Document Version: 1.8
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.
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 principles such as the freedom of the Press, freedom of speech, and the free exchange of ideas, 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 principles as common denominators to all who are involved with Journalistic endeavors and uses iNA Press Credentials to do so, and to require contributors to agree to uphold, and/or promote the following to the greatest extent possible.
To strive for/to be:
- 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 entity. While the story may be compelling, consideration of an individual’s (and by extension his/her family’s) well-being in the event your story is published. This must be considered.
- FAIR: In regard to a story, it is imperative that the story contains verifiable facts. It is of utmost importance that you strive 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- PLAGIARISM: If an existing, published or unpublished story is quoted, give due credit to the source of material.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 with this in mind, do no harm when reporting. The truth can hurt, but it is still the truth, that said, just be sure the facts you are reporting on are truly pertinent for the public to be made aware of.
- DIVULGING SOURCES: If conditions of anonymity are required and subsequently extended by the journalist, the journalist should keep in confidence his or her source as sacred, 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 duty 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 unless, and only unless released by said source. No exceptions.
- 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 for anyone. 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 or editor, 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 if necessary, categorize it as “opinion”.
Any Press Credentials extended, issued, or granted by iNA, are the sole property of iNA. They do not belong to the individuals they are extended, issued, or granted to. Press Credentials are extended, issued, or granted to individuals to facilitate their use in pursuing journalistic endeavors.
Revocation of Press Credentials:
In the unfortunate event that an individual who was extended, issued, or granted iNA Press Credentials acts in dishonor, and breaks any of the Terms outlined in this Code of Conduct, in that case, iNA reserves the right to reprimand any such individual, up to and including the revocation of existing iNA Press Credentials. If we deem, after investigation of the available facts that it is the right thing to do, then at our sole discretion, any such measure shall be considered final and binding. Therefore, any individual who formerly enjoyed the privilege of the use of iNA Press Credentials, which is iNA’s property, and subsequently loses that privilege, has no recourse but to accept iNA’s final and binding decision.
If in any of the aforementioned, there are gray areas, it is our hope that the basic principles, which are universally applicable, shall remain as the guiding principles of iNA and anyone utilizing iNA Press Credentials. Stories that violate those principles should be edited to conform, or be denied a place on any iNA website or publication. 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.