As such, they are responsible for the economic well-being of the site and its publications, and for defining its strategy and areas of development. To ensure the financial and political independence of the website, and to guarantee its independence and freedom of expression, each shareholder undertakes to respect the values and principles defined in the present Charter.

The shareholders declare their commitment to the editorial independence of its publications. They undertake to respect the present Charter. All new shareholders, whether majority or minority, must make the same commitment.

Shareholders or their representatives do not take part in editorial decisions. They may attend editorial conferences by invitation only, but do not speak at them. They are also prohibited from commissioning articles or giving instructions to modify an article or prevent its publication.

Shareholders undertake not to impose any commercial partnerships on the website with companies in whose capital they are shareholders or which are commercially linked to them. Similarly, they undertake not to prevent or hinder similar partnerships with companies in competition with their own.

When a Defensorum shareholder or a company managed or owned by one of these shareholders is quoted in an article published by a title on the Defensorum site, this particularity must be indicated within the article or in a footnote.

Rights and Duties of Journalists

The present Code recognizes the Declaration of the Duties and Rights of Journalists, adopted in Munich in 1971, in the following terms:

Declaration of the Duties and Rights of Journalists

The right to information, free expression and criticism is one of the fundamental freedoms of every human being.

The public’s right to know facts and opinions gives rise to all the duties and rights of journalists.

Journalists’ responsibility to the public takes precedence over any other responsibility, particularly to their employers and public authorities.

The mission of providing information necessarily entails limits that journalists themselves spontaneously impose. This is the purpose of this declaration of duties.

But these duties can only be effectively respected in the exercise of the journalistic profession if the concrete conditions of independence and professional dignity are met. This is the purpose of the following declaration of rights.

Declaration of duties

The essential duties of the journalist, in researching, writing and commenting on events, are :

1/ To respect the truth, whatever the consequences may be for him or herself, because of the public’s right to know the truth;

2/ To defend freedom of information, comment and criticism;

3/ to publish only information whose origin is known or to accompany it, if necessary, with the appropriate reservations; not to suppress essential information and not to alter texts and documents;

4/ Not to use unfair methods to obtain information, photographs or documents;

5/ To respect the privacy of others;

6/ Rectify any information published which proves to be inaccurate;

7/ Maintain professional secrecy and not divulge the source of information obtained in confidence;

8/ Refrain from plagiarism, slander, defamation and unfounded accusations, as well as from receiving any benefit from the publication or suppression of information;

9/ Never confuse journalism with advertising or propaganda; accept no direct or indirect instructions from advertisers;

10/ Refuse all pressure, and accept editorial directives only from editorial managers.

Any journalist who values their profession must strictly observe the principles outlined above.

Recognizing the law in force in each country, the journalist accepts, in matters of professional honor, only the jurisdiction of his peers, to the exclusion of all governmental or other interference.

Declaration of rights

1/ Journalists assert the right to freely access to all sources of information and the right to investigate freely all facts affecting public life. The secrecy of public or private affairs may only be invoked against journalists by way of exception and on clearly expressed grounds;

2/ Journalists have the right to refuse any subordination that is contrary to the general policy of their company, as set out in writing in their contract of employment, as well as any subordination that is not clearly implied by this general policy;

3/ Journalists may not be forced to perform a professional act or express an opinion contrary to their conviction or conscience;

4/ The editorial team must be informed of any important decision likely to affect the life of the company. It must at least be consulted, before any final decision is taken, on any measure affecting the composition of the editorial team: hiring, dismissal, transfer and promotion of journalists;

5/ In view of their position and responsibilities, journalists are entitled not only to the benefits of collective bargaining agreements, but also to a personal contract ensuring their material and moral security, as well as remuneration corresponding to their social role and sufficient to guarantee their economic independence.


Advertising imperatives cannot be invoked to influence the editorial choices of the Defensorum site. Journalists do not contribute, even anonymously or free of charge, to the design, writing, illustration or layout of an advertisement or advertorial published on the website.

Advertisers have no right to review or intervene in content, including supplements, formats and special media that they have helped to finance.

Ethical principles

Interviews: Interviews published in “Question & Answer” format should not be reviewed by the interviewees, or only in order to avoid factual errors or misunderstandings. If the interviewee substantially alters the content of his or her remarks, the author of the interview may, with the editorial management, refuse to publish the interview.

Gifts: Journalists undertake to refuse any gift that might compromise their independence. Where products are loaned for the purpose of writing an article, they may not be made available for more than three months.

Rights of reply and corrections: Rights of reply are published in accordance with the law. All journalists concerned by the publication of a right of reply must be informed before publication. The same applies to corrections.

Conflicts of interest: Defensorum journalists do not agree to cover a subject in which they have a personal conflict of interest. They will not cover an area in which a member of their family or close circle holds a position of authority. They do not buy shares in a company whose activities they follow for their newspaper.

Any review of a book or work authored by someone who regularly contributes to the publication must mention this collaborator status.

Anti-corruption and whistle-blowing measures

Defensorum attaches particular importance to the respect of values such as ethics and professional integrity. The present Code of Ethics and Deontology is intended to guarantee respect for the essential principles of independence, freedom and reliability of information, and to specify the rights and duties of journalists, managers and shareholders in this area.

It applies to all the website’s executives, representatives and permanent and occasional staff (hereinafter collectively referred to as the “Employees”). All of the site’s business partners (service providers, intermediaries, suppliers, customers, etc.) are also expected to comply with the principles set out in this charter or to apply standards at least equivalent to these.

1. Prohibited behavior

All behavior or situations likely to constitute corruption or influence peddling are prohibited within Defensorum.

Corruption and influence peddling are likely to occur in dealings with third parties (suppliers, service providers, intermediaries, partners, etc.).

Corruption involves offering or accepting, directly or indirectly, offers, promises, gifts, presents or advantages of any kind for oneself or for another person, in order to facilitate the performance of, or refrain from performing, an act within the scope of one’s function or mission.

Influence peddling is the act of offering or receiving a gift or undue advantage so that the recipient uses his or her influence, real or supposed, to obtain a favorable decision from a public authority.

2. Preventive measures

The risk of corruption exists whenever the Defensorum site has business relations with various partners in the course of its activities. The rules of good conduct set out below are designed to prevent this risk.

– Conflicts of interest

A conflict of interest may arise if a Defensorum employee finds himself or herself, or appears to find himself or herself (this is referred to as an “appearance of conflict of interest”), in a position to influence, through the exercise of his or her duties, a decision from which he or she could derive a personal advantage or which could benefit persons with whom he or she has a personal link (family member, friend, company in which he or she has an interest, etc.). A conflict of interest leading to a biased decision may constitute an act of corruption.

For example, an employee in charge of selecting a service provider may find himself in a conflict of interest situation if one of his close relations is the director of a company likely to be selected to carry out this service.

Rule of good conduct:

Employees who find themselves in a situation of potential or actual conflict of interest must report it to their line manager, the Human Resources Department or the Legal Department. The necessary steps will then be taken to ensure that he/she does not take part in the decision-making process concerning the situation in which his/her personal interest is involved.

– Gifts and invitations

It is customary to offer or receive gifts or invitations designed to foster good business relations. However, anti-corruption rules prohibit such gifts from being intended, even indirectly or implicitly, to obtain an undue advantage or to exert any unjustified influence on an action within the scope of the professional function or mission.

Rules of good conduct :

– Offering or accepting a gift or invitation must remain exceptional.

– In all cases, gifts and invitations offered or received from a public official are prohibited.

– Gifts of cash or cash equivalents such as gift vouchers are prohibited.

– Gifts and invitations are strictly professional. They may not be received at employees’ homes or by close relations.

– Gifts and invitations must be of reasonable value, appropriate to the circumstances and in line with business practice (e.g. end-of-year gifts, end-of-assignment meals, etc.).

– Gifts and invitations must take place at a distance from any important decision-making (competitive bidding procedure, invitation to tender, etc.).

– It should be remembered that any resources made available to employees by the employer or by third parties as part of their professional activity may only be used for professional purposes. For example, books sent by the press departments of publishing houses may not be kept personally, offered or sold by an employee.

– Financing of political activities

The financing of political activities refers to any direct or indirect contribution aimed at supporting a political party, candidate or elected official.

Rules of good conduct :

– Any contribution, whether financial or in kind, direct or indirect, made by Defensorum or by its Employees on its behalf to political organizations, parties or personalities is prohibited.

– Employees must keep their personal political activities separate from their mission within Defensorum, in order to avoid any situation that could give rise to a conflict of interest. Each member of staff may take part in personal political activities in his or her own time, outside the workplace, with his or her own financial resources and without any reference whatsoever to his or her membership of Defensorum.

3. Warning systems

Defensorum encourages freedom of speech: Employees are encouraged to report to their superiors any concern or report relating to the violation or attempted violation of the law and regulations in force, committed within the framework of the company or in the professional context by an Employee or a manager.

Twitter Facebook LinkedIn Reddit Copy link Link copied to clipboard