Media Ethics

One of the key factors in separating professional and trustworthy media from purveyors of “fake news” is that they follow codes of ethics that, ideally, they make publicly available.

Although ethical guidelines can vary depending on the news outlet, there are some basic principles that are shared by all, with publishing accurate information and seeking the truth topping the list. Others include being fair and balanced, making fast and transparent corrections, not using your position to gain financial or other advantages, being honest in your use of sources and minimising harm to vulnerable people you are covering.

After a broad consultation within AFP and extensive research of existing ethics codes around the world, Eric Wishart drew up a Charter,  a code of Editorial Principles and Best Practices (ethics),  and a set of sourcing guidelines for the Agency. The ethics have been published in English, French, Spanish, Arabic and Chinese.

Here are links to some other valuable resources, including guidelines on covering such sensitive topics as gender and sexual orientation, race and suicide.

Agency Standards and Codes

ABC Australia Editorial Policies:

The Associated Press News Values and Principles

Reuters News Agency Standards and Values:

The South China Morning Post code of ethics:

Other Organisation Standards

The Society of Professional Journalists’ code of ethics.

The Press Council of India Norms of Journalism Conduct:

Issue/Topic Specific Guidance

Covering children and trauma, including interviewing children.

Covering gender and sexual orientation.

Covering race/ethnicity, disability, immigration, sexuality and gender identity, drugs and alcohol.