Thursday, May 6, 2021

Editorial Policy

EDITORIAL POLICY & CODE OF ETHICS

●    CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS

The  Nigerian  Constitution  accords  all  citizens  the  right  to  form  and  express  opinion.  This fundamental assurance allows citizens to generate, adopt and impart opinions.

Section  22  of  the  Constitution  says:  “The  press, radio, television and other agencies of the mass  media will at all times be free to uphold the fundamental objectives contained in this Chapter and uphold the responsibility and accountability of the Government to the people.”

Against  this  backdrop,  the  press  will  have  the  right to research and propagate information freely to the citizens; while being protected in the course of this duty.

At  Peoples  Gazette,  proprietors,  editors  and  reporters  will  exercise  these  constitutional rights within the boundary of publishing only factual and accurate information that will help the  citizens reach an informed and responsible judgment on democratic process and other public matters.

1. EDITORIAL INDEPENDENCE

1.1  The  Gazette  will  be  loyal  only  to  the  cause  that  advances  the  collective  interest  of  all

Nigerians, including the country’s unity, economic prosperity and security.

1.2 No individual, group of individuals or organisation will be allowed to use the newspaper to pursue an end that undermines or contradicts the collective interest of Nigerians.

1.3  The  Gazette  will  not  be  persuaded  by  any  religious, ethnic, tribal, political or economic sentiments. Instead, the newspaper will at all times see all entities as equal.

2. REPORTING NEWS

2.1 The Gazette will approach all news fairly, honestly, and factually.

2.2  News  will  be  adequately  contextualised  and  balanced.  Facts  will  not  be  embellished and/or  distorted,  misinterpreted, misrepresented, exaggerated or sensationalised, and such behaviour will have no place in our organisation.

2.3  All  sides  of  a  news  item,  especially  critical  reportage,  will  always  be  given  reasonably sufficient notice in advance of going to press.

2.4  Except on rare occasions of strong and overarching public interest, the Gazette will not publish information obtained without due transparency to the subject(s) of a story.

2.5  Except  where  it  is  absolutely  necessary  to  do  so,  the  Gazette  will  at  all  times  seek  to de-emphasise   the  ethnicity,  religion,  gender,  sexual  orientation,  political  affiliation,  race, social, economic or status, disability, etc, of the subject(s) of a story.

3. INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM

3.1   The   Gazette   will   channel   resources   to   vigorously   pursue   investigative   journalism because of its proven ability to check injustice, corruption and abuse of power, and because it is also a proven tool for imposing transparency and accountability in the society.

4. FACT VS OPINION

4.1   The   Gazette  will  at  all  times  clearly  distinguish  between  fact  and  opinion  articles. Procedurally,  a  factual  article  will  be  apparently  so  and should be capable of withstanding elaborate scrutiny.

4.2 An opinion article will equally contain some factual elements and not be based on pure fabrication or any figment of a writer’s imagination.

4.3 Satires will be thus labelled.

4.4  On  the  other  hand,  the  Gazette journalists will at all times ensure that their articles are devoid of any form of opinion or bias.

4.5 Any news analysis will contain more facts than viewpoints.

5. ADVOCACY

5.1  The  Gazette  will  from time to time participate in matters of societal interest, especially against   unbridled   corruption,   police   and   military   brutality,   terrorism   and sexual and  gender-based violence.

5.2  All campaigns will be pursued based on facts and without contortion or omission.

5.3  In the form of editorials,  the  Gazette will be entitled to weigh in on national issues by analyzing public policies and offering alternative ideas in a  fair,  constructive, and honest manner.

6. SENSITIVITY

6.1 News articles, multimedia or drawings on matters involving suicide, death, nudity, lunacy or obscenity will be approached with sufficient sensitivity and candour.

6.2     Reporters     will     pursue     comments     or     other     enquiries     with     sympathy     and open-mindedness.

7. MINOR

7.1  The  Gazette  journalists  will  not ordinarily interview or film children under the age of 18 without the consent of a parent or guardian.

7.2   Except   where   overriding   public   interest   is   readily   apparent,   children   will   not   be interviewed or photographed at school, parks or other public facilities without the awareness and permission of authorities in charge.

7.3 The Gazette will not publish the names, addresses or other identifying details of a child involved   in   matters   of   sexual   exploitation, trafficking and abuse  unless   where   otherwise   ruled   by   judicial authorities or for the purpose of seeking justice.

8. RAPE, SEXUAL ASSAULT AND HARASSMENT VICTIMS

8.1 The Gazette will refrain from publishing the identity and image of victims of rape and other forms of sexual or gender-based violence, except where consent is given.

8.2 But the identity of convicted rapists and perpetrators of sexual or gender-based violence will receive no protection from the Gazette.

8.3 All editorial staff members will be regularly trained on gender issues, gender sensitivity and analysis for public good.

8.4 We are committed to building gender awareness in story writing and ensuring criteria in developing partnership strategies and relationships.

9. PRIVACY VS PUBLIC INTEREST

9.1 The Gazette will at all times exhibit considerable diligence and decency on issues around the privacy of all citizens, except where otherwise dictated by strident public interest.

9.2 The Gazette considers a publication to be in public interest where such a story leads to exposure of violent crime or corrupt practices, especially in public service.

9.3  Issues  bordering  on  public  health  and  well-being  are  also  considered  to  be  in  public interest and will take precedence over the privacy of an individual who poses a threat against them.

10. NEWS GATHERING AND ANONYMOUS SOURCES

10.1  The  Gazette  journalists  are  prohibited  from  gathering  news  by  way  of intimidation or duress.

10.2  Unless  their  queries  are  in  the  public  interest,  our  journalists  will  not  film  citizens on private property without their express awareness and permission.

10.3  The  Gazette  journalists  will  be  discouraged  from  harassing  sources  by  telephone, e-mail,   social   media   or   pestering   individuals   who   had   previously   elected   not   to   be interviewed over a matter.

10.4 The Gazette journalists will at all times seek to openly identify sources for a news story because doing so often bolsters the credibility and sturdiness of a news article.

10.5 However, the Gazette recognises that there are often cases in which the only way to get the  facts of a matter is from individuals who would not want to be publicly identified either

for  fear  of  backlash  or  just  out  of  sheer  intent  on  living  quietly  away  from  the  spotlight. Editors will exercise case-by-case discretion in such situations.

10.6  Where  an  Editor  is  satisfied  that  anonymity  should  be  granted  to  a  news  source, the Gazette journalists will be duty-bound to ensure absolute and permanent protection of such a confidential source.

10.7  For  additional  fact-finding,  an  Editor  may  ask  to  know  the  identity  of  an  anonymous source from a reporter, and the source should be promptly and adequately informed on the necessity of such request and reassured of total confidentiality.

11. FREELANCE

11.1  The  Gazette  will  primarily  prohibit  its  journalists  from  reporting  or  providing  news material to other organisations considered to be in competition with the Gazette.

11.2  But  where  a  local  or  international  media  outlet  requires  the  service  of  any  of  our journalists,   the   journalist(s)   concerned   will   discuss   the   matter   first   with   an   Editor   or supervisor.

11.3 The Gazette will encourage equitable gender balance in the hiring of freelance journalists, opinion writers and digital content creators. 

12. BROWN ENVELOPES AND GIFTS

12.1  The  Gazette  journalists  are  prohibited  from  accepting  bribes  (otherwise  known  as brown  envelopes) from news sources or organisations for the purpose of writing a story or getting a mention in our publication.

12.2  The  Gazette  journalists  are  strongly  encouraged  to  reject  gifts  from  newsmakers  or organisations. But where such gifts are imposed on a reporter because their rejection could be  seen  as culturally inappropriate, the reporter must declare such gifts to an Editor or any other senior editorial staff member.

12.3 The Gazette will not demand or receive any gratification for news coverage from news sources.

12.4 The Gazette journalists are, however, allowed to receive gifts not exceeding ₦10,000 in value. Cash gifts will not be accepted under any circumstances.

12.5  Our  journalists  are  also  free  to  participate  in  a  lottery,  bonanza  or  special  discounts programme that is available to the general public.

13. ERRONEOUS PUBLICATION

13.1 The Gazette will render retraction for publishing a news story, opinion or advertorial that is found to be dangerous or false.

13.2 An explanation or apology will be published in a prominent part of our website once an error has been admitted.

13.3 A considerable right of reply to erroneous or unfairly harmful articles will be given to the subject(s) of such erroneous or unfairly harmful articles as may be decided by the Editor.

14. SOCIAL MEDIA

14.1   The   Gazette   encourages   its   journalists   to   have   a   social   media   presence,   and prominently so if individually comfortable.

14.2  Reporters  are  encouraged  to  use  their social media presence to share their stories or those  of  their  colleagues  within  and  outside  of  the  Gazette,  engage  readers  and  cultivate relationships with sources.

14.3  But  reporters  are  advised  to  refrain  from  getting  involved  in  partisan  and  combative discussions on social media.

14.4  We  encourage  our  journalists  to  express  themselves freely, but we also trust them to manage their social media responsibly and do so in a way that preserves —at minimum— the reputation of our newspaper.

14.5 For example, we believe our journalists will avoid making derogatory remarks or stereotypes that cast aspersion on individuals based on their ethnic, religious or gender identity. 

15. OTHER MEDIA ORGANISATIONS

15.1 The Gazette will not engage in confrontation against other media organisations.

15.2  The  Gazette  will  always  appreciate  intellectual  property  rights  by  crediting  original sources of a news material or multimedia. Staff members will not be allowed to lift facts or other material from another publication unless it is adequately disclosed.

15.3  Plagiarism  will  not  be  excused  in  any  way,  shape  or  form.  Any  act  of  plagiarism  will elicit stringent disciplinary measures from the management.

15.4  The  Gazette  will  not  prioritise  publishing  denials  of  a  story  that  appeared  in  a  rival publication;  except  where  our  reporters  established  that  the story was false and the outlet concerned appeared reluctant to append a clarification or retraction.

16. COPYRIGHT

16.1  The  Peoples’  Gazette  Limited  will  permanently  own  all  intellectual  property  rights  to content   submitted   by   its   journalists   or   commissioned   contributors   and   published   in whatever format.

17. DIGITAL ADVERTISING

17.1   The  Gazette  recognises  that  top-rated  journalism  such  as  ours  comes  at  a  cost. Therefore,  it  is  important  to  accept  business  promotions,  banners  and  other  commercial content for sustainability.

17.2   However,   such   commercial   materials   will   undergo   extensive   scrutiny   to   ensure conformity to our editorial standards prior to publication.

17.3  The  Gazette  may  publish  sponsored  content  that  is  not  typically  newsworthy,  if  our editors  determine  that  the  content,  as  a  whole, is useful and unlikely to cause harm to our readers.

17.4  The  protracted  revenue  challenges  confronting  media  organisations across the world have   forced   some   publications   to   adopt   a   paywall,   while   many   others   now   publish commercial  content  without  disclosing  this  status to readers — despite its inherent ethical questions. The Gazette must operate in this tough business climate.

17.5   Still,   we   have   reflected   on   the   prevailing   economic   situation   of   the  country  and concluded  that  our  purpose  of  informing  the  citizenry  could  be  defeated  if  we  require  a subscription fee that a majority of our readers cannot afford.

17.6  Therefore,  the Gazette has resolved to append a note at the top or below an article or multimedia  that  emanates  from  our  digital  advertising  department.  This  would  allow  the Gazette to publish sponsored content without necessarily labelling it in the headline.

18. MULTIMEDIA

18.1  The  Gazette  will  regularly  publish  multimedia  contents,  including  but  not  limited  to photos and videos taken by our reporters or sourced from social media or elsewhere on the Internet.   In   publishing   any   multimedia   content,   staff   members   will   refrain   from   gross manipulation of such material.

18.2  Only  a  simple  enhancement  procedure  will  be  carried  out  on  a video or image, and a material altered for clarity would be labelled as such.

19. VIEWPOINT

19.1 We are committed to publishing opinions, analyses and features that are as diverse and inclusive  as  possible.  However,  we  encourage  our  contributors  to  refrain  from  submitting articles  that  explicitly  express  discrimination  or  antagonism  on  the  basis  of  sex,  ethnicity, religion, race, sexual orientation, disability, social status or economic status.

19.2  Readers   should   be   aware   that   commentaries   are   solely  the  responsibility  of  their respective authors.

20. ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION

The Managing Editor shall have the power to constitute a panel of inquiry into allegations of a breach of editorial guidelines against members of staff.