Ethics Policy

Ethics Policy

In order to protect our 19 (1) (a) and other constitutionally mandated freedoms, the Digital News Publishers Association has voluntarily developed a Code of Ethics for its members, which is outlined below. This shows their dedication to responsible digital publishing while also keeping any developments under review and scrutinising any actions likely to limit the gathering and dissemination of news and current affairs or any other content.

The goal of this Code is to define high standards, ethics, and practises in digital news publication. It is not intended to meddle in the daily business of the publishers, who are completely independent in terms of editorial and content decisions.

The fundamental tenets of the Code of Ethics are to uphold the norms of digital publication and to safeguard the independence of publishers, content providers, and journalists.

1. Digital news sites abide by all applicable laws, including the Information Technology Act of 2000, the Indian Constitution, the over 30 legislation pertaining to the media, and pertinent sections of the IPC and CrPC.

2. They uphold the greatest standards of professional behaviour and scrupulously follow the acknowledged rules of journalistic ethics and practises. These self-regulatory ethics and codes have many layers, including those set forth by specific organisations as well as strict procedures in newsrooms at the level of journalists and editors.

3. Accuracy, Fairness, and Transparency Members should avoid publishing false, unsupported, or misleading information. Pre-publication validation ought to be required. Defamation ought to be prevented. Respect for the relevant laws and regulations is required.

4. Right of Reply : The statements of the person or party against whom allegations are made should be included in news reports and articles. The person or party’s response, if received later and not carried, shall be integrated.

If a person or party is interested in an update and there are recent developments, the information must be conveyed properly. The news item that was published should additionally include the date of the change.

5. Add, remove, or modify if a news report or article is discovered to contain false or inaccurate information, the offending section should be edited or removed after the concerned person or party contacts the publication, provides the necessary documentation, and identifies himself or herself.

The entire article should be erased if it turns out that the entire news story contains erroneous or inaccurate information.

6. Respect intellectual property
A. The right to privacy must be maintained while using text, pictures, plans, schematics, cartoons, etc. If copyrighted material is used, prior authorization should be obtained, and ownership and moral rights must be acknowledged in the publication.

B. If receiving permission involves paying a fee or royalty, both must be done.

C. Trademarks and service marks of third parties are protected and should only be used with permission or when doing so is appropriate.

D. If there is an intellectual property violation, the offending content should be modified, removed, or taken down as necessary after receiving any requests and the required documentation.

7. Reporting on criminality and sensationalised topics should be done with caution. It is important to uphold the innocence presumption. Avoid making comments or speculating about the evidence, the behaviour of the witnesses, the accused, the victim, or the witnesses’ respective conduct. Such reporting ought to be factual and objective.

8. Reporting on sexual harassment in the workplace, child abuse, rape, instances where the accuser or victim is a juvenile, marital, riots and communal conflicts or confrontations, divorce and custody issues, adoption matters, etc., should be done with extra caution.

▪️ Take care to abide by Sections 67, 67A, and 67B of the Information Technology Act of 2000, which, when applicable, impose fines for publishing or distributing in electronic form obscene material, sexually explicit material, or material showing children in sexually explicit actions.

9. Grievance Redressal Mechanism
Members adhere to the grievance redressal mechanism as set forth therein and are aware of the obligations and safe harbour protections under Section 79 of the Information Technology Act, 2000, when they are intermediaries as defined by that Act. As a result, they abide by the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines) Rules, 2011, which stipulates that they must designate a grievance officer whose contact information is posted on the website, act within 36 hours of receiving a complaint from a complainant, and resolve the complaint within a month of receipt.

10. Training and Education Initiatives
Conduct recurring training and education sessions for editorial staff on the Indian Constitution, the over 30 laws pertaining to the media, such as The Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, Copyright Act, Right to Information Act, pertinent provisions of the Indian Penal Code and CrPC, civil and criminal defamation, IPR, Juvenile justice, POCSO, relevant provisions relating to reporting on rape and molestation, harassment in the workplace, and other relevant laws.

A. If the victim was a minor or an employee, names and anything that could be used to identify them or the attacker should be strictly avoided.

B. Avoid taking photos of victims, their homes, places of employment, etc.

C. When reporting on situations involving intercommunal or interreligious conflicts or disagreements, extra care and attention must always be taken. Such news reports should be published only after the accuracy of the information has been confirmed, and they should be presented with the appropriate caution and restraint to provide a setting that fosters societal harmony, amity, and peace.

D. Reporting on courts and judicial topics requires special attention. Inform the editorial team about the proper way to report on court hearings and other judicial affairs as well as legislative privileges. to ensure that both the victim’s and the accused’s perspectives are covered without commentary.

E. Respect for privacy, particularly for those leading private lives.