Ethics & media: information for members

The Society’s Press Centre receives requests for expert comment by psychologists on a wide range of topics.

Members who work with the media or participate in media productions are encouraged to uphold professional standards:

Respecting the dignity and autonomy of contributors and other persons:

  • being open in dealings with production companies and contributors
  • working on a basis of valid consent from contributors
  • promoting fairness and sensitivity in portraying individuals and groups
  • advocating reasonable rights of reply
  • observing best practice standards for privacy, confidentiality and anonymity which are only infringed with the valid consent of the individual(s) concerned or where there is a clear over-riding public interest
  • refraining from public comment on the behaviour or psychology of identifiable individuals where there is any risk of offence, distress or other harms
  • considering potential effects on third parties such as relatives and colleagues of contributors
  • advocating caution in the use of archive or library material involving emotional trauma, illness, death or suffering, or revelations of a personal nature, and in the need for appropriate consent for the re-use of such material or material supplied by third parties
  • advocating for the protection of the rights of persons who are vulnerable or of limited capacity

Supporting high standards of integrity:

  • maintaining high scientific standards of accuracy and evidence
  • advocating respect for academic freedom and integrity
  • advocating coverage of a diverse range of views and fostering debate
  • advocating for engagement with appropriate ethics review
  • avoiding offering comment, opinion or advice beyond one’s professional competence
  • maintaining high standards of professional practice and ensuring appropriate supervision and support from professional peers
  • respecting the duty of confidentiality to one’s clients
  • ensuring that one’s correct professional title is referenced in the production or in the credits, as appropriate

Being socially responsible:

  • recognising that media production exists within the context of human society and has a potential for great influence
  • accordingly, acknowledging a shared collective duty for the welfare of human and non-human beings, both within the societies in which media production takes place, and beyond them
  • considering possible risks and seeking to minimise them while maximising benefits

 

Additional guidelines from the European Federation of Psychologists' Associations (EFPA)  on working with the media.

For more information about the Society’s media services,including how to join our media database of experts visit our Press Centre.

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