EJN test for hate speech

A Checklist for Tolerance

1. When dealing with stories where political hate-speech is used it is vital not to sensationalise. Ethical journalists will ask:

  • It may be outrageous, but is it newsworthy? What is the intention of the speaker?
  • What will be the impact of publication?
  • Is there a danger of inflaming passions and incitement to violence?
  • Is the speech fact-based and have the claims been tested?

2. In gathering and editing controversial material, journalists should avoid a rush to publish. It is helpful to pause, even if only for a few moments, to reflect on the contents of the story:

  • Have we avoided cliché and stereotypes?
  • Have we asked all the relevant and necessary questions?
  • Have we been sensitive to our audience?
  • Have we been temperate in use of language?
  • Do the pictures tell the story without resorting to violence and voyeurism?
  • Have we used diverse sources and included the voices of relevant minorities?
  • Does it meet standards set in editorial and ethical codes?

3. One last look and moment of reflection is always useful before pushing the button to publish:

  • Have we done good work?
  • Are there any nagging doubts?
  • And, finally, should I ask a colleague?

Download the EJN’s five-point test for Hate Speech and use it in your newsroom.

Hate Speech

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