EPA Code of Ethics
The Evangelical Press Association was formed for professional stimulation and for fellowship, and not to police the activities of its members. Nevertheless, we ask all members to agree to the following standards as a framework for their ethical practice.
Principle 1: Mission and ministry
Through the ministry of periodical publishing, EPA members should advance the work and witness of Jesus Christ and the Church. EPA members should help all people understand their world in light of biblical truth.
Principle 2: Pursuit of truth
The foremost responsibility of EPA members is faithfulness to the will of God as expressed in the Bible and to the articulation of the truth.
Great care should be taken to acknowledge authorship and sources and to verify the accuracy of facts and quotations of both original and previously published material. False or misleading statements can seriously damage the reputation and credibility of individuals and organizations.
2.2 Design and photography:
Charts, graphs, illustrations, and photographs should not distort information or mislead readers. Alterations that change the substance or the meaning of journalistic photographs should be avoided.
Manuscript editing is a creative and cooperative enterprise between editor and writer. EPA editors should ensure accuracy in editing and layout for their publications. Viewpoints should be presented without distortion or malice. Editing should not change the intent of the author nor add material without permission from the author. Editors should maintain in a timely way necessary communication with authors.
2.4 Internet technology:
The same principles and practices that govern traditional journalism should also apply to publishing on the Internet. However, because of the way Internet material is easily borrowed and widely shared, those engaged in electronic journalism must make rigorous efforts at accuracy and copyright acknowledgement. Electronic journalists should be wary of the temptations posed by the medium’s immediacy and should exercise restraint in passing along questionable information and use care in checking facts and sources.
Good writing represents reality in a truthful, comprehensive, and helpful way. Writers should minimize the use of secondary material, be clear about potential conflicts of interest, and distinguish between personal opinion and verifiable facts. EPA members will not engage in plagiarism or the fabrication of people, events, and quotations.
PRINCIPLE 3. HONESTY AND INTEGRITY:
EPA members should be honest and courageous, acting with integrity in service to the public and their organizations.
Outside of standard “fair use” exceptions, EPA publications do not publish any material without the consent of its authors or owners. Copyright laws must be scrupulously observed.
All financial agreements with the authors and artists should be written and carefully followed. EPA members should fairly compensate authors and artists for any use of their materials on the Internet, CD-ROMs, or other “new media.” Specific arrangements between publications and their authors or artists should be made so that both sides will be satisfied with their fairness.
3.3 Invasion of privacy:
Since newsgathering is often intrusive, journalists should interact with sources with sensitivity and respect.
Principle 4: Independence
EPA members should establish and protect their own editorial freedom and independence and should support freedom of the press as an essential human right worldwide.
Advertisements in EPA publications should not defraud or mislead readers. Editorial favors are not to be predicated upon the sale of advertising, nor should non-advertisers receive unfavorable treatment or be excluded from articles because they do not advertise. The products and style of presentation in advertisements should not conflict with a periodical’s Christian commitment. Paid advertising should be clearly distinguished from editorial content. Editors should not permit advertisers or product sponsors to vet articles prior to publication unless the publication has openly disclosed such a policy to its readership.
EPA members should avoid making endorsements that would compromise their editorial independence.
Journalists should decline gifts that may unduly influence the performance of their work. Token courtesies, such as meals or media passes, should be accepted only in the normal course of editorial production.
EPA members may participate in press trips provided that they have made no commitment for an article and that their editorial independence is recognized by sponsoring groups. The traveling reporter should not be expected to participate in promotional activity and should pay for personal expenses.
EPA members should exhibit trustworthiness, fair play, and civility in their work.
5.1 Conflicts of interest:
EPA members must avoid real and apparent conflicts of interest.
5.2 Newsgathering and Reporting:
Fairness and thoroughness should characterize the process of newsgathering. Journalists and writers should not deceive sources concerning the purpose of their interview or the subject matter of their articles, nor should they break laws in the course of reporting. Journalists and writers should welcome independent checking of facts and quotes and be prepared to provide corroboration of sources.
In handling controversial subjects, EPA members should investigate opposing viewpoints thoroughly. No essential information should intentionally be excluded from published reports. Distortion, sensationalism, and prejudice must be avoided.
5.3 Publisher Relationships:
Publishers should deal with employees, contributors, advertisers, and vendors in a fair and open manner. In employment, racial, gender, disability or age discrimination and sexual harassment must not be permitted.
Principle 6: Openness and disclosure
EPA members should be open and forthright in all their activities.
For EPA members that accept advertising, circulation reports must be publicly available, verifiable, and annually updated.
6.2 Restrictions on reporting:
If a news source asks an EPA journalist for anonymity, questions in writing, or other special conditions, such arrangements should be developed in consultation with editors. When appropriate, readers should be informed of these agreements. If a source requests confidentiality, an EPA member should honor that agreement.
Principle 7: Accountability and Responsibility
EPA publications, by virtue of their biblical commitments, aspire to operate with the highest standards of accountability and responsibility.
7.1 Corrections and clarifications:
When substantive mistakes are made, whatever their origin, EPA members will publish a correction or clarification at the earliest opportunity. When the subject of an article and a publication disagree over the accuracy of a report, the publication should offer the aggrieved party reasonable space on a letters page or in another appropriate forum for its point of view.
7.2 Peer accountability:
EPA members who see their colleagues violating the principles of ethical journalism should, out of Christian love, voice their concerns, first to the individual or publication involved. EPA members should be grateful for admonition, correction, and encouragement in righteousness from their colleagues.
Editors and publishers should submit disputes and difficulties to representative panels of peers for wise advice leading to reconciliation and to spiritual and professional growth.
7.3 Resolving complaints:
The EPA Code of Ethics sets standards of performance, which all members promise to keep. It is an enforceable code incumbent on all members.