Thursday, June 20, 2024
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EDITORIAL POLICY & CODE OF PRACTICE

  1. FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION THE BIRTHRIGHT OF ALL

It is a fundamental constitutional right to have the freedom of opinion and expression. This includes the right to hold, receive and impart opinions. The press shall, to this end, have the right to report and publish freely and the right to be accorded the fullest possible facilities for access to public information.

Freedom of the press shall mean and include that freedom from restraint which is essential to enable proprietors, editors and journalists of Wolf Media to advance the public interest by publishing facts and opinions without which any democratic society cannot develop, progress or make responsible judgment.

The basic principle to be upheld is that the freedom of the press is indivisible from and subject to the same rights and duties as that of the individual and rests on the public’s fundamental right to be informed and to freely receive and disseminate opinions.

  • Editorial Mission

The editorial mission of our sites is to tell the truth, beholden to none. We do this through honest and independent journalism that serves engaged and focused audiences who reject sham and pretense and demand truth and authenticity.

Each site represents a unique voice speaking to a distinct audience, but all share a passion for building a trusted relationship with their readers, viewers and listeners through fearless and original journalism about what matters, or should matter to them. We tell our readers what we know, how we know it, and why we believe it matters. And we are open about how we got there.

The desire to help our readers understand their world guides our work. We seek to inform, debunk, challenge, provoke, untangle, and amuse but above all to tell the truth as we see it. We will write honestly, transparently and unsentimentally, with intellect and boldness. But we will treat our readers and those we write about as reasonably as we can and recognize the humanity of those we cover.

  • Our Voice

Our voice is iconic, authentic, and passionate. It rejects stereotypes, challenges cant, and unravels spin. It is independent-minded and questioning; irreverent when warranted, sometimes scathing, always pithy, smart and incisive. We believe that the world is better understood when we embrace different perspectives and experiences. We will provide a platform for voices rarely or not heard.

(c) Our Impact

Our impact lies in precise and plain-spoken truth, to inform and empower our readers, viewers and listeners, and in telling stories others cannot or will not. We believe that trust in truth is an inherent good and our audiences’ faith in our work is of prime importance; thus, we shall put a high premium on the accuracy and honesty of all we write and say.

(d ) Our Focus

The issues and interests of our audiences are paramount. We build their loyalty and engagement through the quality of our journalism and their experience of it,  and by enabling them to share their knowledge and perspectives. As such, we shall be an audience- not producer-centric even while serving our audiences in new, innovative, and undiscovered ways.

(e ) Our Audiences

We seek to be the leader in and for our audiences, leaders in our spaces, and leading-edge in all we write and say. We will be honest with our audiences about what we do and do not know and be open about our perspectives. We will be ambitious and innovative in our work in the service of our audience.

There can never be enough great independent journalism or too broad an audience with whom to share it.

(2) RELATIONS

(a) Accord Communications Limited Shareholders, Directors and employees

All our shareholders, directors, employees, and their spouses and children shall not be investigated except-

  • Where they assume public office or
  • Where they are entrusted with public funds

(b) Other media organizations

Accord Communications shall not engage in media wars against other media organizations

Accord Communications Limited shall respect intellectual property law by crediting all sources of news and pictures

(c) CODE OF PRACTICE

Editors are responsible for the use of material submitted by journalists employed by Accord Communications Limited. They should also satisfy themselves as far as possible that materially contributed by non-staff members was obtained in accordance with this code.

This code demands self-restraint by editors and journalists, and it applies in the spirit as well as in the letter.

 

  1. INDEPENDENCE

Accord Communication reporters, Editors whether interviews are done online via platforms like Facebook, Zoom, or Google Meetings, the final product (News) shall always be independent of influencing hands to shape the debate.

  1. REPORTING NEWS
  • Accord Communications Limited shall be obliged to report news truthfully, accurately and fairly.
  • News shall be presented in context and in a balanced manner, without an intentional or negligent departure from the facts whether by-
    – Distortion. exaggeration or misrepresentation
    – Material omissions: or-
    – Summarisation
  • Only what may reasonably be true having to the source of the news may be represented as facts, and such facts shall be published fairly with due regard to context and importance.
  • Accord Communications LTD shall not publish information obtained by dishonest or unfair means or the publication of which would involve a breach of confidence unless there is an overriding public interest.
  • Accord Communications LTD shall not place gratuitous emphasis on the race, nationality, religion, color, country of origin, gender, sexual preferences, marital status, political views or intellectual or physical disability of either individuals or groups unless the fact is relevant.
  1. ACCURACY
  • Accord Communications Ltd shall take care not to publish inaccurate, misleading or distorted material.
  • Where there is reason to doubt the accuracy of a report and it is practicable to verify the accuracy thereof, it shall be verified. Where it has not been practicable to verify the accuracy of a report, this shall be mentioned in the report.
  1. FACT AND OPINION
  • Accord Communications LTD  shall clearly distinguish between fact and opinion. Generally, factual material shall be based on some truth and should be capable of justification.
  • Opinions should equally have some factual basis and should not be conjured out of thin air.
  • Where a report is not based on facts or is founded on opinions, allegations, rumors, or suppositions, it shall be presented in such a manner as to indicate this clearly.
  1. ADVOCACY
  • Accord Communications LTD is justified in strongly advocating their own views on controversial topics provided that they treat their readers fairly by-
    – Making fact and opinion clearly distinguishable.
    – Not misrepresenting or suppressing relevant facts
    – Not distorting the facts in text or headlines

 

  1. ACCURACY, UPDATING AND ERROR CORRECTION

The pursuit of truth requires that we are accurate in all we write and say, from the slightest fact to the broadest context. Writers are responsible for the accuracy of their published output regardless of format and distribution platform, but everyone who touches the copy during editing shares in that responsibility.

Information must be verified before publication, using original sources where possible. Neither the need for fast turnarounds nor format is an excuse for inaccuracy. In reality, we are always up against deadlines, and new information may become available, but errors of omission, partial truths and missing context dent our credibility.

Best practice is to update and, where necessary, correct information throughout the life of a story, and to be clear about which is which.

Post-publication, we must correct our errors, large or small, as soon as we become aware of them. Wording, styling and responsibilities for making corrections, updates, and clarifications should follow the most recent guidance in the Style Guide.

 

  • Accord Communications LTD should make amends for publishing information or comment that is found to be harmfully inaccurate by publishing, promptly and with appropriate prominence, a retraction, correction, or explanation.
  • An apology shall be published wherever deemed appropriate by the Editor.
  • A fair opportunity for reply to inaccuracies shall be given to individuals or organizations as appropriate at the Editor’s discretion.
  1. PRIVACY
  • Accord, in both news and comment, shall exercise exceptional care and consideration in matters involving the private lives and concerns of individuals, bearing in mind that any right to privacy or breach of confidence may be overridden by legitimate public interest.
  • Publication is in the public interest if it helps in:-
    – Detecting or exposing crime, misdemeanor, or corrupt practices
    – Detecting or exposing anti-social conduct
    – Protecting public health and safety
    – Preventing the public from being misled by some statement or action of an individual or organization without distorting facts.
  1. HOSPITALS
  • Except where it is in the public interest, reporters making inquiries at hospitals or similar health institutions shall clearly identify themselves to a responsible officer and obtain permission before entering non-public areas
  • The restrictions on intruding into privacy are particularly relevant to inquiries about individuals in hospitals or similar health institutions.
  1. GATHERING INFORMATION
  • Accord writers and reporters shall neither obtain nor seek to obtain information or pictures through intimidation or coercion unless it is in the public interest.
  • Unless their queries are in the public interest, Wolf journalists shall not photograph individuals on private property without their consent and shall not persist in telephoning or questioning individuals after having been asked to desist and shall not remain on their property after having been asked to leave and shall not follow them.
  1. SOCIETAL MORALS
  • Reports, photographs or sketches relative to matters involving deaths, suicide, indecency or obscenity shall be presented with due sensitivity towards the prevailing moral climate.
  • In cases involving personal grief or shock, inquiries shall be carried out and any approach made with sympathy.

13.SOCIAL MEDIA: We apply the same standards to all of our content on whichever platform we publish it. Please refer to the Accord Communications LtD Employee Handbook for our social media policies.

14: SOURCING: We do not pay for interviews or documents. We do not promise favorable coverage in return for a source’s cooperation. We do not threaten uncooperative sources. We identify ourselves as journalists except in the rare cases where there is a clear public interest justification for failing to do so.

Do not submit questions in advance of an interview, except in the most general way. If notice of more specific questions is required, (this may occasionally be unavoidable in complex legal cases) your EiC’s approval is needed. Do not agree to sources reading stories pre-publication or having the right to quote approval. Our readers should be the first public audiences for our work.

As a general rule, substantive stories should have at least two independent sources.

Do not exaggerate sourcing; a single source is a source,’ not ‘sources’. Similarly, a single study or report is ‘a study’ or ‘a report’, not ‘studies’ or ‘reports’.

15: TRANSPARENCY

Decisions about what we write about and how we undertake the work are made solely by our writers and editors. Advertisers have no sway over coverage. We will disclose any commercial relationships the company has that might appear to influence our coverage.

Readers must never wonder if we are telling them something because we were paid to do so rather than we think they should know. Nor should we be put off asking hard questions because we have created a business relationship with a source.

The company runs an e-commerce business, The Inventory. Its content is produced independently of Editorial; Wolf Media may get a commission on any sale made through its e-commerce posts.

  1. INNOCENT RELATIVES AND FRIENDS

    Unless it is in the public interest, our writers and journalists shall generally avoid identifying relatives or friends of persons convicted or accused of a crime.
  2. JUVENILES
  • Reporters and writers shall not normally interview or photograph children under the age of 18 on subjects involving the personal welfare of the child, in the absence of or without the consent of a parent or guardian.
  • Children shall not be interviewed or photographed while at school without the permission of the school authorities, unless in the public interest.
  • Our journalists and writers shall not reveal the name, address, school, or any particulars that would lead to the identification of any person under the age of 18 who is involved in cases concerning sexual offenses, whether as victims or as witnesses or as accused persons unless the Court or the Minister rules otherwise.
  1. VIOLENCE

Due care and responsibility shall be exercised by reporters and writers with regard to the presentation of brutality, violence, and atrocities. “-

  1. VICTIMS OF RAPE OR INDECENT ASSAULT OR SEXUAL HARRASSMENT
  • The identity of rape victims and other victims of sexual violence shall not be published either on our social media pages or on our websites by Wolf Media without their consent.
  • The identity of perpetrators of sexual violence and their residence after serving prison terms shall not be protected by Wolf Media.
  1. DISCRIMINATION
  • Accord Communications Limited shall avoid prejudicial or pejorative reference to a person’s race, religion, sex or sexual orientation or any physical or mental illness or disability.
  • Accord Communications Limited shall avoid publishing details of a person’s race, color, religion, nationality, country of origin, sex or sexual orientation, marital status, political views or intellectual or physical disability unless these are directly relevant to the story.
  • Accord shall avoid the use and publication of threatening, abusive or insulting words or material with the intention of stirring up racial hatred or in circumstances where racial hatred is likely to be stirred up.
  1. COPYRIGHT: Accord Communications Ltd shall own and have rights on the content published on our platforms unless in instances where content like videos and photos are picked from social media or any other digital media and already in the public domain.

 

22: LANGUAGE AND TONE: Our sites are written in a conversational style, employ a range of rhetorical devices, and use the vernacular of their audiences. That is a vital part of their distinctive voice. Words are most potent when used with precision and incisiveness. Invective, insult and profanity wear thin if overused.

 

  1. CONFIDENTIAL SOURCES: Accord Communications Ltd journalists and writers shall have an obligation to protect confidential sources of information. However, the Editor must be given all sources of information by all journalists and writers. Any information from a confidential source must be corroborated by at least two authentic and independent sources.

As a general rule, we will prefer not to publish information attributed to anonymous sources. Providing clear provenance for facts and quotations builds the trust of readers in the credibility of our reporting.

Anonymous tips and talking confidentially to sources will always be an essential part of reporting, but in published stories, sources will be granted anonymity only for specific and crucial reasons. There are times when anonymous sourcing is unavoidable, notably to prevent an individual from being put in harm’s way or losing their job were they to be identified.

Where the anonymous source is central to the story, those should have the approval of the writer’s editor-in-chief before publication. We should avoid completely anonymously sourced stories, except in the most exceptional cases, where the Editorial Director’s consent is required.

In all cases, the source should be known to the writer, the story’s editor, and legal counsel if necessary, and similarly, the terms on which the writer has granted their source anonymity.

Writers should always weigh sources’ motives before granting anonymity and be in explicit agreement with the source whether that person is talking off-the-record or on background. The risk is ever-present that a source who wants anonymity does so in pursuit of an agenda. We should be watchful that we are not inadvertently used for ill.

We should make every effort to confirm and corroborate information provided anonymously through public records or on-the-record sources. We should also give readers as much information as possible to judge the origin, reliability and motivations of our anonymous sources short of revealing the individual’s identity.

Once we have agreed to anonymity, we honor that commitment. We will also be transparent with readers as to why we made such a decision.

  1. CONFLICTS OF INTEREST: We should pay our way when covering stories to avoid any suspicion of quid pro quo. The intention of those providing trips and access is to secure favorable coverage. If junkets, press tickets, review or test materials, or travel are necessary for some stories, they must be treated for what they are—a necessary evil when access would otherwise be impossible or we would be disadvantaged in producing timely coverage compared to rivals—and appropriately disclosed to readers.

As a rule of thumb, follow the Society of Professional Journalists’ guideline: “Refuse gifts, favors, fees, free travel and special treatment…that may compromise integrity or impartiality or may damage credibility.”

Most of all, apply common sense.

Under no circumstances should staff accept employment, compensation or in-kind gifts from any individual or organization that falls within that staff member’s area of coverage.

25: FAIRNESS: Our goal is not to please those on whom we report or to produce stories that create the appearance of faux balance (on the one hand, on the other), but to present the truth as fully as we know it. No story can be true if it omits points of major importance or significance, or if it includes irrelevant information at the expense of significant facts. Fairness includes completeness and relevance.

When we allege wrongdoing or malfeasance or make serious criticisms against the conduct of an individual or an organization, we should make every effort to allow them to respond and to provide ample but reasonable time to do so.

We recognize that private individuals have a greater right to privacy than public figures and others who seek power, influence and attention. The grounds for an investigation that involves significant intrusion into a private individual’s privacy must be very strong.

  1. CONSULTATION

From time to time, where dealing with a sensitive story, the Editor, the writers may need to consult with Management. Sensitive stories shall be those that have serious national implications: such as the declaration of war, national disaster, revelations that can affect the position of the national economy, can cause national panic or panic on a wide scale, can cause civil strife or national strikes, etc.

27 DISREPUTE

  • Accord Communications Ltd shall use their own discretion in matters of taste, care shall be taken to avoid lapses of taste so repugnant as to bring the freedom of the press into disrepute or be extremely offensive to the public.
  • Accord Communications Ltd have a duty to uphold their professional ethics and conduct and must ensure that they do not bring the profession into disrepute