Ethical Journalism Network Newsletter – 5 April 2016



Online News Association launches social newsgathering code of ethics

The Online News Association (ONA) have launched a ‘Social Newsgathering Ethics Code‘ in order to gather the support of news and journalism organisations to endorse a set of standards and practices for the gathering and use of user generated content.


ONA board member and chair of the ONA News Ethics Committee, Eric Carvin, the social media editor for Associated Press, wrote a blog announcing the code:

We’re constantly reminded of the need for best practices such as these. The recent bombings in Brussels, Ankara, Lahore and Yemen, among others, provided yet another stark and tragic reminder of how information and imagery spread, in a matter of moments, from the scene of an unexpected news event to screens around the world.

Moments like these challenge us, as journalists, to tell a fast-moving story in a way that’s informative, detailed and accurate. These days, a big part of that job involves wading through a roiling sea of digital content and making sense out of what we surface.

Read the full article here. (ONA)

The code has already been endorsed by several leading news organisations, groups, companies and individuals including the BBC, CNN, and The Guardian.

Read the full list and the full ‘Social Newsgathering Ethics Code’ here. (ONA)

The ONA are encouraging media organisations to support the new code and become listed supporters. To do so send an email with your organisation’s name to [email protected]

For further guidance on online news ethics see:

Guiding Principles for Journalists (Eyewitness Media Hub)

Ethical Guidelines: Using Eyewitness Videos In Human Rights Reporting & Advocacy (WITNESS)

ONA introduces 5 ethical challenges of social news gathering at SXSW (Poynter)

For further coverage of the Social Newsgathering Ethics Code‘s launch:

ONA launches set of guidelines to support news organisations working with eyewitness media (

New ethical standards for social newsgathering (WAN-IFRA)


AP refutes allegations that the news agency collaborated with the Nazi regime

In February 2015, historian Harriet Scharnberg sought information from The Associated Press as part of her research and AP shared with her a large amount of material from its Corporate Archives, including oral histories done by World War II era employees. Her recently published report, based also on other source material outside AP, describes both individuals and their activities before and during the war that were unknown to AP. As a result, AP has been reviewing documents and other files in and beyond AP Corporate Archives, in the U.S. and Europe, to further our understanding of the period. AP rejects the suggestion that it collaborated with the Nazi regime at any time. Rather, the AP was subjected to pressure from the Nazi regime from the period of Hitler’s coming to power in 1933 until the AP’s expulsion from Germany in 1941. AP staff resisted the pressure while doing its best to gather accurate, vital and objective news for the world in a dark and dangerous time.

Read the full article here. (AP)


Reform of Myanmar’s Media System: Bracing for a Slow Ride

Local journalists are investing much hope in the newly installed power in Myanmar to reform the country’s media system. But that will be a gargantuan task. Manny Maung argues that it will happen, but slowly.

Read the full article here. (Media Power Monitor)

Bahamas Press Club adopts Code of Ethics

The Bahamas Press Club 2014, in an effort to enhance the profession of the working media in the country, has adopted a Code of Ethics. In this vein, members or any affiliate of the BPC are expected in the course of performing their duties to, especially in light of the upcoming political season:
SEEK TRUTH AND REPORT IT. The media should be honest, fair and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting information.
MINIMIZE HARM. Ethical members of the media are to treat sources, subjects and colleagues as human beings deserving of respect.
ACT INDEPENDENTLY. The media should be free of obligation to any interest other than the public’s right to know.
BE ACCOUNTABLE. Members of the media are accountable to their readers, listeners, viewers and each other.Read the full article here. (The Bahamas Weekly)

More or Less Dead: Feminicide, Haunting, and the Ethics of Representation in Mexico

More or Less Dead, author Alice Driver’s first book, is a critical and timely look at the ethics of portraying violence against women in the media. The book’s title is taken from a novel by Chilean writer Roberto Bolaño. It refers to the ways that disappearances leave families in limbo, robbing the victim of even having the right to death. Although Driver focuses on the issue in the context of Mexico, the ideas and conclusions she comes to are equally applicable to other cultures and geographies.

Read the book review here. (Upside Down World)

Canadian court sets troubling precedent for press freedom

A Canadian court’s decision compelling a journalist to hand over private communications he had with a source sets a negative precedent for press freedom, the Committee to Protect Journalists said on Monday. The Ontario Superior Court of Justice on March 29 ordered Ben Makuch to hand over his communications with Farah Shirdon, a Canadian citizen who allegedly traveled to Iraq and Syria to join the Islamic State group. Makuch wrote a series of articles for Vice between June and October 2014 about Shirdon, whom he identified by his nom de guerre, Abu Usamah. Canadian prosecutors in September 2015 charged Shirdon in absentia with participation in a terrorist group and in terrorist activity, according to news reports.

Read the full article here. (CPJ)

Fact-checking matters — here are 6 metrics to help prove it

Fact-checkers proudly display anecdotes of their success as a badge of honor. They are also fruitful counterpoints when exasperation with politicians’ fluid relationship with the truth on the campaign trail lead to editorials asking whether fact-checking is dead. But could fact-checkers measure impact in a more quantifiable and less anecdotal manner?

Read the full article here. (Poynter)

Independent local opinion writing is essential—and endangered. Can we redesign it for survival?

For some of us who grew up reading newspapers, one of the most troubling signs of the medium’s decline has been the shrinking of the editorial section—in size and substance. At its best, the editorial page has been the most vital part of the paper, a vibrant hub of argument, reflection, humor, and community engagement in which national and local journalists could sound off on anything and everything, and readers could vent as well. These days, the editorial page is as diminished and endangered as every other section.

Read the full article here. (CJR)

Going Global: Debating the Ethics of National Borders

The debate over immigration agitates and disfigures politics in the U.S., Europe and other countries. The success of anti-immigrant parties and politicians reflects more than anxiety about jobs and terrorism. It also reflects the failure of mainstream parties and politicians to take these worries seriously and to address the hard ethical questions underlying the immigration debate. What might a richer, more philosophically engaged immigration debate look like? With the help of the BBC and a group of participants from over 30 countries, I recently tried to answer this question. Using a new, high-tech studio created by the Harvard Business School, we convened a video-linked global discussion of immigration and the moral status of national borders.

Read the full article here. (Huff Post)



Five recommendations for journalists covering migration & refugees

With the deportation of asylum seekers and other migrants from Greece to back to Turkey making headlines this week it is worth revisiting the five recommendations for journalists covering migration from the EJN’s Moving Stories report.

Read the recommendations and find useful links here. (EJN)

Moving Stories: International review of how media cover migration


Press Release | Foreword | Introduction | Recommendations