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Bulletin Guide: Code of Ethics and Conduct

  • We present news that is legitimate and well-researched.
  • We always strive for accuracy, giving all the relevant facts we have and ensure that they have been checked. When we cannot corroborate information, we say so.
  • We present news in context and in a balanced manner and do not speculate or exaggerate.
  • We remain neutral and do not allow commercial, political, personal or other non-professional considerations to influence reporting.
  • We know the difference between reporting on a story and sensationalising a story. We will never be intentionally controversial or encourage a biased impression of events.
  • We act fairly and impartially affording subjects reasonable time to respond to news events or allegations. If unable to obtain comment, we say so.
  • When a report is based on limited information, we say so and supplement it once new information becomes available.
  • We avoid plagiarism by writing stories after gathering our own facts, doing our own reporting and interviews, and giving credit to sources.
  • We hold ourselves accountable. We make amends for presenting inaccurate information or comment by publishing promptly and with appropriate prominence a retraction, correction, explanation or an apology.
  • We obtain news legally, honestly and fairly.
  • We are not obliged to remove any story or bulletin which is not unlawfully defamatory.
  • We use personal information for journalistic purposes only.
  • We listen to the concerns of our clients and do our best to accommodate them.
  • We communicate clearly, professionally and respectfully with our colleagues, contacts/spokespeople and clients at all times.
  • We exercise due care and responsibility when presenting brutality, violence and suffering.
  • We act humanely and are aware of the impact our words can have on the lives of others.
  • We are committed to combatting hate speech – that is, advocacy of hatred based on race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation or religion, and that constitutes incitement to cause harm.
  • We afford special weight to South African cultural customs concerning the protection of privacy and dignity of people who are bereaved and their respect for those who have passed away, as well as concerning children, the aged and the physically and mentally disabled.
  • We exercise care and consideration in matters involving dignity and reputation, which may be overridden only if it is in the public interest.
  • We will not identify rape survivors, survivors of sexual violence which includes sexual intimidation and harassment or disclose the HIV/AIDS status of people without their consent.
  • We exercise exceptional care and consideration when reporting about children.

As journalists we commit ourselves to the highest standards of journalism, to maintain credibility and keep the trust of the public. This means always striving for truth, avoiding unnecessary harm, acting independently, and reflecting multiple and diverse voices in our coverage of events, showing a special concern for children and other vulnerable groups, and exhibiting sensitivity to people’s cultural customs.

The above Code of Conduct and Ethics adopted by Bulletin is in line with and derived from *The South African Press Code.

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Peet Bothma
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