Guiding principles

Preamble

The Association believes in, and stands for, the principles of public interest, a free press, free speech and free expression and the public’s right to know.

The Association recognises it has a diverse range of members, whose publishing activities exist in a range of environments, including a free press, a restricted and licensed press, government censorship and oppression of freedom of expression.

Embracing all publishers of newspapers, regardless of the political and social circumstances in which they operate, the association’s goal is to support the provision of the best possible quality of journalism for readers and societies.

The Association’s guiding principles work in conjunction with any and all ethical requirements and employment standards placed upon employees of member companies and publishers.

Guiding Principles

  • We stand for the pursuit of truth and the public’s right to know

All publishers and their staff, whether engaged in journalism or commercial activities in print
or on digital platforms, should:

  • Act with honesty and fairness; behave with integrity; declare conflicts of interest; respect and maintain confidentiality where it is promised
  • Treat everyone with respect and courtesy, without harassment
  • Uphold the good reputation and integrity of the newspaper industry
  • Comply with the laws of the country in which they operate– but challenge such laws where those laws undermine the principles of free speech and the public’s right to know

In the realm of journalism, publishers and their staff should:

  • Ensure staff identify themselves clearly and not use false or misleading names or titles in the practice of journalism (except in cases of covert investigations that are judged by the editor to be in the public interest and proportionate to the situation)
  • Ensure journalists are independent and that any conflict of interest is declared
  • Report impartially, accurately and with integrity and balance, including a right of reply
  • Consistently make a distinction between fact, conjecture and opinion
  • Ensure headlines accurately and fairly convey the substance of the story and not mislead readers or users of digital-based news services
  • Not withhold information that is material to an article or editorial judgment
  • Not alter or falsify in any way a photograph without stating a manipulation has taken place Correct mistakes where it is accepted that they occur, in a timely fashion
  • Give special consideration in relation to privacy to those in grief and trauma; as well as children and other vulnerable members of society. The association acknowledges Article 3 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, which says the best interests of the child must be the primary consideration
  • Prohibit plagiarism and fabrication
  • Refuse to make payments for articles that may fund or reward criminal behaviour
  • Avoid emphasis on gender, religion, minority groups, sexual orientation, race, social status, physical or mental capacity unless it can be justified as material to an article