Dóchas launches Guide to Ethical Communications: Empowering NGOs to Communicate Responsibly
New Guide will replace the Dóchas Code of Conduct on Images and Messages
17 May 2023
“The Dóchas Guide challenges international NGO (INGO) staff to engage in critical reflection regarding the messages they create and the imagery they choose, urging them to uphold the principles of respect, privacy, and security of content contributors." - Jane-Ann McKenna
Today marks a significant milestone as Dóchas proudly launches the new Guide to Ethical Communications. This comprehensive resource will serve as an invaluable tool for NGOs when designing and implementing their communication strategies, ensuring a responsible and ethical approach.
Building upon the foundation laid by The Dóchas Code of Conduct on Images and Messages (2006) and The Illustrative Guide to the Dóchas Code of Conduct on Images and Messages (2014), this guide embraces the evolving landscape of humanitarian and development communications. It acknowledges the profound impact that imagery and messages have on perceptions and attitudes while emphasizing the responsibility of NGOs to prioritize the well-being and dignity of the people and communities they work with.
In a concerted effort to shift the narrative away from international NGOs and towards local organizations and partners in development settings, these guidelines encourage NGOs to embrace diverse voices and perspectives in their communications. With local organizations, partners, and communities at the core of the story, the guide aims to foster inclusivity and authentic representation throughout all stages of content creation.
Speaking during the launch, CEO of Dóchas, Jane-Ann McKenna said “The Dóchas Guide challenges international NGO (INGO) staff to engage in critical reflection regarding the messages they create and the imagery they choose, urging them to uphold the principles of respect, privacy, and security of content contributors. To that end consent has become a central tenet of the new Guide. Ensuring that those who are even in the most vulnerable situations retain authority and control over their own story. The Guide further calls on organizations to examine the implications of the language and terms employed, emphasizing the importance of considering power dynamics within the creative process.”
The Dóchas Guide to Ethical Communications is rooted in three fundamental core values: respect for the dignity of people concerned, belief in the equality of all individuals, and an unwavering commitment to promoting solidarity, fairness, and justice. These values are not only focused on those whose stories NGOs are trying to tell, but on the Irish audiences they speak to.
The new Guide has come about following a year-long process, which examined and reviewed existing practices, and brought in the voices of Dóchas members around the globe who are communicating on a daily basis to the Irish public.
See the New Guide here
Photo credit: Wanjiru Kimuya interviewing Catherine Bahati in Isiolo, Kenya.Videographer- Mackin Barasa. Photo by Mark Njoroge. Photo courtesy of Trócaire.