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?