In a bid for transparency, Kenya’s The Nation Media Group has publicized its editorial policy, which includes a section on its ethics guidelines.
In an op-ed, public editor Peter Mwaura explained the policy is more than 10,000 words but was published for transparency and accountability. Mwaura said that the Nation Media Group is the first media group in Kenya to share its policies. He wrote:
“This is what we call transparency. It tells readers: These are our journalism ethics and standards. Hold us to account.”
Mwaura told iMediaEthics by e-mail the guidelines have been in place since 1981 and his post was an explainer.
The Nation Media Group’s editorial policy lists core values including independence, accuracy, newsworthiness, labeling newsversus opinion, diversity and tolerance, democracy and good governance, public debate, and media freedom.
The policy also dictates against “pedantic facts,” cliches, filler reports, and lists of who attended events, and instead called for clear, balanced writing with context.
The ethics portion of the policy requires prompt corrections of errors, apologies only when the legal department says so, an opportunity for subjects of stories to reply, and avoiding relying on anonymous sources. The policy also states journalists should only use undercover reporting when in the public interest and journalists carefully consider taste before publishing anything potentially obscene or offensive. The policy also bars checkbook journalism — or paying for information, discrimination, recording without consent, invasion of privacy, conflicts of interest, and plagiarism.