Dóchas Code of Conduct on Images and Messages
Misean Cara is a signatory of the Dóchas Code of Conduct on Images and Messages (“the Code”) and commits to applying the Code’s principles for all our communications.
A framework for communications
The conduct was developed by the members of Dóchas, the Irish association of Non-Governmental Organisations and adopted in 2007. It provides a framework for sound and fair communications across the NGO sector in Ireland and beyond. The Code is designed to support NGOs when communicating development issues and to assist with the day-to-day work of the variety of Irish organisations and their partners, working in long-term development, development education and humanitarian relief.
Implementation of the Code
Misean Cara strives to support the Code’s implementation and to promote it across all members of staff, as well as partners, contractors and the wider NGO sector.
By signing the Code, Misean Cara commits to a set of principles, ensuring that we will avoid stereotypical or sensational images, respect the dignity and equality of all people portrayed and promote fairness, solidarity and justice through all our communications. Misean Cara also agrees a number of commitments to ensure the Code’s principles are implemented throughout all activities of our organisation.
The Code is an attempt by Irish NGOs to regulate themselves and to lead by positive example. It strives to encourage an accurate representation of development issues and the people with whom Irish NGOs work in many different countries and contexts, and to facilitate a critical engagement of the Irish public with development issues.
Below you can find a number of documents, websites and resources related to the Code of Conduct on Images and Messages.
- Download the Code of Conduct
- Got questions about the Code? Have a look at the Illustrative Guide to the Dochas Code of Conduct on Images and Messages.
- Visit the Dochas blog for a variety of articles, discussions and links on various topics, including communicating development.
Feel free to contact us! Your comments and feedback on all of our communications (website, brochures, flyers, etc.) are greatly appreciated because only you can tell us how we come across and how you feel about the people and issues we portray.
- If you feel like some of the images or messages we use in our communications misrepresent the issues and people we strive to portray.
- If you feel like an image or artwork we use is breaking the Code’s principles.
- If you’re unhappy with a particular picture, video, article etc…
- If you have any ideas on how to improve the existing coverage of a topic.
- If you like our communications materials.
- If there is a specific photo, article, brochure, etc… that you thought was particularly effective or stood out.
- If there is any other feedback you would like to share with us.
Please send an email with your feedback and comments
Some Guiding Principles
Misean Cara chooses images and messages based on the paramount principles of:
- respect for the dignity of the people concerned;
- belief in the equality of all people;
- acceptance of the need to promote fairness, solidarity and justice.
We want our communications to reflect the true reality of issues, and we try to:
- Choose images and related messages based on values of respect equality, solidarity and justice;
- Truthfully represent any image or depicted situation both in its immediate and in its wider context so as to improve public understanding of the realities and complexities of development;
- Avoid images and messages that potentially stereotype, sensationalise or discriminate against people, situations or places;
- Use images, messages and case studies with the full understanding, participation and permission of the subjects (or subjects’ parents/guardian);
- Ensure those whose situation is being represented have the opportunity to communicate their stories themselves;
- Establish and record whether the subjects wish to be named or identifiable and always act accordingly;
- Conform to the highest standards in relation to human rights and protection of vulnerable people.
Misean Cara adheres to the code by seeking verbal permission from individuals in your photos/stories to ensure that everyone is comfortable with their image/story being used. We document the following information in the photo and/or story:
- Name and title of the individual(s);
- Project name;
- Brief project description;
- Member organisation name; and
- Name of person/organisation credited with taking the photo.
Dóchas Feedback Mechanism
Dóchas has introduced a cross-sector feedback mechanism that is available to you.
Should you, for whatever reason, not be satisfied with how we handle your comments and feedback or feel that the manner in which we have dealt with your complaint does not meet your expectations, you can raise the issue with Dóchas.
Please note that Dóchas is asking people only to make use of this facility once they have raised the issue with the organisation concerned (rather than sending complaints directly to Dóchas). Please go to the Dóchas website to find out more about your options.