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World Editors Forum approves five principles

The Board of the World Editors Forum (WEF), at its meeting at the World News Media Congress in Cartagena, Colombia, approved five principles to help rebuild trust in professional journalism.

WEF is now asking editors around the world to embrace the five principles as a way to take journalism to the next level.

Marcelo Rech, WEF President, and Editorial Vice President of Grupo RBS, Brazil, said: “Given the current reality where false and distorted information is easily shared, we need to distinguish professional journalism and secure greater public recognition of its relevance. At this next level, the search for truth, a concept that lies at the genesis of journalism, is now more necessary than ever.”

The principles are:

1. In a world of hyper-information, credibility, independence, accuracy, professional ethics, transparency and pluralism are the values that will confirm a relationship of trust with the public.

2. Next-level journalism is distinguished from other content by the vigilant and diligent questioning and verification of material circulating on social media. It acknowledges social media as a source of information for further fact checking and as a platform for leveraging professional content.

3. The mission of journalism at this next level is to positively serve society by providing high-quality verified information and to establish news brands as a trusted certificate of origin for content.

4. A requirement of next-level journalism is that it goes beyond basic facts and enables and encourages analysis, contextual and investigative reporting, and informed expression of opinion, moving from the provision of news to knowledge that empowers.

5. Next-level journalism should be driven by trust and the guiding principles of social relevance, legitimate interest and truthfulness

The Ethical Journalism Network (EJN) has endorsed the principles. EJN Director Aidan White said: “Work to strengthen the role of editors and their key role in repositioning journalism as a cornerstone of the new information landscape is urgently needed. In this we have nothing to fear from enforcing the cardinal principles of journalism which are an inspiration for responsible communications and free expression.”