October 28, 2021

Editorial Policy and Code of Practice

MISSION

Africa Watch Trust publishers of NGO Africa Watch was established to ensure African citizens and non-state actors have access to quality developmental information.

RELATIONS

NGO Africa Watch shall not engage in media wars against other media organisations

NGO Africa Watch shall respect intellectual property law by crediting all sources of news and pictures

NGO Africa Watch shall not carry refutations of stories that appeared in a rival publication except:-

  • Where NGO Africa Watch establishes that the story was false. or
  • Where the paper that carried the story in question is unwilling to make a correction.

INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM

Investigative journalism is an integral part of journalism and the only means of ensuring a corrupt-free society and shall be practised without fear or favour.

CODE OF PRACTICE

Editors are responsible for the use of material submitted by journalists employed by NGO Africa Watch. They should also satisfy themselves as far as possible that material contributed by non-staff members was obtained in accordance with this code.

This code demands self-restraint by editors and journalists, and it applies in the spirit as well as in the letter.

  1. INDEPENDENCE
  • Freedom from obligations except of fidelity to the public interest is vital.
  • NGO Africa Watch shall stand on the principle that all persons are equal before the law and should not be swayed by any political, economic or other social prejudices.
  • NGO Africa Watch shall not allow themselves to be used privately for individual interests running counter to public interest, or for worthless or immoral or illegal purposes.
  1. REPORTING DEVELOPMENTAL NEWS
  • NGO Africa Watch shall be obliged to report developmental news truthfully, accurately and fairly.
  • News shall be presented in context and in a balanced manner, without an intentional or negligent departure from the facts whether by:-
  • exaggeration or misrepresentation
  • Material omissions: or-
  • Summarisation
  • Only what may reasonably be true having to the source of the news may be represented as facts, and such facts shall be published fairly with due regard to context and importance.
  • NGO Africa Watch shall not publish information obtained by dishonest or unfair means, or the publication of which would involve a breach of confidence, unless there is an overriding public interest.
  • NGO Africa Watch shall not place gratuitous emphasis on the race, nationality, religion, colour, country of origin, gender,  sexual preferences, marital status, political views or intellectual or physical disability of either individuals or groups,  unless the fact is relevant.
  1. ACCURACY
  • NGO Africa Watch shall take care not to publish inaccurate, misleading or distorted material.
  • Where there is reason to doubt the accuracy of a report and it is practicable to verify the accuracy thereof, it shall be verified. Where it has not been practicable to verify the accuracy of a report, this shall be mentioned in the report.
  1. FACT AND OPINION
  • NGO Africa Watch shall clearly distinguish between fact and opinion. Generally factual material shall be based on some truth and should be capable of justification.
  • Opinions should equally have some factual basis and should not be conjured out of thin air.
  • Where a report is not based on facts or is founded on opinions, allegation, rumour or supposition, it shall be presented in such manner as to indicate this clearly.
  1. ADVOCACY
  • NGO Africa Watch are justified in strongly advocating their own views on controversial topics provided that they treat their readers fairly by:-

– Making fact and opinion clearly distinguishable.

– Not misrepresenting or suppressing relevant facts

– Not distorting the facts in text or headlines

  1. COMMENT
  • Comment by NGO Africa Watch shall be presented in such manner that it appears clearly that it is comment, and shall be made on facts truly stated or fairly indicated and referred to.
  • Comment by NGO Africa Watch shall be an honest expression of opinion, without malice or dishonest motives, and shall take fair account of all available facts to the matter commented upon.
  1. AFTER PUBLICATION
  • NGO Africa Watch should make amends for publishing information or comment that is found to be harmfully inaccurate by printing, promptly and with appropriate prominence, a retraction, correction or explanation.
  • An apology shall be published wherever deemed appropriate by the Executive Editor.
  • A fair opportunity for reply to inaccuracies shall be given to individuals or organisations as appropriate at the Executive Editor’s discretion.
  1. PRIVACY
  • NGO Africa Watch, in both news and comment, shall exercise exceptional care and consideration in matters involving the private lives and concerns of individuals, bearing in mind that any right to privacy or breach of confidence may be overridden by a legitimate public interest.
  • Publication is in the public interest if it helps in:-

– Detecting or exposing crime, misdemeanour or corrupt practices

– Detecting or exposing anti-social conduct

– Protecting public health and safety

– Preventing the public from being misled by some statement or action of an individual or organisation

  1. HEADLINES, POSTERS, PICTURES AND CAPTIONS
  • Headlines and captions to pictures shall give a reasonable reflection of the contents of the report or picture in question.
  • Posters shall not mislead the public and shall give a reasonable reflection of the contents of the reports in question.
  • Pictures shall not misrepresent or mislead or be manipulated to do so.
  1. GATHERING INFORMATION
  • NGO Africa Watch shall neither obtain nor seek to obtain information or pictures through intimidation or coercion.
  1. BRIBES
  • NGO Africa Watch shall not accept bribes from news sources or newsmakers or individuals or organisations.
  • Any gift received in the course of duty must be declared to the Executive Editor and other editorial staff.
  • NGO Africa Watch shall not demand or receive any payment for news coverage from news sources.
  1. CHEQUE BOOK JOURNALISM

Consequently, NGO Africa Watch should be responsible and live up to the highest honour and trust bestowed on them by not being influenced by monetary or profit considerations.

  1. SOCIETAL MORALS
  • Reports, photographs or sketches relative to matters involving deaths, suicide, indecency or obscenity shall not be published.
  1. JUVENILES
  • NGO Africa Watch shall not interview or photograph children under the age of 18 on subjects involving the personal welfare of the child, in the absence of or without the consent of a parent or guardian.
  • Children shall not be interviewed or photographed while at school without the permission of the school authorities, unless in the public interest.
  • NGO Africa Watch shall not reveal the name, address, school or any particulars that would lead to the identification of any person under the age of 18 who is involved in cases concerning sexual offences, whether as victims, or as witnesses or as accused persons unless the Court or the Minister rules otherwise.
  1. VIOLENCE

Due care and responsibility shall be exercised by reporters with regard to the presentation of brutality, violence and atrocities.

  1. VICTIMS OF RAPE OR INDECENT ASSAULT OR SEXUAL HARRASSMENT
  • The identity of rape victims and other victims of sexual violence shall not be published by NGO Africa Watch without their consent.
  1. DISCRIMINATION
  • NGO Africa Watch shall avoid prejudicial or pejorative reference to a person’s race, religion, sex or sexual orientation or any physical or mental illness or disability.
  • NGO Africa Watch shall avoid publishing details of a person’s race, colour, religion, nationality, country of origin, sex or sexual orientation, marital status, political views or intellectual or physical disability unless these are directly relevant to the story.
  • NGO Africa Watch shall avoid the use and publication of threatening, abusive or insulting words or material with the intention of stirring up racial hatred or in circumstances where racial hatred is likely to be stirred up.
  1. COPYRIGHT

Africa Watch Trust shall own and have sole rights relating to intellectual property rights in the materials submitted and all copies thereof in whatever format. Our journalists shall not use for their own purpose or profit information or material obtained or received during or in the course of their employment nor shall they pass on such information or material to others, prior to its publication.

  1. CONFIDENTIAL SOURCES

NGO Africa Watch have an obligation to protect confidential sources of information. However, the Executive Editor must be given all sources of information by all journalists. Any information from a confidential source must be corroborated by at least two authentic and independent sources.

  1. CONSULTATION

From time to time, where dealing with a sensitive story, the Executive Editor may need to consult with Board of Directors. Sensitive stories shall be those that have serious continental or national implications: such as the declaration of war, national disaster, revelations that can affect the position of the national economy, can cause national panic or panic on a wide scale, can cause civil strife or national strikes, etc.