Statement of Ethical Principles
(Adopted 2015 as revision to APME Code
principles are a model against which news and editorial staff members can
measure their performance. They have been formulated in the belief that news
media and the people who produce news content should adhere to the highest
standards of ethical and professional conduct.
public's right to know about matters of importance is paramount. News organizations
have a special responsibility as surrogate of their readers to be vigilant
watchdogs of their legitimate public interests.
statement of principles can prescribe decisions governing every situation.
Common sense and good judgment are required in applying ethical principles to news
realities. As new technologies evolve, these principles can help guide editors
to ensure the credibility of the news and information they provide. Individual news
organizations are encouraged to augment these APME guidelines more specifically
to their own situations.
good news organization is fair, accurate, honest, responsible, independent and
decent. Truth is its guiding principle.
avoids practices that would conflict with the ability to report and present
news in a fair, accurate and unbiased manner.
should serve as a constructive critic of all segments of society. It should
reasonably reflect, in staffing and coverage, its diverse constituencies. It
should vigorously expose wrongdoing, duplicity or misuse of power, public or
private. Editorially, it should advocate needed reform and innovation in the
public interest. News sources should be disclosed unless there is a clear reason
not to do so. When it is necessary to protect the confidentiality of a source,
the reason should be explained.
organization should uphold the right of free speech and freedom of the press
and should respect the individual's right to privacy. It should fight
vigorously for public access to news of government through open meetings and
organization should guard against inaccuracies, carelessness, bias or
distortion through emphasis, omission or technological manipulation.
should acknowledge substantive errors and correct them promptly and
organization should strive for impartial treatment of issues and dispassionate
handling of controversial subjects. It should provide a forum for the exchange
of comment and criticism, especially when such comment is opposed to its
editorial positions. Editorials and expressions of personal opinion by
reporters and editors should be clearly labeled. Advertising should be
differentiated from news.
organization should report the news without regard for its own interests,
mindful of the need to disclose potential conflicts. It should not give favored
news treatment to advertisers or special-interest groups.
should report matters regarding itself or its personnel with the same vigor and
candor as it would other institutions or individuals. Concern for community,
business or personal interests should not cause the newspaper to distort or
misrepresent the facts.
should deal honestly with readers and newsmakers. It should keep its promises.
not plagiarize words or images.
organization and its staff should be free of obligations to news sources and
newsmakers. Even the appearance of obligation or conflict of interest should be
organizations should accept nothing of value from news sources or others
outside the profession. Gifts and free or reduced-rate travel, entertainment,
products and lodging should not be accepted. Expenses in connection with news
reporting should be paid by the organization. Special favors and special
treatment for members of the press should be avoided.
are encouraged to be involved in their communities, to the extent that such
activities do not create conflicts of interest.
in politics, demonstrations and social causes that would cause a conflict of
interest, or the appearance of such conflict, should be avoided.
staff members for the people or institutions they cover also should be avoided.
investments by staff members or other outside business interests that could
create the impression of a conflict of interest should be avoided.
should not be written or edited primarily for the purpose of winning awards and
prizes. Self-serving journalism contests and awards that reflect unfavorably on
the newspaper or the profession should be avoided.