Questions of right and wrong arise whenever people communicate. Moreover, ethical communication is fundamental to responsible thinking, decision making, and the development of relationships and communities within and across contexts, cultures, channels, and media. Ethical communication enhances human worth and respect for self and others. Therefore we, the members of the National Communication Association, endorse and are committed to practicing the following principles of ethical communication:
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- We believe that truthfulness, accuracy, honesty, and reason are essential to the integrity of communication.
- We endorse freedom of expression, diversity of perspective, and tolerance of dissent to achieve the informed and responsible decision making fundamental to a civil society.
- We strive to understand and respect other communicators before evaluating and responding to their messages.
- We believe that access to communication resources and opportunities is necessary to fulfill human potential and contribute to the well-being of families, communities, and society.
- We promote communication climates of caring and mutual understanding that respect the unique needs and characteristics of individual communicators.
- We condemn communication that degrades individuals and humanity through distortion, intolerance, intimidation, coercion, hatred, and violence.
- We are committed to the courageous expression of personal convictions in pursuit of fairness and justice.
- We advocate sharing information, opinions, and feelings when facing significant choices while also respecting privacy and confidentiality.
- We believe that unethical communication threatens the quality of all communication and consequently the well-being of individuals and the society in which we live.
- We accept responsibility for the short- and long-term consequences for our own communication and expect the same of others.