Our Code of Conduct is essentially a social contract, and is something of which iNA is proud to present. The importance of this is expressed in this article by iNA staffer Buddy Tetreault.
Internet News Alliance’s (iNA) Official Code of Conduct is embodied in the following:
The iNA Code of Conduct is essentially in agreement with the basic principles of classic Media Ethics Standards. There are however many issues that must be addressed in a world where basic principals such as the freedom of the Press, freedom of speech, and the free sharing of ideas and beliefs, are not always followed, or in some cases, actively vilified by local, regional or national governments.
Therefore, iNA deems it necessary to apply the most basic principals as common denominators to all who are involved with Journalistic endeavors via iNA, and to require contributors to agree to uphold, and/or promote the following to the greatest extent possible.
A striving for:
- EXCELLENCE IN JOURNALISM: by reporting on, and telling the stories that beg to be told, in an elegant, journalistic way is something to strive for. All journalists should desire to tell stories accurately, and to do so in a way that compels his or her audience to be involved with, and enlightened by the subject.
- RESPECTFUL: There is also an implied moral responsibility for each individual (journalist or, editor) to access the damage that publishing a story may create. This is particularly relevant when the focus of a story is an individual, as opposed to a corporation, or government. The story may be compelling, so the manner of the report is what should be considered.
- FAIR: In regard to a story, it is imperative that the story contains verifiable facts. It is imperative to always ‘get it right’, and do your best for excellence in each case.
- BALANCED: Stories that involve opposing views should address both sides of the story.
Avoid the following:
- PLAGIARISM: If an existing, published or unpublished story is quoted, give due credit to the source of material.
- LIBEL: Be clear and accurate with details concerning the people and subjects of a story, and do no harm when reporting.
- DIVULGING SOURCES: IF conditions of anonymity are required or desired, the journalist should keep in confidence his or her source, and only reveal an anonymous source when specifically authorized by the source in question. It is the belief of iNA that it is the exclusive prerogative of the journalist who agrees to, and grants the promise of anonymity to a source. Once given, the responsibility to keep a source in confidence remains with the journalist.
- CONFLICT OF INTEREST: The clear notice if/when a journalist is, or is not receiving any form of compensation, or consideration in return for publishing a story about family or personal friends should be disclosed up front to avoid conflict of interest issues.
- BIAS: It is unreasonable to believe that a complete lack of bias is possible. However, iNA stands by the principal that, true reporting should be as free of personal bias as humanly possible.
- PERSONAL OPINIONS: If a story contains a personal opinion on the part of the journalist, and then the story must be classified as an opinion piece.
- FAKE NEWS/REPORTING: Avoid speculative news reports. Focus on news that can be verified, or categorize it as “opinion”. Journalists could be forced under threat of life, or duress to produce a story that is, or contains, government ordered propaganda. If you find yourself in that situation then you must do what is necessary to avoid bringing harm to yourself or others.
In many of the aforementioned points, there are gray areas, but the basic principals are universally applicable, and are the guiding principles of iNA. Stories that violate those principals will be edited to conform, or will be denied a place on or website.
INA is a firm believer in the concept of the freedom of the press, and that everyone has the right to the truth. We believe that it is imperative that freedom of the press not be infringed, and the duties of the press transcend all governments. We also believe that the press must hold itself accountable to a very high standard with the public it serves, and to the members of the worldwide press
Furthermore, although we offer applications for press credentials, we recognize the fact that as a principal of the freedom of the press, Credentials are not needed in order to be a journalist. However, they are an expedient tool to facilitate the carrying out of journalistic endeavors! For more information, please visit the pages Who can be a Journalist? and Are Press Credentials Required? located on this website. Please consider becoming a member and applying to obtain iNA Press Credentials!