Code of Ethics — Our commitments
Established on 14 September 2019, the Fonds pour une Presse Libre (FPL) is engaged in a mission of public interest. That of defending freedom of information, the pluralism of the press and the independence of journalism; to contribute to the protection of the right to know and the freedom to say in the age of the digital revolution; to promote journalism of public interest, upholding humanist values, at the service of the common good and the equality of rights, the rejection of discrimination and the refusal of injustices.
The FPL cannot properly complete this mission of public interest without the support of committed donors.
The FPL can receive donations which are tax-deductible as provided for under French law to individuals and companies who contribute to causes of public interest, and notably those of the defence of freedoms and fundamental rights.
The present code of ethics has the aim of underlining the principles of independence, thoroughness and transparency which guide the actions of the FPL.
It establishes the general principles and rules of behaviour to which must adhere the members of the FPL’s governing board and strategic council, its employees, its occasional contributors, interns and eventual unpaid contributors. All of these categories sign up to the FPL’s Code of Ethics.
It also reaffirms the principle of impartiality that characterises the actions of the FPL, in particular regarding the evaluation of projects submitted to the fund.
1. A management with no vested interests
In conformity with the law and the statutes of the FPL, the members of the Board of Governors and the Strategic Council fulfil their tasks without remuneration and in a disinterested manner. Any form of remuneration is prohibited.
The refunding of expenses is possible, conditional to providing receipts and in accordance with the regulations set out by the governing board, and which are made public.
The signatories to the Code of Ethics are not allowed to accept any kind of gifts, advantages or commissions from a third party with relation to the FPL.
The signatories to the Code of Ethics cannot use for their own benefit, or for the benefit of a third party, information obtained within the framework of their duties or any activities of the FPL.
2.The prevention of conflicts of interest
The Fund places great importance on the prevention of conflicts of interest, and also in preventing any eventual confusion over apparent conflict of interest.
The signatories to the Code of Ethics are required to establish a declaration of their personal interests, which is modelled on that demanded of politicians and public servants by France’s Haute autorité pour la transparence de la vie publique (high authority for the transparency of public life), the HATVP. These declarations are made public by their publication on the FPL website.
The signatories to the Code of Ethics are expressly asked to inform the Board of Governors of the FPL of any of their activities, posts, mandates and participations which may raise doubts over their independence, or the orientation of their actions, within the framework of the activities of the Fund.
3. Thoroughness and transparency
The FPL is committed to rigorously ensuring the transparency of its financial management. The FPL reports in a global and regular manner on its functioning and results, whether these be about its actions or its finances.
All financial operations and transactions are authorised by those with appropriate responsibility to do so, and are recorded and consultable according to the FPL’s internal procedures. They are subject to verifications by an external and independent auditor.
Every year, the FPL establishes and submits to the prefectural administration a report of its activities, to which is joined, if its resources total more than €10,000 per year, its annual accounts and auditor’s report.
The report on the activity of the FPL contains, at the very least, the following elements:
- a report on the activity of the Fund, which concerns both its internal operations and its relations with outside parties;
- a list of actions in the public interest financed by the endowment fund, and the sums involved;
- a list of legal entities which have received allocated funding, and the sums involved;
- in the case that the FPL has appealed for public donations, an account of the use made of the sums collected from the public (as required in France under Article 4 of a law of 7 August 1991);
- a list of donations received by the FPL, and the identities of the donors, both individuals and legal entities.
The FPL is committed to ensuring at every level its reputation of probity. It ensures a transparent communication in the media, on its website and with its different partners, in conformity with the rules and principles of this Code of Ethics.
4. Gifts, donations, bequests
The FPL is entitled to receive gifts, donations and bequests from individuals and legal entities.
Any such gifts, donations and bequests are made without any form of expected service or compensation in return.
These different forms of contributions to the fulfilment of the objectives of the FPL cannot, in any manner nor to any degree, infringe upon or undermine the independence, the freedom of initiative and voice of the Fund. The Fund provides a tax receipt to donors.
The donor must make the commitment that they will not seek to influence projects supported by the FPL, with regard both to their contents and the actors that these projects may mobilise.
The FPL commits itself to providing the utmost transparency towards donors about the use that is made of their contribution.
5. The refusal of gifts, donations, or bequests
In order to better guarantee the independence and impartiality of our actions, we are committed to favouring private donations over those offered by institutional donors.
We do not accept donations from entities or individuals whose commitments run contrary to our mission.
The FPL will refuse any donation that is subject to doubt over its legality, provenance or origin, and refuses any funding or donation that emanates from financial accounts in tax havens or uncooperative jurisdictions.
6. The adoption of, and modifications to, the Code of Ethics
The Code of Ethics of the FPL is adopted by the Board of Governors. It is made public and published on our website. Only the FPL’s Board of Governors can decide its eventual modification.
The members of the governing board, along with the employees of the FPL, its occasional contributors, interns and unpaid contributors must all sign up to the Code of Ethics before taking up their posts. As an exception, those individuals already in their post at the moment of the adoption, or modification, of the Code of Ethics are granted a delay of one month to sign up to the Code.