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AFP adopts two new charters on Editorial Standards and Ethics

Last April 12, Agence France-Presse has adopted a new charter that sets down the Agency’s values, as well as a set of editorial standards and best practices in a context of digital revolution.

The documents were presented to a meeting of the Agency’s board on Tuesday.

In six succinct points, the AFP charter sets out the core principles of accuracy, impartiality and fairness applied by the Agency in its coverage of world news.  Referring to the AFP statute, it restates the Agency’s determination to defend the freedom of journalists to carry out their mission independently of any influence or threat.

AFP’s Editorial Standards and Best Practices ethics charter incorporates these same principles, codifying them in 30 pages of detailed guidelines.     

This document elaborates on the ethical guidelines contained in the AFP stylebook, which is to be updated to make it easier to use.

The ethical charter also thoroughly addresses the issues related to the profound shifts taking place in the media landscape.  Specifically, it deals with the growing role of social networks and user generated content as essential news sources.

It examines the ethical issues presented by the coverage of different types of news -- from conflicts to stock markets, elections and scientific discoveries.  It also contains specific rules and recommendations for journalists working in various formats (text, infographics, photo and video).

This document was drawn up after extensive research into the ethics codes of other major media outlets around the world, historical documents such as the 1971 Munich Declaration of the Duties and Rights of Journalists, and contemporary research and guidelines published by institutions such as the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma and the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University in New York, and the Eyewitness Media Hub in London.

A detailed practical guide to sourcing will supplement the ethical guidelines in the near future.

The Agency has decided to make these two charters publicly available online.

They were produced on the initiative of Global News Director Michèle Léridon.

“In a fast changing media environment, in which AFP must evolve, innovate and invent new formats, our essential value lies in producing reliable, trustworthy news based on clear editorial and ethical principles,” she said.

“These documents serve as a reminder of these principles”.               

They were written by Eric Wishart, the Agency’s global editor-in-chief from 1999 to 2005, after a broad consultation with the Agency’s editorial departments.


About AFP


AFP is a global news agency delivering fast, accurate, in-depth coverage of the events shaping our world from conflicts to politics, sports, entertainment and the latest breakthroughs in health, science and technology. With 2,326 staff spread across almost every country, AFP covers the world 24 hours a day in six languages. AFP delivers the news in video, text, photos, multimedia and graphics to a wide range of customers including newspapers and magazines, radio and TV channels, web sites and portals, mobile operators, corporate clients as well as public institutions

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