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Editorial codex

Editorial codex

Our Mission

Euromaidan Press is a provider of quality journalism, recognizing that reliable, useful, and, above all trustworthy information plays a crucial role in society.

Our aim is to report and to inform the public. In doing so we endeavor to respect the freedoms that come with democracy, human rights, and pluralism of opinion.

We believe in a democratic and united Ukraine that is free from foreign pressure or coercion, with a government that is accountable to its people and where on basis of the rule of law a society is created and maintained that provides its citizens of all ethnic backgrounds with equal rights and possibilities to build their futures, free from want, corruption, and political oppression.

We provide truthful, reliable, and accurate information on developments within Ukraine as well as on issues that relate to Ukraine, both as a state entity and a multi-ethnic free society, by developing and maintaining media, information, and analytical sources that are non-partisan, non-religious, non-aligned, and that counter the disinformation that is detrimental to Ukraine and to Ukrainian society.

We wish to be an independent voice of Ukraine and to construct a bridge between Ukraine and the Ukrainian communities living abroad. We strive to inform global public opinion about our country’s history, political and social developments and the opportunities our country offers for business and tourism.

We support all honest initiatives to help our country realize the ideals and values that formed the basis of the Euromaidan movement in Ukraine. We also support initiatives to develop independent media and democratic actions in other states that uphold core democratic values.

We recognize that such power demands responsibility and we aim to ensure that our journalists behave professionally, while protecting their ability to investigate and report freely.

Editorial Guidelines

The purpose of these Editorial Guidelines is to protect and foster trust with our readers, and to protect the integrity of Euromaidan Press and its journalism, in whatever format it is published.

These guidelines form a practical working tool for our staff and they reinforce our commitment to the core principles of journalism – accuracy and fact-based communications; impartiality and fairness; humanity and respect for others; editorial independence; and accountability through transparency.

The guidelines set out our expectations of the behavior of our staff, contractors, and all others who contribute to editorial content. They cover three areas: general newsroom management and practice, basic editorial rules, and conflicts of interest.

The guidelines apply to all staff and are implemented in accordance with the organization’s management structure. They are monitored by senior staff and the editor-in-chief.

They are intended to be easily understood by the public and will be applied to all content, newsgathering, and production activities for which the publisher of Euromaidan Press is responsible.

With this in mind, the company is developing or has developed verification guidelines for dealing with online user content or other information received from the public at large.

In applying these guidelines, Euromaidan Press dedicates its journalism to the public interest and the people’s right of access to public information.

The public interest includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • The revelation or discussion of matters such as incompetence, malpractice, or unethical behavior in public life;
  • Putting the record straight where an individual or organization has misled the public on a matter of public importance;
  • Revealing that a person or organization may be failing to comply with their legal obligations;
  • The proper administration of government at all levels of society;
  • The open, fair, and effective administration of justice;
  • Public health and safety;
  • National security;
  • The prevention and detection of crime;
  • The economic, educational, and social development of society;
  • The discussion or analysis of artistic or cultural works.

In defence of these public interests Euromaidan Press is committed to

  1. Editorial independence and ensuring that all forms of advertising, sponsored content, or other commercial editorial products are clearly marked and distinguished from editorial material produced in line with the core principles of journalism; and
  2. The prohibition of any content, whether editorial or publicly generated, on the grounds of defamation, hate-speech, invasion of privacy, or abuse.

These guidelines may form part of a journalist’s contract of employment, and may also be part of any disciplinary, promotional, or recruitment procedures for either editorial management or journalists.

By observing our guidelines and the core principles of journalism journalists working for Euromaidan Press

will be protecting the independence, standing, and reputation of themselves and their colleagues.

It is important that freelancers commissioned by the company also abide by these guidelines while on assignment for the company.

General practice

Anonymous contributions

Articles commissioned by Euromaidan Press are published anonymously or with pseudonyms only in exceptional circumstances, for example, if the author’s safety, privacy, or livelihood is threatened, and then only with the permission of the responsible senior editor. In such cases, readers will be made aware that identities have been withheld and an explanation given. This provision need not apply to authors with established pseudonyms commissioned or hosted by Euromaidan Press in that capacity.

Currently, Euromaidan Press regularly publishes materials from the contributors Reporting from Ukraine and Tatarigami — military bloggers who have asked for their identities to remain concealed, as revealing their identities would put them and their capacity to process sensitive information at risk.

Payments for Editorial Material

In general, we do not pay for stories, except from bona fide freelance sources. The responsible editor or his/her deputy must approve rare exceptions.

In dealing with public officials, journalists must be aware that national law recognizes a number of criminal offenses which can be prosecuted. These include bribery by offering someone a financial or another advantage to improperly perform an activity or being bribed or bribing a foreign public official.

In some circumstances, offers or acceptances of hospitality and/or facilitation payments paid to public officials in order to secure or expedite the performance of a routine or necessary action will be illegal.

Although there may be no public interest defense, where an individual is left with no alternative but to make a facilitation payment in order to protect personal safety and security there may be a defense of duress.

Staff should always discuss with the responsible editor beforehand or clarify policy with senior management if they are concerned that any payments might be inappropriate and, if such payments are requested or made, they should inform the editor-in-chief of the circumstances as soon as they are able to afterward.

Freelance staff:

Euromaidan Press supports good commissioning practices, including fair treatment of freelancers. Editors should make reference to good practices when commissioning new contributors.

Confidentiality:

Responsible editors and department heads with access to personal information relating to other members of staff must treat such information as confidential and not disclose it to anyone except in the course of discharging formal responsibilities.

Copyright:

Journalists should not use content from non-authorized third-party sources – whether pictures, text, or other media – without obtaining the necessary permissions. However, the use of available copyrighted material under news access or criticism and review is acceptable and normally justified in law and morally.

There are limited legal situations where permission may not be needed but journalists must check with the responsible editors dealing with images or the legal department before using material without permission.

Journalists should especially familiarise themselves with rules regarding the rights and use of content from public websites.

Errors:

It is our policy to correct significant errors as soon as possible. Journalists have a duty to cooperate frankly and openly with the responsible editor and senior management and to report errors to them. All complaints should be recorded and brought to the attention of the responsible editor, and the public should be informed if a correction has been made.

Legal Affairs:

The laws of libel and contempt laws are complex, and constantly developing. The consequences of court actions can be expensive and damaging for our reputation.

Staff should:

  1. familiarise themselves with the current state of the law and seek further information if they are uncertain about aspects of it;
  2. consult our legal officers about specific concerns on stories;
  3. brief themselves on national legal conditions and active cases relevant to their work.

Privacy:

We are committed to respecting people’s privacy. Much journalism may be intrinsically intrusive but we should avoid invading anyone’s privacy unnecessarily. There are times, when a clear public interest is to be served, that journalists may have to sacrifice privacy protection.

Proportionality and proper prior consideration are essential where privacy issues may be involved. Intrusion must be justified by the seriousness of the story and the public good that is likely to follow from publication. Where possible it should be authorised at a senior level.

Likewise, the grounds for investigation must be strong; we do not conduct speculative reporting expeditions unless the issue, suspicion, and prospects of success are all serious.

Caution should also be exercised about reporting and publishing identifying details, such as street names and numbers that may enable others to intrude on the privacy or safety of people who have become the subject of media coverage.

Engagement with the Public:

Our most important relationship is the one we have with our readers and site users. Courtesy applies whether an exchange takes place in person, by telephone, social media, or email.

The company recognizes that communication online, e.g. in blogs and social media domains, can be more informal, brisk, and, where a debate is underway, combative — but journalists should be mindful of the guidelines on blogging and social media.

In using social media journalists with a known association with the company should not make public pronouncements that may compromise the integrity of the company or call into question their own journalistic independence or go against the spirit of professionalism set out in these guidelines.

Editorial Rules

1. Accuracy and Verification

Trust in the accuracy, authenticity, and reliability of our information is essential. Digital communications present special challenges and we insist on seeking reliable corroboration of information.

Journalists should state the level of substantiation we have been able to achieve and indicate where we have been unable to verify the facts independently.

We do not state as fact information about or from someone who we cannot authenticate. We should attempt to cross-check whatever eyewitness account of events we have received in order to assess its veracity.

Where relevant we are open with readers in explaining what medium is used to conduct interviews and how we have verified information. Satisfaction with sources is the responsibility of editors as well as reporters and correspondents, and desk editors should be confident in challenging the dependability of the information.

2. Attribution and Anonymous quotations

People often speak more honestly if they can speak anonymously and non-attributed quotes can assist the reader towards a truer understanding of a subject. But indiscriminate use of anonymous sources can be used to promote narrow undisclosed political, commercial, or other special interests.

There may be exceptional circumstances when anonymous pejorative quotes may be used, but only after consultation with the senior responsible editor. In the absence of specific approval, we should paraphrase anonymous pejorative quotes.

We strive to be honest about our sources, even if we can’t name them.

3. Sources of Information

Sources who give information and who put themselves at risk may be promised confidentiality. They should be protected at all costs. However, where possible, the sources of information should be identified as specifically as possible.

Staff must not reproduce other people’s material without attribution, except in exceptional circumstances – for example where the source must be protected — and only then with the permission of a responsible senior editor.

The source of published material obtained from another organization should be acknowledged, including quotes taken from other newspaper articles.

Bylines should be carried only on material that is substantially the work of the named journalist. If an article contains a significant amount of news agency copy then the news agency should also be credited in the text, aka “Quote,” Reuters reported..

4. Copy approval:

The general rule is that interviewees or third parties should not be given the right to copy approval. In certain circumstances, we may allow people to see copy or quotes in the interests of accuracy but we are not required to alter copy.

Offering copy approval should be avoided as a method of securing interviews or co-operation.

5. Reporting Children:

Special care should be taken when dealing with children (under the age of 16, although the rights of the child in international law cover individuals under the age of 18).

Children should not be asked questions beyond their knowledge and capacity to answer.

The responsible editor must be informed when children are photographed or interviewed without the consent of a responsible adult or parent.

Consent to publication should be sought where the child is reasonably considered able to make an informed decision.

Journalists should not make significant intrusions into children’s private lives without their understanding and consent. If this happens it must be accompanied by a strong public interest justification.

In view of the longevity of online material, editors should consider whether to obscure children’s identities to protect them from embarrassment or harm as they grow older.

6. Direct quotations:

Journalists and editors should never change direct quotations to alter their context or meaning, although minor editing may be needed for clarity.

Quotations that include falsehoods should be qualified with additional language, particularly when used in headlines or excerpts in Social Media.

7. Endorsements:

Journalists should not agree to promote through copy, photographs or footnotes the financial interests of prospective interviewees or contributors, or their sponsors, as a means of securing access to them.

Promotional information about a subject should be included only where it is of genuine interest or assistance to the reader.

8. Fairness and Use of Language:

We aim to provide inclusive and fair reporting which seeks to give voice to people or groups who are criticized. The more serious the criticism or allegations we are reporting the greater the obligation to allow the subject the opportunity to respond.

This right of response should be recognized for individuals and for groups, including minority groups, where general criticisms are made.

Our journalists and editors respect the reader and we should not casually use words that are likely to offend. The use of swear words, for instance, should only be when absolutely necessary to the facts of a piece, or to portray a character in an article and then used in direct quotes. We avoid using such language in headlines or otherwise highlighting such words and we never use asterisks.

Fairness does not mean “false” equivalence of all viewpoints. Where scientific or other evidence points to a certain conclusion beyond a reasonable doubt, competing ones should not be presented as viable alternatives. This is particularly pertinent in light of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which is enabled and driven by disinformation. Journalists of Euromaidan Press shall be especially attentive not to perpetuate Russian disinformation. Particularly, this means that Russian officials proven to be habitually engaged in spreading falsehoods shall not be given an equal stage with Ukrainian officials. Clarification and additional context should be given to statements of officials habitually engaged in spreading disinformation; their statements should not be added solely for the sake of “balance.” Whenever Russian officials perpetuate disinformation narratives driving their war against Ukraine, clarification shall be given to debunk the disinformation. Euromaidan Press, we believe that the truth does not lie in the middle; it lies where it lies.

9. Grief:

People should be treated with sensitivity in reporting periods of grief and trauma. Reporters should take care to familiarize themselves with techniques of talking to witnesses to not exacerbate grief.

10. Photographs, videos, and images:

Altering pictures or distorting audio-visual material is generally unacceptable. Where it takes place there should be clear indication that the images have been changed and digitally enhanced or altered, images, montages and illustrations should be clearly labeled.

11. Ethnicity:

In general, we do not publish someone’s race or ethnic background, or religion unless that information is relevant to the story. We do not report the race of criminal suspects unless the ethnic background is part of a description that seeks to identify them or is important to the story (for example, in the case of hate crime).

12. Subterfuge:

Journalists should be frank and identify themselves as company employees when working on a story. There may be instances involving stories of exceptional public interest where this does not apply, but this needs the approval of the responsible editor. This applies to anything we publish, including any information obtained by the subterfuge of others. (See Privacy section above).

13. Self-harm:

Journalists are asked to exercise care in reporting self-harm, in particular, cases of suicide. People who take their own lives are often disturbed more than people who carry out less extreme forms of self-harm, but in all cases, it is important to avoid reporting in ways that risk encouraging others or that may compromise the privacy of others involved, including close relatives.

This should be borne in mind both in presentation, including the use of pictures, and in describing the method of self-harm.

When appropriate, a helpline number should be given, and general information related to suicide prevention and support groups should be provided.

14. Distinction between news and opinion

Acknowledging that journalists are entitled to their own opinions on the subjects they write, we shall strive to present our news in an unbiased manner and separate facts from opinions in our news section “Latest news Ukraine.” Unadulterated opinions are permitted in materials under the “opinion” section. In other articles such as analysis, various viewpoints shall be examined to allow readers to make judgments about issues.

15. Corrections and right to response policy

Corrections to material must be stated in a transparent manner on the website and/or social media. We offer the right to respond to the subjects of our reporting by directing press requests to the relevant contacts and inviting them to respond in the texts of our articles.

Conflicts of interest

Euromaidan Press values our reputation for independence and integrity. Journalists clearly have lives, interests, hobbies, convictions, and beliefs outside their work.

We aim to ensure that outside interests do not come into conflict with our journalism or compromise our editorial integrity.

The following guidelines concern all active outside interests which, should they remain undeclared and become known, would cause a fair-minded reader to question the independence of our editorial work.

We recognize that objectivity is not a one-size-fits-all rule. A columnist, for instance, with views openly on display, may have more latitude than a staff reporter, who would be expected to bring rigorous qualities of objectivity to their work. If in doubt, journalists should consult a responsible editor or editor-in-chief.

1. Free gifts:

Staff should not be influenced by commercial considerations — including the interests of advertisers — in the preparation of material for the paper.

No members of our staff, or freelancers with known connection to us, should use their position to obtain private benefits for themselves or others. We do not allow any payment, gift, or other advantage to undermine the accuracy, fairness, or independence of our journalism.

Any attempts to induce favorable editorial treatment through the offer of gifts or favors should be reported to the editor. Where relevant, payments, gifts, or other advantages will be disclosed.

Staff members should not use their positions to seek any benefit or advantage in personal business, financial or commercial transactions not afforded to the public generally.

Staff should not use company stationery in connection with outside matters or cite a connection with the company to resolve consumer grievances, get quicker service, or seek discount or deals.

We should disclose when an airline, hotel, or other interest has borne the cost of transporting or accommodating a journalist. Acceptance of any such offer is conditional on editorial managers being free to assign and report or not report any resulting story.

2. Commercial products:

No journalist or freelance primarily associated with us should endorse commercial products unless with the express permission of the responsible editor or editor-in-chief. All commercial materials shall be clearly marked as “advertisement.” All materials of public interest created as a partner project with a commercial company shall be clearly marked as “partner project” and the sponsored nature of the material clearly stated.

Euromaidan Press does not accept commercial materials from sponsors of war or companies engaged in unethical behavior.

3. Outside Interests:

Staff journalists have the right to activities outside work (including holding office or being otherwise actively involved in organizations, companies, or political parties). However, these may sometimes be perceived as influencing or conflicting with the integrity of our journalism.

Staff should inform the editor-in-chief about any outside personal, philosophical, or financial interests that might conflict with their professional performance, or could be perceived as doing so.

4. Declarations of interest:

Journalists should declare an interest when they are writing about something with which he or she has a significant connection. This applies to both staff journalists and freelancers. The declaration should be to a head of department or editor. Full transparency may mean disclosing the declaration in print and on the website.

A connection does not have to be a formal one before it is necessary to declare it. Acting in an advisory capacity in the preparation of a report for an organization, for example, would require a declaration.

Some connections are obvious and may be why the writer has been commissioned. These should always be stated at the end of the writer’s contribution even if he or she contributes regularly.

Generally speaking, a journalist should not write about or quote a relative or partner in a piece, even if the relative or partner is an expert in the field in question. If, for any reason, an exception is made to this rule, the connection should be made clear.

Commissioning editors should ensure that freelancers are aware of the rules and are also bound where appropriate to make any necessary declaration.

5. Declarations of corporate interest

Euromaidan Press is/is not connected to other media/non-media companies. We should be careful to acknowledge that relationship in stories.

6. Financial reporting:

Euromaidan Press maintains a register of personal shares where the ownership of such shares may lead to a perceived conflict of interest.

All staff are expected to list all shares which are not personal investment such as provision for pensions or trusts for family members.

They should disclose transactions in other shareholdings and other investments which we believe ought to be properly disclosed because of a potential conflict of interest.

While it is acceptable for financial journalists to own shares, it is not acceptable for them to be market traders on a regular basis. It is most important that the register is kept and that all information is up to date.

These Editorial Guidelines:

  • Prohibit the use of financial information for the profit of journalists or their associates;
  • Impose restrictions on journalists writing about shares in which they or their close families have a significant interest without internal disclosure;
  • Stop journalists dealing in shares about which they have written recently or intend to write in the near future; and
  • Require that financial journalists take care not to publish inaccurate material and to distinguish between comment, conjecture and fact.

This is particularly important for any journalists making investment recommendations to readers about whether to buy, sell or hold shares.

7. Outside engagements:

The company accepts the journalist’s right to a private life and the right to take part in civic society. However, staff should inform the responsible editor or editor-in-chief if, in their capacity as an employee, they intend to:

  • Give evidence to any court,
  • Chair public forums or seminars arranged by professional conference organizers or commercial organizations,
  • Undertake any outside employment likely to conflict with their professional duties,
  • Chair public or political forums or appear on platforms,
  • Make representations or give evidence to any official body in connection with material that has been published by the company.

Journalists invited to chair debates or appear on panels as a representative of the company should not usually accept or request payment for doing so, unless preparation or attendance at the event involves a significant call on private time.

Acceptance of payment should be approved in advance by the responsible editor or editor-in-chief having particular regard for other clauses within these guidelines, such as conflict of interest, declarations of interest and endorsement of commercial products. Travel and other reasonable expenses may be accepted.

In general, staff journalists should not provide public relations advice, especially to an audience that has paid to attend. Please consult the editor if in doubt.

8. Relationships:

Staff members should not write about, create a film or take photographs or make news judgments about any relation or individual related by marriage or with whom the staff member has a close personal, financial or romantic relationship. A staff member who is placed in a circumstance in which the potential for this kind of conflict exists should advise his or her department head.

Note: Where a journalist or editor has concerns about the ethical implications of behavior or conduct in any aspect of editorial work, including issues raised in these guidelines, we should seek advice from the editor-in-chief or senior management of Euromaidan Press. In certain cases, we may seek advice also from appropriate industry bodies or experts (e.g. a press council or external ombudsman).

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