Ethics

Why editorial ethics are important

The Media Helping Media ethics section is designed to help journalists understand and navigate some of the challenges they are likely to face as they go about their work.

Respecting privacy as a journalist

Journalists face a difficult balancing act. They must respect privacy, but they must also be rigorous and robust in their investigation into issues that are in the public interest.

Fairness in journalism

Fairness in journalism means exploring all sides of an issue and reporting the findings accurately. Members of the public should never be used to exaggerate the importance of a story.

Accuracy in journalism

A media organisation will be judged on the accuracy and reliability of its journalism, which must be well-sourced, supported by strong evidence, examined and tested, clear and unambiguous. Verified facts must form the basis of all news, not rumour or speculation.

Impartiality in journalism

Being impartial means not being prejudiced towards or against any particular side. All journalists have their own views, however they must learn to leave aside their own personal perspectives.

Is your journalism ethical?

If the content you produce pushes an agenda, spins a line, favours a sector of society, is manipulated by subjective values, you are probably producing PR copy or even propaganda.

Offence and journalism

Journalists must ensure that the material they use in coverage has a clear editorial purpose. Where that material is likely to offend, there need to be clear warnings of what is coming up.

Unconscious bias and its impact on journalism

Journalists must not allow their own personal or political views to influence their pursuit of the truth. They need to remain objective and impartial, while also being aware of the dangers that unconscious biases can cause.

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