Editorial Policy

INTRODUCTION

Web News Observer is a house of young, dynamic, intellectual minds, which publishes a weekly from Mysore. Our unrelenting focal point, in the contemporary age of growing information technology, is Convergent Journalism.

We at Web News Observer produce content, not just for the audience of a particular region but across borders and nationalities to bring forth the global perspective. We produce news, opinion, analysis and reviews covering political, social, cultural and historical events that are related, not only to Kashmir but have global appeal.

Our Editorial values are at the core of everything we publish.

EDITORIAL VALUES

Accountability and Transparency

Web News Observer works free of bias and prejudice. Honesty plays a key role in whatever content WNO brings to the audience. Our readers should have full faith that our work is not influenced by outside pressures, political or social, or any personal interests.

Our output will be based on fairness, openness, honesty and straight dealing.

Contributors and audiences will be treated with respect.

Web News Observer believes in accountability. Trust that our audience show towards our organization is important for the growth of our organization. We are open to accepting our mistakes when committed and believe in the process of learning.

WNO will always be transparent about the content produced.

The Human Rights Act 1998 recognizes the right to freedom of expression, which includes the audience’s right to receive creative material, information and ideas without interference, subject to restrictions in the law. It also recognizes the right to private and family life and to freedom of thought, conscience and religion.

Impartiality

Web News Observer strives to bring to its audience work that appeals to all irrespective of gender, caste, Color, creed, social pressures or political interests. WNO serves the interests of all without favouring any particular person or section of society.

We bring a diversity of opinion in our work and produce a balanced view while dealing with controversial subjects.

WNO produces output based on facts without any conflict of interest or bias toward one particular side.

Legality and Responsibility

Web News Observer aims to produce work as it is, including all the related aspects. Balancing our right to bring truth to the forefront, we hold the responsibility to protect the identities of our sources and those vulnerable to harm.

WNO is responsible for all its published work to be in accordance with the generally accepted standards of journalism, particularly in relation to the protection of children and women. We work within the principles laid by the law of the land unless proved otherwise.

Serving the Public Interest

We work to serve our audience, report stories that are significant to the public interest. We seek to establish the truth instead of taking sides. We believe in researching the subject, bring out the reality leaving the judgment to the public.

Privacy

Respecting privacy is at the core of Web News Observer. We do not believe in the infringement of privacy without a good reason. Bringing private behaviour, information or conversation into public is against the rule of the organization, unless consent is sought in cases where it is necessary.

While reporting death, suffering and distress, we believe in concealing the identities of the victims and avoid using photographs that disrespect the dead.

Children

WNO will always protect the rights of children and work for the welfare of children who feature in our content. We will promote their right to speak and participate while ensuring their protection against exploitation and violence.

Article 15 (3): empowers the State to make special legal provision for children. It makes a mandate to the government to ensure children’s welfare constitutionally.
Article 21: mandates free & compulsory education for all the children in the age group of 6- 14 yrs.

Article 23: puts a total ban on forced labour & is punishable under the Act.
Article 24: prohibits the employment of children in hazardous factories below the age of 14yrs.; e.g.: mine, match industries etc.

Directive principles in the Constitution of India also provide protection for the children such as Article 39 (e), Article 39 (f), Article 41, Article 42, Article 45, & Article 47.

Ethics

Ethics are important in Journalism because they guide the journalists to work with professionalism, following set principles and standards. They’re also important for staying true to our profession without creating any bias.

Web News Observer believes in following the principles widely accepted by the press around the globe:

Honesty and fairness;

Duty to seek the views of the subject of any critical reportage in advance of publication; duty to correct factual errors;

Duty not to falsify pictures or to use them in a misleading fashion;

Duty to provide an opportunity to reply to critical opinions as well as to critical factual reportage;

Respect for privacy;

Duty to distinguish between facts and opinion;

Duty not to discriminate or to inflame hatred on such grounds as race, nationality, religion, or gender; some codes call on the press to refrain from mentioning the race, religion or nationality of the subject of news stories unless relevant to the story; some call for coverage which promotes tolerance;

Duty not to use dishonest means to obtain information;

Duty not to endanger people;

General standards of decency and taste;

Duty not to prejudge the guilt of an accused and to publish the dismissal of charges against or acquittal of anyone about whom the paper previously had reported that charges had been filed or that a trial had commenced.

USING THE GUIDELINES

INTRODUCTION

The WNO Editorial Guidelines apply to all of our content whoever creates or makes it and wherever and however it is received. They set out the standards expected of everyone making or presenting the organization’s output. They will help anyone, in-house or independent, public service or commercial, to deal with difficult editorial issues, meet the expectations of the audience, and produce distinctive and challenging content to the highest ethical and editorial standards.

Any proposal to step outside the Editorial Guidelines must be editorially justified. It must be discussed and agreed in advance with a senior editor.

ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES

Editorial Responsibility

Editorial responsibility in the WNO lies with the Editorial team.

Content Producers

Everyone including freelancers is required to have the knowledge of WNO’s editorial guidelines and work within them.

Using the Guidelines

In most cases, the content producers are expected to use their wisdom. However, insensitive and controversial issues they should consult their seniors if needed take legal advice.

Editors must be available to provide guidance to content producers whenever required.

Referrals

When editorial dilemmas creep in, one should not hesitate to refer to higher managers. The more important and controversial the issue, the more is the need for referrals.

The content producers should know who to refer to.

Editorial Policy

Our editorial team is available at every stage of your work to provide advice wherever and whenever required. Following the guidelines for all sorts of content and producing work without breaching the editorial policy is a must for any content producer.

Editorial Policy is also responsible for writing these Editorial Guidelines, and another guidance designed to ensure WNO content is made to the highest editorial standards.

PRINCIPLES AND PRACTICES – FACT CHECK

The Principles are the standards that all WNO output must meet, regardless of the time and place of the content produced.

The Practices, which follow the Principles in each section, are the set of rules to be considered while publishing the content in print or online.

The practices help meet the relevant editorial values and principles. They are obligatory to ensure WNO guidelines are met in compliance with the editorial policy.

Producing high-quality content – and delivering it without bias is difficult. Irrespective of who our target audience is, we are constantly competing against so much noise out there.

WNO follows a set of practices to:

1. Make it insightful & relevant.

This is probably the hardest rule to follow and requires a lot of patience and preparation. Our content needs to have a purpose beyond filling our website.

2. Be the authority.

WNO believes in owning the content with confidence and expertise. Spot-on data clean writing and well-attributed quotes will never go out of style.

3. Avoid short, unsubstantial messages.

Search engines may not be looking for a minimum word count, but they are looking for high-quality content.

We craft content that builds our trust with our readers so that they — and search engines, in turn — don’t think of us as spammers.

4. Engage your reader from the start.

Engaging the reader as early as possible by focusing on why our story matters and, incorporating relevant and eye-catching photos and videos is what WNO focuses on. Never bury a link one wants his reader to follow for a better understanding of the story..

5. Make your story easy to digest everywhere.

Our content is formatted with mobile in mind. We believe in balancing style with substance.

Shorter headlines, bullets, and bolding are all tried and true practices for making your story easy to discover and digest on any device.

GUIDANCE & ETHICS

The editorial guidelines are supported by guidance as and when required for publishing the content. The guidance is an explanation to guidelines and offers practical advice on their application.

OTHER SOURCES OF ADVICE & CORRECTIONS

WNO Lawyers

Journalism/ Reporting are the subjects of many different laws ranging from defamation and contempt to obscenity, privacy, incitement and health and safety. Legal problems may arise not just with what we publish but with how we create our content, so appropriate legal advice should be taken in good time.

Content producers should refer legal questions through their editor (who will discuss them with Legal Advice) but should not hesitate to take independent legal advice.

When considering the issues raised by the Editorial Guidelines it is often necessary to distinguish between the law the one hand, and regulations and WNO ethics on the other There may arise situations when our content is legally safe to produce, but raises questions ethically for the WNO, especially when children are involved or privacy is concerned. In such cases, WNO believes in ethics first.

While lawyers can therefore offer legal advice, the final decision remains an editorial one.

REPORTING CRIME AND ANTI-SOCIAL BEHAVIOUR

Covering crime and anti-social issues is considered an obligation for the organization. WNO believes in being an important part of society, thus aim to give facts to their readers in their context. However, we must ensure that the public interest in our reporting is not outweighed by public concern about our methods.

While reporting crime, WNO ensures that a certain standard of behaviour is observed, considering the outcome of our actions and avoid taking sides and obstructing the work of the authorities.

Our reporting must not add to people’s fear of becoming victims of crime if statistics suggest it is very unlikely.

WAR, TERROR AND EMERGENCIES

Web News Observer holds special responsibility to its Kashmir and international audience when reporting conflict including war and acts of terror, sieges and emergencies. Our readers expect us to contextualize the events in order to make sense of the situations. Analyzing without bias and providing views and opinions regarding the same is considered an obligation.

With conflicting information and opinions, and reliable information hard to come by, WNO makes sure to follow the principle of accuracy and impartiality.

However, we must also take care that our journalism does not put individuals at risk of unnecessary distress or harm. Alongside normal ethical considerations (and exceptionally for journalists), the laws pertaining to security place legal obligations on individuals to disclose certain information to the police as soon as reasonably practicable.

The tone of our reporting is as important as its reliability. We need to be sensitive to the emotions and fears of our audience when reporting matters involving risk to and loss of life, as well as human suffering or distress. Some will have relatives or friends directly involved. We will need to handle painful stories with great care. We should avoid causing unnecessary offence whilst also ensuring we continue to convey the reality of events and do not unduly sanitize our reporting.

Use of Language

While reporting terror, WNO’s concern is to produce work with facts, without carrying judgments. Accuracy and responsibility is what Web News Observer thrives on.

Threats and Hoaxes

Receiving threats calls for an immediate response. Threats are in any form, phone call, email, text message, voice message or fax note, must be reported immediately to the concerned authorities.

Sensitive security details must not be revealed in public, come what may.

Web News Observer does not believe in spreading fake news and create a situation that might turn detrimental for the public at large.

Official Secrets Act

When reporting conflict, content producers should consult the Editor or Legal advice in order to avoid any sort of breach of law. Stories that fall under the ambit of the official secrets act must be dealt with in accordance with the act.

Defence Advisory Notices

Defence Advisory Notices include the set of guidelines that explain the dos and don’t when reporting about defence and counter-terrorist activities. Content producers must ask for advice when reporting matters pertaining to national security.

RE-USE AND REVERSIONING

Web News Observer holds the copyright of whatever content is produced. Any organization that wishes to re-produce our work must formally seek permission from the editor in writing and if permitted, proper credits to WNO has to be attributed.

WNO follows the same when desirous of publishing content produced by some other organization.

CONFLICTS OF INTEREST

Conflict of Interest is very much part of any successful organization. COI arises when external relations of content producers affect the credibility of WNO.

Web News Observer always works for public interests and believes in building trust among its readers that our editorial decisions are always free of personal interests and are not influenced by outside interests or political pressures.

It is mandatory for our team, staff or freelancers, to declare their personal interests, if any, which may affect WNOs integrity or their own work with WNO.

RIGHTS

Intellectual property rights include:

  •  copyright
  •  industrial designs
  •  trademarks
  •  patents
  •  geographical indication

The Law on the subject is covered by the Copyright Act; the Trade and Merchandise Marks Act; the Patents Act and the Designs Act.

FEEDBACK AND COMPLAINTS

Readers are at the core of Web News Observer. We are committed to take feedback and complaints seriously and deal promptly with the same.

In order to improve our output, critical analysis of the content produced is welcomed with respect.

The WNO has created the framework of a complaint, which can be accessed in the HR policy of the organization.