The Code of Conduct encourages NGOs and others reporting about development to choose images and messages that respect human dignity.


The Code offerts a set of guidelines to assist organisations in their decision-making about which images and messages to choose in their communication while maintaining full respect for human dignity. By signing the Code, Development NGOs commit to a set of principles, ensuring that they will avoid stereotypical or sensational images.

Illustrated Guide

Dóchas, the Irish Development NGO platform, has developed a useful illustrated guide for NGOs on how to use the Code of Conduct with practical examples.

Download the illustrated guide here


Core Values and Guiding Principles

The Code of Conduct’s guiding principles stipulate that “choices of images and messages will be made 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.

Accordingly, in all our communications and where practical and reasonable within the need to reflect reality, we strive 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 the vulnerable people.


The Code of Conduct was presented at the Development Education Forum in Malta, in October 2006, and was approved by CONCORD General Assembly in June 2007.