English Post adheres to the Press Code of the German Press Council which can be viewed online by following this link. We are also bound by and obey the Bavarian Press Laws (Bayerisches Pressegesetz). Should any instance or occurrence come to your attention which constitutes a transgression of these regulations, please notify English Post at the earliest opportunity and we will endeavour to rectify the situation as soon as possible.
Additionally, we have our own code of ethics which we require those writing for English Post to follow.
English Post — Code of Ethics
Telling the truth
When writing for the English Post:
Be honest, accurate, truthful and fair. Do not distort or fabricate facts, imagery, or data.
Provide accurate context for all reporting.
Remember, English Post prides itself on neutrality — politically, religiously and culturally.
Seek out diverse voices that can contribute important perspectives on the subject you’re writing.
Ensure that sources are reliable. To the maximum extent possible, make clear to your audience who and what your sources are, what motivations your sources may have and any conditions people have set for giving you information. When unsure of information, leave it out or make clear it has not been corroborated.
Correct errors quickly, completely and visibly. Make it easy for your audience to bring errors to your attention.
If a report includes criticism of people or organisations, give them the opportunity to respond.
Clearly distinguish fact from opinion in all content.
Conflicts of interest
Avoid any conflict of interest that undermines your ability to report fairly. Disclose to your audience any unavoidable conflicts or other situational factors that may validly affect their judgment of your credibility.
Do not allow people to make you dishonestly skew your reporting. Do not offer to skew your reporting under any circumstances.
Do not allow the interests of advertisers or others funding your work to affect the integrity of your journalism.
Respect your audience and those you write about. Consider how your work and its permanence may affect the subjects of your reporting, your community and since the Internet knows no boundaries the larger world.
Don’t plagiarise or violate copyrights.
Keep promises to sources, readers and the community.
- English Post has a blanket ban on undercover reporting in the belief that deception is not appropriate for our news gathering.
- English Post does not publish information from sources we cannot name.
Children: Coverage, Images and Interviews
- We avoid identifying — by name or photo — minors under 18 years who are connected with a crime as perpetrators, victims or witnesses.
- We refrain from featuring photos of minors under 18 years who are connected with a crime as perpetrators, victims or witnesses.
- We identify minors under 18 years who are connected with a crime as perpetrators, victims or witnesses only if the minor’s identity is already widely known.
- Our journalists seek permission from a parent to interview or photograph a minor when it relates to all but simple matters (e.g., asking about a favourite video game).
- We consider granting confidentiality if we’re covering a story about a sensitive issue that could cause a minor to be stereotyped, judged unfairly or put in harm’s way, even if the minor doesn’t request it.
- English Post never pays for interviews.
- We provide interviewees with transcripts to revise their comments to clarify complicated or technical matters.
- Upon request we may provide interview subjects with a general idea of our questions in advance.
- Articles and reports must state the method of interviewing (i.e., whether it was in person, by telephone, video, Skype or email) if doing so enhances the context of the interview and article.
Sources: Reliability and Attribution
- We may use sources with a conflict of interest in stories, but details that signal the conflict of interest should be included (e.g., a scientist who conducted a study about a drug’s effectiveness when the study was funded by the manufacturer).
- We disclose how sources in “ordinary people” stories were identified (e.g., through Twitter).
- We report things that have clearly been established as fact at the top of the story and put the attribution in later.
- We include attributions throughout a story in a chronological account.
- Writers take full responsibility for the accuracy of all information submitted for publishing. Writers must undertake fact checking. An accuracy checklist is available from the English Post website.
- We should not publish rumours or other information we have not verified.
- If we are unsure of the accuracy of information, we should cite our sources, word our stories carefully to avoid spreading false rumours and acknowledge what we do not know.
- When possible, reporters should read stories (provide a copy) to sources before publication to ensure accuracy. The reporters should make clear to sources that this is only a fact-checking call, not an opportunity to change the writing or approach to the story.
Balance and Fairness
- To ensure fairness, we believe in covering not only the most powerful voices on an issue, but also those who are not normally heard (e.g., in election coverage, mainstream and non-mainstream candidates).
- We will be alert to situations where the most accessible spokesmen are at the extremes of issues, but most people are somewhere in the middle.
- We will refrain from presenting multiple points of view if one perspective on an issue has been credibly established as fact. In other words, we will avoid “false balance”.
- We have a system that permits individuals to “flag” comments for potential problems, and we review those “flagged” comments in a systematic and timely fashion.
- We edit comments to remove potentially libellous language or hate speech, as we define it, but we do not change spelling or grammatical errors.
- We require commenters to use their full and complete names and to give us their email addresses, and employ an automated response system that confirms the email addresses.
- We permit comments on all articles.
- We will clean up random utterances such as pauses, “um” or “you know” unless they materially alter the meaning.
- We will correct grammatical errors by all sources.
- We will allow separate phrases of a quote separated by ellipsis. (“I will go to war … but only if necessary,” the president said.)
- We will allow separate phrases of a quote separated by attribution. (“I will go to war,” the president said. “But only if necessary.”)
- Unless we have a compelling reason to withhold a name, we always publish names of people involved in the stories we cover.
- We do not publish names of sexual assault victims unless they agree to speak on the record.
- We withhold the names of mass killers to deny them the attention they appear to seek. Other than names, we cover other details of these crimes based on their newsworthiness.
- We will consider potential harm to sources facing intolerance in their societies before naming them in stories.
- We will consider a disclosure page on our website that lists our financial interests if we cover business or finance regularly.
- If a journalist covers a company regularly then they should not own interests in that company.
- Journalists should immediately disclose to English Post any interests they have in a company they are asked to cover. English Post will consider giving the story to another journalist.
- If a journalists covers a particular fund, equity index-related products, publicly available diversified mutual funds or commodity pools in which they have an interest then this should be disclosed in the article.
- Journalists should disclose community involvements, particularly those involving topics they might cover, both in general statements published on our website and in stories relating to their involvements.
- Journalists are encouraged to be involved in the community and the issues we cover, but we will disclose these involvements in our coverage.
- We will strive to provide factual coverage in a neutral voice despite our organisation’s involvement in the issues we cover. We will disclose our affiliation for transparency reasons, but the affiliation should not be evident from a promotional voice or content.
Gifts, Free Travel and Other Perks
- Journalists should not accept gifts with a value greater than 15 Euro.
- Journalists may accept tickets or press passes to events being covered or reviewed, but should not accept extra tickets for family or friends.
- Journalists may accept free travel, meals and other gifts if they are financially essential, but we should disclose those gifts in our reporting.
- Journalists should disclose to English Post any gifts they receive and discuss whether something needs to be returned, paid for, donated to charity or handled in some other way that protects our integrity.
- Journalists may accept a small gift in cases where people are being kind and clearly not trying to influence us. Our gift policy does not require us to be rude; sometimes there’s a common-sense need to accept a small gift.
Personal Ethics Statements by Staff
- Journalists are encouraged to make personal ethics statements, which provide more information about themselves and their attitudes, even though they must follow our corporate values in their articles.
- Journalists should focus their personal ethics statements on ethics only and not use these statements as a place to post their biographies. Biographical details are put in the context of how they will or will not affect our journalism, or to disclose matters that might appear to create potential conflicts.
Plagiarism and Attribution
- When we are using someone else’s exact words, we should use quotation marks and attribution.
- Attribution should be as specific as possible, including the name of the author and publication or organisation of the source we are quoting.
- We should always cite news releases if they are our sources, and should quote them if using their exact words.
- When we use substantial material from our archives or from an author’s previous work in a current story, we should note that the material has been published before.
- Basic facts may be taken from other sources without varying the wording.
Awards and Contests
- We will assess the nature of the contest and make a decision consistent with our overall contest principles if we win a contest we did not enter.
- We will allow a censor to delete material, but will state in our stories that this was done.
- In military situations, we will agree to censorship and other restrictions that are reasonable for reasons of security and respect for troops.
- If a mistake is made in a social media post, we will delete the original post and publish a corrected version with an indication that the new post is a correction.
Handling and protection of freelancers and “fixers”
- We publicly credit the work of freelancers and translators.
Removing Archived Work
- We will remove an outdated story from our archives if it is causing problems for someone.
- We will update a story in our archives, including the headline, if the story would damage someone’s reputation and is outdated.
- We will note when the post was updated.
- We will correct any errors we learn of in our archived content and note the corrections.
- We will consider exceptions to our policy in extreme cases, such as abuse or danger to someone’s personal safety.
- We will delete inaccurate social media posts but acknowledge the deletions in subsequent posts.
Reporting On Your Organisation
- We will avoid all potential conflicts of loyalty by refraining from covering the story when our organisation has done something newsworthy. We will let others cover our organisation. If an issue is particularly newsworthy, we will limit ourselves to publishing official company statements.
- Articles must not attack any individual or unduly criticize groups, or organizations. Articles containing extremist views or hate speech (defined as public speech that expresses hate or encourages violence towards a person or group based on race, religion, sex, or sexual orientation) will not be tolerated by English Post.
- We consider the climate for free expression but consider the perspectives of those offended by hateful expression when making publication decisions.
- We support local, national or international laws to combat hate speech.
Mental Health and Suicide
- We will cover mental health and suicide as broad public health issues as consistently as we cover other health matters.
- We will replace obscenities, vulgarities and slurs with something that implies the word rather than stating it directly (e.g., “f—”).
- When writing about a specific place, person, or thing, consent (subject or owner) is required and must be sent along with the finished article in order for it to be published.
- We respect individuals’ right to privacy and do not use content we discover online from private individuals without receiving their permission.
- We will voluntarily withhold information we have gathered when requested if we deem the individual’s request to be valid, based on our news judgment and professional standards.
- We reserve the right to publish material that we have voluntarily withheld if we determine that the material has valid public interest or if we feel that the requesting party has deceived us as to his or her motives.
- We use discretion when it comes to interviewing and publishing material from trauma victims or bystanders because we understand that to do so may cause additional harm to individuals.
- We believe interviewing bystanders of traumatic events is voyeurism and unlikely to add relevant material to articles or programs. We generally will not conduct interviews “in the heat of the moment” because people under stress may not be aware of the consequences of talking to us.
Race and Gender
- We will seek out people in the groups we cover to gain perspective on our coverage and terminology.
- We will use racial, ethnic, gender and sexuality identifiers when specifically germane to a story but not otherwise.
- We will identify people by the gender they express publicly.
- We will use plural references to avoid gender-specific pronouns when possible.
- We will not run any sensitive material that might be offensive to specific members of the audience.
- We will consider the differing impact of sensitive material on differing segments of the population (e.g., effects on minors, vulnerable groups or victims of crime).
- We will treat all publication decisions based on the standards of the local community.
- We will refrain from running sensitive material specifically or solely for the revenue purposes, such as increased digital traffic.
- We will never pay for data, as it may be tainted by financial motives.
- In collaborative projects, we may not be able to insist on shared ethical values with partners, but we will disclose to our readers and viewers that we have separate policies from our partners.
- We will put all data in relevant context.
- We will secure data to the best extent possible to prevent hacking.
Photo and Video
- When documenting private or traumatic moments, we will seek permission from subjects before shooting photos or video.
- We will clearly label posed or re-enacted photos/video.
- We do not need to label a photo or video if it is clearly posed (e.g., an award-winner holding up a trophy).
- We will obscure or pixellate images only when the intent is to protect the identity of someone in the image.
- We will shoot re-enactments of news events only if they add to the understanding of an issue, and then clearly label them as re-enactments.
- We will clearly label the source of all “handout” photos.
- When using generic photos, we will make sure they are clearly labeled as such.
- We will verify photos from social media before using them.
- We will guard against using UGC in situations that might be dangerous to the person who created it or to others in the images. We will stress to possible providers of UGC that they must not take risks to gather information or imagery.
- We consider UGC an extension of our own journalism. We don’t run such material unless we’re sure it’s authentic.
- We partner with the public in attempts to verify what UGC is accurate. This means distributing it with caveats that it hasn’t been verified.
- Our funder(s) may on request see our stories before publication, and their comments on stories will be taken into account by the editorial staff.
- Our funder(s) will have no say in topics to be covered or specific stories.
- Our funder(s) will be used as sources in stories irrespective of their funding.
- We will publicly disclose all funding sources.
Clickbait and Metrics
- We encourage writing clever, creative headlines and social media posts that will entice readers to click on our stories, but headlines will not make promises that our stories don’t deliver.
- We will use metric considerations as one of a number of factors in determining what we cover and how we place stories.
News and Advertising
- We reserve the right to decline advertisements for certain types of products which we feel do not fit with the image English Post wishes to promote for itself.
- We may accept payment from advertisers to provide stories on a general subject, but they will have no involvement in the content produced.
- We require news-like content produced by advertisers to be clearly identified as advertising.
- We have specific, consistent definitions of terms like “Advertisement,” “Sponsored Content” and “Message from …” and disclose them to our readers.
- We will require that items that look too much like news stories be accompanied by a clear statement that the article was prepared by the advertiser and did not involve our editorial staff.
- We require content provided by advertisers to have a different colour type or background, a different font or a separation from editorial content with a heavy line.
- We will assist advertisers in creating advertising material.
- We make it clear when tweets or posts on our social media accounts are linked to advertiser-prepared material.
- We disclose whether any one advertiser or industry provides a substantial share of our revenue.
Prepared using the Online News Association's Build-Your-Own Ethics Code project. Create your own at https://ethics.journalists.org
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