AFRICA SOLUTIONS MEDIA HUB EDITORIAL POLICY
The Code of Conduct – including this preamble – sets the framework and policies for the highest professional standards that journalists and Editorial Staff at Africa Solutions Media Hub are bound by contractually and by virtue of their profession. It is guided by the provisions of the Constitution of Kenya, the Media Council of Kenya Code of Conduct and the Defamation Act. Journalists, contributors, columnists and editorial staff are required to apply the Code of Conduct and the policies in it to ASMH platforms.
1. Accuracy and fairness
1.1. Journalists and Editorial Staff should not write or approve for posting or publishing, inaccurate, misleading or distorted information or images, including headlines that do not match the contents of a story.
a) They must not post or publish a story that falls short of factual accuracy and fairness.
b) The Lead Editor (or their authorized nominee) should demonstrate reasonable grounds for accepting the accuracy of a report, and provide evidence that appropriate checks were carried out before posting or publishing.
c) Direct quotations should not be altered except to delete offensive language, protect against defamation, or to make minor changes for clarity.
1.2. Comments must be sought from anyone who is mentioned in an unfavorable context and all evidence of such attempts to seek the comments shall be kept for a period of one (1) year.
a) It is standard practice for a journalist, before posting or publication, to contact the subject of any allegation which may adversely affect a person’s reputation.
1.3.All sides of the story must be reported, except in very exceptional circumstances.
a) There shall be a breach of this Clause if facts are reported in a misleading or distorted way; or in the event that significant facts are omitted.
1.4. A significant inaccuracy, misleading statement or distortion shall be corrected, promptly. Corrections shall present the correct information and shall not restate the error except when clarity demands.
a) A fair opportunity to reply to significant inaccuracies must be given, when reasonably called for.
1.5.Headlines must reflect and justify the matter posted or published under them
a) Headlines containing allegations made in statements shall either identify the body or the source making them or at least carry quotation marks or audio or video.
1.6. Journalists and Editorial Staff must treat all subjects of news or any other coverage with respect and dignity.
1.7. Journalists and Editorial Staff shall present news or any other content meant for posting or publication fairly and impartially, placing primary value on significance and relevance.
a) They must present analytical reporting based on professional perspective, not personal bias.
b) They must seek to understand the diversity of the community and inform the public without bias or stereotype and present a diversity of expressions, opinions, and ideas in context.
2. Distinguishing Fact and Comment
2.1. Journalists and Editorial Staff, while free to comment on matters of public interest, must distinguish clearly in their reports between comment, conjecture and fact.
2.2. Comment, conjecture, rumour and unconfirmed reports shall not be reported as if they are fact.
2.3. Readers/audiences are entitled to expect that Africa Solutions Media Hub content reflects the best judgment of the organisations editorial team or columnists and has not been inappropriately influenced by undisclosed interests. Wherever relevant, any significant financial interest of an organization should be disclosed. Journalists and columnists should disclose significant potential conflicts of interest to Editorial Lead (or their authorized nominee).
3.1. Journalists and Editorial Staff must avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety as well as any conflict of interest.
3.2 They should neither accept anything nor pursue any activity that might compromise or seem to compromise their integrity.
3.3. Journalists and Editorial Staff must remain independent of vested interests or external influences.
a) Journalists and Editorial Staff must gather and report news and any other content without fear or favor, and resist undue influence from any outside forces.
b) Journalists and Editorial Staff must determine content for posting or publication solely through editorial judgement and not the result of outside influence.
c) They shall resist any self-interest or peer pressure that might undermine journalistic duty and service to the public;
d) They shall recognize that any sponsorship to the organization shall not be used in any way to manipulate or distort content.
4.1. Editorial team shall present content with integrity and decency, avoiding real or perceived conflicts of interest, and respect the dignity and intelligence of the audience as well as the subjects of the posted of published content.
4.2.Plagiarism is theft.
a) It is a serious breach of this policy to use someone else’s work without attribution – whether deliberately or thoughtlessly. Editorial team shall ensure they ask for permission from original authors for use of work and acknowledge sources of their work where they are not the original authors.
4.3. Efforts should be made to verify independently the source of all information and its credibility. Where the Editorial Team fails to ascertain the accuracy, credibility and the provenance of any material, it should not be posted or published.
4.4. Editorial Team must avoid covert operations and any material or interview shall be obtained freely without any form of blackmail, coercion or deceit.
4.5.Editorial Team must clearly label opinion and commentary.
4.6. They must use technological tools with skill and thoughtfulness, avoiding techniques that skew facts, distort reality, or sensationalize events.
5.1. Editorial Team shall at all time actively execute its editorial role and mandate to support the goals, vision and mission of the organization.
5.2. They will not engage in activities that are likely to lead to the breach of this policy both within and outside their call of duty.
6. Opportunity to Reply/Right of Reply:
A fair opportunity to reply to inaccuracies must be given when reasonably called for.
7. Unnamed Sources:
7.1. Journalists and Editorial Staff must take every possible step to avoid unnamed sources.
There may be exceptional circumstances when anonymous pejorative quotes may be used, but they will be rare — and only after consultation with Editorial Lead (or their authorized nominee).
8.1. No one should break the law while working for Africa Solutions Media Hub. Anyone engaging in any form of deception for journalistic purposes (and this includes where they do not make it clear they are a journalist when making enquiries) should seek approval in advance from Editorial Lead (or their authorized nominee).
8.2. Do not use false names when representing Africa Solutions Media Hub.
8.3. Editorial Team must not obtain or post/publish any material acquired by using hidden cameras or clandestine listening devices; or by intercepting private or mobile telephone calls, messages or emails; or by the unauthorized removal of documents or photographs; or by accessing digitally-held information without consent.
8.4. Engaging in misrepresentation or subterfuge, including by agents or intermediaries, can generally be justified only in public interest and then only when the material cannot be obtained by other means.
9. Obscenity, taste and tone in reporting:
9.1. Editorial Team shall not post or publish anything that is obscene, vulgar or offensive to public good taste.
9.2. Generally, what is in good taste is to be determined by the prevailing social norms. But the following basic tests must be applied.
a) Is the depiction of a particular scene and the language used likely to be regarded as filthy, revolting, repugnant, dirty or lewd?
b) With regards to pictures, the following should offer guidelines:
i. Is it vulgar and indecent?
ii. Is it invasive of a person’s privacy? If yes then is the use of the content justified by a clear and indisputable public interest?
9.3. Editorial Team shall avoid posting or publishing photographs showing dead or mutilated bodies, bloody incidents and abhorrent scenes.
10. Recording interviews and Telephone Conversations:
10.1. Editorial Team shall not tape or record anyone without the person’s knowledge.
10.2. Before recording a telephone conversation for the publishing of a story, the journalist shall inform any party to the call of its intention to publish the conversation.
11.1. All individuals, including public figures, have a right to privacy unless there is a clear public interest in revealing private information.
12.1. Editorial Team shall avoid prejudicial or pejorative reference to an individual’s, race, color, religion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation or to any physical or mental illness or disability.
12.2. Details of an individual’s race, color, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, physical or mental illness or disability must be avoided unless genuinely relevant to the story.
13. Opinion Columns
13.1. Opinions expressed in columns are those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions of Africa Solutions Media Hub.
13.2. Africa Solutions Media Hub encourages and shall endeavor to public opinion pieces received. However, the organization reserves the right to edit or reject any opinion or commentary.
14. Victims of sexual offenses
14.1. Journalists and Editorial Staff shall not identify victims of sexual assault or publish material likely to contribute to such identification.
14.2. Generally, and in all circumstances any information or photograph that can identify a victim and subject them to stigma, trauma and ridicule; or affect their recovery should not be published.
14.3. If a victim wants to be identified the Editorial Team shall ensure that the victim signs a consent and release form which should include the victim’s reason(s) for choosing to identify himself or herself.
15. Use of pictures and names
15.1. Editorial Team shall focus on success and happiness pictures, images of that inspire hope.
15.2. Editorial team shall avoid publication when there is a possibility of harming the persons concerned.
15.3. Manipulation of pictures in a manner that distorts reality and accuracy of news shall be avoided.
15.4. Pictures of grief, disaster and those that embarrass and promote sexism shall be discouraged.
15.5. Enhancement of photographs is acceptable. However, this should be limited to simple procedures to improve reproduction quality, i.e. auto enhancement.
15.6. Limited color alteration is allowed. Adverse image manipulation that goes beyond improving the quality of an image is prohibited.
15.7. Freelance, occasional and on-the-spot contributors must give an undertaking in writing that their images have not been fundamentally altered.
15.8. Any special image that requires archiving and has been altered must be clearly marked to this effect before being archived as an original filed.
15.9. Editorial Team shall not lift photos from the internet or social media without first consulting with Editorial Lead (or their authorized nominee).
15.10. Journalists and Editorial Staff found responsible of copyright or trademark infringement of photographs or images shall be held liable and shall pay whatever monetary demands the owner of the photograph makes in compensation for use of the owner’s photograph without permission.
16. Editor’s responsibilities
16.1. The Lead Editor (or their authorized nominee) shall assume the responsibility for all content posted or published by Africa Solutions Media Hub.
16.2. If responsibility is disclaimed, this shall be explicitly stated beforehand in writing and with reasons supported by documentation.
17.1. The Lead Editor (or their authorized nominee) shall not allow any advertisement which is contrary to any aspect of this policy.
17.2. The Lead Editor (or their authorized nominee) shall be Financial Aid/Grant Policy
18. Hate speech Quoting persons making derogatory and stereotypical remarks based on ethnicity, race, creed, colour, religion, and sexual orientation shall not be allowed. Careful account shall be taken of the possible effect upon the group concerned, and on the population as a whole, and of the changes in public attitudes as to what is and what is not acceptable when referring to the group.
Defamation is any intentional false communication, either written or spoken, that harms a person’s reputation; decreases the respect, regard, or confidence in which a person is held; or induces disparaging, hostile, or disagreeable opinions or feelings against a person. Written defamation is known as libel and spoken defamation is called slander. A libelous story is a story that has been published; is false; is injurious; and is unprivileged. To ensure that your story is free of libelous material; Be sure your story is accurate and complete. Do not omit relevant details. Make sure the story does not mislead the reader. Always check and confirm facts and read through your story before filing it. Your stories should be written in neutral, UN-sensational language. Always have notes, documents and recordings that support your story. Do not misquote people. Keep the notes, documents and recordings for a period of one year from the date your story is
a) Always get comment from people mentioned in unfavorable context. Make sure your story is balanced.
b) If your story relies on a document or official report make sure you understand the document and quote it correctly especially when you have to use people’s names.
c) Don’t republish information without corroboration. Just because someone else said it does not mean that you won’t be sued for republishing it.
d) Be careful with photographs you use in stories about a controversial subject. It is possible to defame someone by juxtaposing his or her image with a story about someone else.
e) For subeditors, read stories carefully first before cutting out information. Call reporters to confirm facts and quotes.
f) Opinion can be defamatory if it is not based on facts and if it is not fair comment.
g) Ignorance of the law is no defense. You are legally responsible for what you write or content you generate and it is posted or published.
20. Breaches of policy
20.1. Complaints involving alleged breaches of this policy will be investigated by the Editorial Lead or an executive of higher or equivalent status.
20.2. Proven breaches will be dealt with in accordance with the organizations disciplinary procedures.
20.3. Infringement of third party intellectual property rights (copyright and trademark) shall result in the infringing Journalist or Editorial Staff pay being deducted for a reasonable period to compensate the owner of the intellectual property
AFRICA SOLUTIONS MEDIA HUB EDITORIAL POLICY