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We promote human rights and fullness of life for all, especially those made poor

Dóchas Code of Conduct on Images and Messages

A framework for communications

The Code of Conduct was developed by the members of Dóchas, the Irish association of Non-Governmental Organisations and adopted in 2007. It provides a framework for sound and fair communications across the NGO sector in Ireland and beyond. The Code is designed to support NGOs when communicating development issues and to assist with the day-to-day work of the variety of Irish organisations and their partners, working in long-term development, development education and humanitarian relief. 

Implementation of the Code

Edmund Rice Development strives to support the Code’s implementation and to promote it across all members of staff, as well as partners, contractors and the wider NGO sector.

By committing to the Code, Edmund Rice Development has committed to a set of principles, ensuring that we will avoid stereotypical or sensational images, respect the dignity and equality of all people portrayed and promote fairness, solidarity and justice through all our communications. Edmund Rice Development also agrees a number of commitments to ensure the Code’s principles are implemented throughout all activities of our organisation.


The Code is an attempt by Irish NGOs to regulate themselves and to lead by positive example. It strives to encourage an accurate representation of development issues and the people with whom Irish NGOs work in many different countries and contexts, and to facilitate a critical engagement of the Irish public with development issues.

Download the Dóchas Code of Conduct on Images and Messages

Download the Illustrative Guide to the Dochas Code of Conduct on Images and Messages

Guiding Principles

We choose images and messages 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.

We want our communications to reflect the true reality of issues, and we try 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 vulnerable people.


Feel free to contact us! Your comments and feedback on all of our communications (website, brochures, flyers, etc.) are greatly appreciated because only you can tell us how we come across and how you feel about the people and issues we portray.

If there is any other feedback you would like to share with us, please send an email with your feedback and comments to office@edmundricedevelopment.org

Dóchas Feedback Mechanism

Dóchas has introduced a cross-sector feedback mechanism that is available to you.

Should you, for whatever reason, not be satisfied with how we handle your comments and feedback or feel that the manner in which we have dealt with your complaint does not meet your expectations, you can raise the issue with Dóchas.

Please note that Dóchas is asking people only to make use of this facility once they have raised the issue with the organisation concerned (rather than sending complaints directly to Dóchas). Please go to the Dóchas website to find out more about your options.




Edmund Rice Development is a registered company limited by guarantee. Registered in Ireland, Registered Charity Number: 20071004, Company Number: 463400, Revenue Charitable Tax Exemption Number: CHY18492, Registered Address: 23 St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2, D02 AR55.

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