FACTSTORY: ETHICAL PRINCIPLES AND BEST PRACTICES

 

 

This document defines the ethical principles and good practices to be followed for the editorial and non-editorial activities of FACTSTORY. These principles are based on the AFP Charter of Good Editorial and Ethical Practices.

Even if FACTSTORY serves markets that are different from those of AFP, it must respect ethical principles that reflect the rigorous standards in force at Agence France-Presse. 

 

General principles 

1 - FACTSTORY shall respect rigorous ethical standards and shall only accept requests that respect this fundamental principle.

2 - All persons working for FACTSTORY must respect the confidentiality of their clients.

3 - No person working for FACTSTORY shall be required to perform work contrary to his or her morality.

4 - Any person working for FACTSTORY must always present himself as such. They must not identify themselves as representing Agence France-Presse.

5 - FACTSTORY must not give the impression that its production will be associated with AFP or that AFP implicitly endorses the client's brand. 

 

Editorial principles 

6 - With regard to editorial orders, FACTSTORY shall endeavour to ensure accurate and impartial coverage. Any errors must be corrected promptly and transparently.

7 - Journalists working for FACTSTORY must always question the facts presented to them by clients. They must not knowingly repeat false statements.

8 - Photo and video journalists must not manipulate photos or videos and must not falsify or alter a story.

9 - Journalists must not do work for FACTSTORY that might influence or give the impression that it might influence their work for AFP.

10 - Journalists working for FACTSTORY must not use information they have obtained for personal gain or financial gain. 

 

 

The basics 

 

The orders 

FACTSTORY provides custom content for companies and institutions, as well as production for editorial use, especially in the sports field. FACTSTORY presents itself as a production company with expertise associated with the AFP brand, and its clients can expect the highest quality in photo, video, infographics and text. If FACTSTORY is commissioned to cover an event, journalists must adhere to the editorial rules defined in AFP's guidelines for sources and ethics. 

 

Accuracy and truth 

When FACTSTORY works for a company, it must respect AFP's fundamental principles of producing accurate and reliable content. FACTSTORY may not provide content that is patently false or contains false claims. FACTSTORY sells AFP's expertise in content production. This means that the content must be factually correct, even if it is white-labelled and there is no apparent link to AFP. For example, FACTSTORY should not agree to provide content that would falsely portray a polluting company as "green." But it may produce content about a particular project conducted by that company to benefit the environment.

Similarly, FACTSTORY should avoid producing partisan content. Any decision to accept work for a political party must first be discussed with AFP management. FACTSTORY shall only accept orders for content. It shall not accept orders for other tasks or provide personnel to perform other tasks. FACTSTORY shall immediately inform AFP's Information Department in Paris of any request for a contract that does not relate to content. FACTSTORY shall not accept any order that could jeopardize the reputation of the AFP brand or expose it to legal risk. 

Use of FACTSTORY's production by AFP 

If FACTSTORY's output is of editorial interest, and with the client's agreement, AFP may use FACTSTORY's content if it is credited as a "handout". However, AFP may not use or put on its platform any content modified by the client. 

 

Corrections 

As with AFP, any errors made by FACTSTORY in its editorial production must be corrected quickly and transparently. The client must be informed. 

 

Compliance with the law 

FACTSTORY shall respect the laws of the countries in which it operates. 

 

Children 

FACTSTORY shall obtain permission from a parent or legal guardian before interviewing, photographing or filming children. 

 

Medicine and Health 

FACTSTORY may work for pharmaceutical and medical research companies, but shall not be involved in producing content that promotes false or unverified claims about health issues. FACTSTORY should not work for organizations or individuals that promote alternatives to vaccines or that contradict medical science. 

 

Race/religion/sexual orientation 

FACTSTORY shall not produce content that stereotypes or degrades individuals or groups based on their gender, religion, sexual orientation, nationality, race or ethnicity. 

 

Language 

FACTSTORY shall not produce content that promotes hate speech or incites violence. 

 

Email 

FACTSTORY staff must use the address @factstory.agency for email, not afp.com. 

 

Promotion 

Journalists working for FACTSTORY are prohibited from promoting commercial products, including those produced by its clients. 

 

Interviews/speaking engagements 

Journalists working for FACTSTORY should never agree to speak publicly or be interviewed about the companies or organizations for which they are commissioned. 

 

Profit 

Journalists working for FACTSTORY must not take financial advantage of any privileged or other information obtained prior to its release, or pass such information on to others for profit. 

 

Security 

FACTSTORY must not accept assignments that may place its journalists in physical, legal or other danger. 

 

Infographics 

When creating infographics for FACTSTORY clients, the visual presentations must be true to life. The shades and scales must faithfully reflect the proportions of the subjects illustrated. The choice of infographics to illustrate information must be made with particular care (absolute value, percentage, trend, distribution...), and care must be taken with the basis and scale chosen to avoid distortions. 

What is illustrated is necessarily selective. Choices must be made and the hierarchy of information must be justified. It is imperative to always be able to defend an infographic, even if it does not contain an explanation.

The production of infographics for FACTSTORY must respect the same standards as those produced for AFP. 

 

Photo 

FACTSTORY must ensure that they have obtained appropriate permissions from a parent or other responsible adult if minors are involved in the production of content by FACTSTORY. This is a prerequisite and we must request written proof. As part of editorial coverage for FACTSTORY, photographers must not stage or re-enact events. They should not angle subjects or add, delete or move objects to enhance the image. 

 

Image processing (with Photoshop or other software) :

The editorial rules are as follows: 

- No additions or deletions to the original image (thereby altering the original content and journalistic integrity of an image) 

- No excessive brightening, darkening or blurring of the image (misleading the viewer by hiding certain elements of an image) 

- No excessive colour manipulation (changing the original lighting conditions of an image) 

 

The guidelines are as follows: 

- Only minor uses of Photoshop should be made, especially in poor lighting conditions. 

- When conditions are good, minor uses of Photoshop (performed according to the rules above) are tolerated. This includes basic colour correction, subtle brightening/darkening of certain areas, sharpening, dust removal, and other minor adjustments that follow the rules above. Photographers should be aware of the inherent limitations of their monitor settings and work environment.

- In the case of "multiple exposure" photos, this should be clearly stated in the caption. 

 

Video 

For editorial production, as opposed to "corporate" production, video journalists must adhere to the following rules: 

- It is not permitted to have a scene acted out by others, but it is permissible to ask someone to repeat a gesture he or she regularly makes. 

- It is forbidden to elicit the desired phrase from an interviewee. 

- It is assumed that people who have seen the camera have given their tacit consent to be filmed. 

- If we are filming children, we must ensure that written permission has been obtained from a parent or other responsible adult.