Fair Publishing Practices Code

The CMA's Bylaws and Fair Publishing Practices Code are printed in the back of the Catholic Media Association Member Directory each year.

The Preamble to Fair Publishing Practices Code is below. A complete copy of the updated Fair Publishing Practices Code is available for download.




This Code is a pledge of our professional behavior as members of the Catholic Media Association (CMA). It suggests approaches to everyday ethical issues that confront everyone in our apostolate: publishers; editors; reporters and writers; broadcasters; communications professionals; photographers, videographers and filmmakers; artists and designers; and professionals in advertising, circulation, marketing and administration. We expect all members to observe the principles set forth here as a condition of continuing membership.

The ethics we practice are on public display whether we work in communications, newspapers, magazines, newsletters, books, podcasts, broadcast outlets or social and digital media, or as staff members, freelancers or independent content creators. What we publish or otherwise communicate and our interactions with audiences, news sources, contributors, advertisers, coworkers and others significantly affect our audiences, their understanding of the Catholic Church, society at large and ourselves.

This Code applies principles derived from the Catholic faith, and its guidelines coincide with those followed by secular journalism organizations. It follows certain moral principles:

  • Truth must be the cornerstone of all our work.
  • Pursuit of the truth will lead to the Truth that is God.
  • Therefore, telling the truth must be our first priority, whether in a story, a photo, a quote, the presentation of an offer in an advertisement or in dealings with our various audiences.
  • Any breach of this primary, guiding principle hurts ourselves and other people, sullies reputations and damages the credibility of our publishing institutions and of the Church.

All employees of CMA member entities and all individual CMA members should examine their cultural values both to be aware of their own prejudices and other limits on perceptions of truth and to seek to understand and represent the diversity of the communities we serve.

While this Code attempts to be comprehensive in addressing ethical issues faced by CMA members, it does not cover all areas of operation, particularly those connected to business practices and personnel management. That said, we as members of the CMA commit ourselves to business and hiring practices that reflect the people we serve and that center on treating all people — whether ordained, consecrated or lay — with fairness and justice.

The CMA cannot and does not continuously monitor its members’ publishing practices, but this Code is intended to provide members with minimum standards of practice. This Code should not be construed as legal advice.

Under no circumstances shall the CMA, nor any of its members, be responsible for any liability incurred by, damages of any kind assessed, claims initiated or actions brought against any member arising from or related to this Code or for the manner in which this Code is enforced.

We recognize our calling as journalists and other media professionals to behave in a moral, ethical manner. This Code is meant to guide us as we pursue our important apostolate and to reflect our shared ethical values.