17th April 2015
By Stefanie Chernow

Ethical Journalism Newsletter: April 17, 2015


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Ethical Journalism News And Debates

Ten ways for investigative journalists to check their facts when using search engines and social media

A new book about online research techniques – The Verification Handbook for Investigative Reporting – aims to help journalists sort facts from hearsay when using search engines, social media and publicly-available data to research their stories. Press Gazette went through the handbook and selected ten tips for investigative journalists working digitally. (via Press Gazette)

A cartoonist’s burden: With talent comes responsibility

Zulkiflee Sm Anwar Ulhaque, better known by his pen name of Zunar, is one of Malaysia’s most acerbic and controversial cartoonists, picking apart the government in a country where deference to those in power has long been the norm. (via Al Jazeera)

Conflict of Interest: What Does it Mean?

Conflict of interest is an example of an “open concept.” While it’s possible to give some textbook examples, there is no single definition that adequately covers all cases. (via Ethics AdviceLine for Journalists)

China jails journalist over leaked ‘state secrets’

Gao was “the victim of vaguely worded and arbitrary state-secret laws that are used against activists as part of the authorities’ attack on freedom of expression”, said William Nee, China researcher at the rights group. (via BBC)

Reports & Resources

Verification Handbook for Investigative Reporting

The European Journalism Centre

The European Journalism Centre (EJC) has released the Verification Handbook for Investigative Reporting , a companion handbook to the Verification Handbook which was published by the Centre in early 2014.

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Reporting conflict in Ukraine: a practical guide for journalists

Thomson Foundation

The downloadable guide aims to provide some pointers and practical advice on how to stay safe while getting closer to the heart of what is going on. It is not an exhaustive guide to reporting conflict but a short introduction to some of the challenges reporters face in a bitterly divided area.

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Ukraine: Trapped in a Propaganda War. Abandoned. Frustrated. Stigmatized.


This report examines a largely overlooked but not unimportant aspect of the humanitarian crisis in eastern Ukraine: the extent to which a lack of timely and reliable information is exacerbating the misery of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), rendering them vulnerable through confusion and mistrust, and contributing to rising tensions between the host population and the displaced.

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Platform to promote the protection of journalism and safety of journalists

Council of Europe

This platform is a public space to facilitate the compilation, processing and dissemination of information on serious concerns about media freedom and safety of journalists in Council of Europe member States, as guaranteed by Art. 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

It aims to improve the protection of journalists, better address threats and violence against media professionals and foster early warning mechanisms and response capacity within the Council of Europe.

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This simple game shows why metadata laws won’t protect whistleblowers

Australia has passed data retention laws that force telecommunications companies to retain some types of phone and web metadata. This data can be requested by government agencies and has been used to investigate leaks of government information to journalists.

It now takes a warrant to access a journalist’s metadata to identify a source, but this offers limited protection. Government agencies can still seek data from suspected sources without a warrant. This game shows how a whistleblower can still be identified. (via The Guardian)