Code of Conduct for Members

  1. Membership of ISWA means you are special because ISWA is sworn to maintain the highest ethics and standards in science journalism and is open only to professional science writers/ journalists/ communicators.
  2. ISWA, the national organization of professionals in science communication can derive respectability and recognition from the media people and the scientific community only by evidence of special professional concern and competence of its members.
  3. Scientists being the principal source of science news, ISWA aims at increasing the flow of news from them to the mass media. Acceptance of ISWA members by the community of scientists is vital for the smooth flow of science news.
  4. So that scientists accept ISWA, members ought to exercise judgment, capacity to discriminate between news and non-news, and above all, to ensure communication accuracy in reporting.
  5. Treatment of scientific controversies should include different viewpoints. Claims must be verified before printing ; and premature publicity, misrepresentation and misinterpretation of scientists findings must be avoided.
  6. Criticisms of projects, policies, and institutions, as long as they are in public interest, are all in the line of duty of ISWA members provided these are based on facts and carry the viewpoints of those who are offended by such criticisms. Members must remember that they are concerned with organizations and institutions nut not individuals. Hence, personal attacks on those who head these institutions must be scrupulously avoided.
  7. Journalists normally do not wish to show their ‘copy’ to their sources. However, a science journalist, for the sake of accuracy, may show his copy to the source just to ensure that it is technically sound and that it carries the important point(s) that the source wishes to make.
  8. ISWA members should avoid being wittingly or unwittingly used for advertising technology products of private companies, treatment by publicity-seeking doctors, or unverifiable or doubtful discoveries of scientists. New techniques or methods developed in government or private sectors could be publicized but writing a story about the end product, once it has been marketed, may be interpreted as advertisement. Example: a genetic engineering technique to produce insulin by a private company is science news. A write up on the product after it has entered the market is no longer science news but commercial advertisement.
  9. Membership of ISWA shall be conditional on strict observance of the highest standards of journalism. Willful or frequent misrepresentation or misinterpretation or inaccuracy or behaviour prejudicial to the professional interests and ethics or the Association will be considered breach of the code of conduct.
  10. The members are expected to maintain high values and ethics of science writing/ journalism/ communication profession. Misuse of membership in any form would lead to disqualification.