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Public Media Code of Integrity

Public media organizations contribute to well-informed, engaged communities by encouraging varied and divergent ways of acquiring knowledge and forging understanding.

Public media organizations have adopted shared principles to strengthen the trust and integrity that communities expect of valued public service institutions.

The freedom of public media professionals to make editorial decisions without undue influence is essential. It is rooted in America’s commitment to free speech and a free press. It is reflected in the unique and critical media roles that federal, state, and local leaders have encouraged and respected across the years. It is affirmed by the courts.

Trust is equally fundamental. Public media organizations create and reinforce trust through rigorous, voluntary standards for the integrity of programming and services, fundraising, community interactions, and organizational governance.

These standards of integrity apply to all the content public media organizations produce and present, regardless of subject matter, including news, science, history, information, music, arts, and culture. These standards apply across all public media channels and platforms – broadcasting, online, social media, print, media devices, and in-person events.

In collaboration with public media organizations throughout the U.S., Independence Media and MiND: Media Independence establishes this code of good practice based upon recommendations from the Affinity Group Coalition (AGC), the Station Resource Group, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

  • Contribute to communities’ civic, educational, and cultural life by presenting a range of ideas and cultures and offering a robust forum for discussion and debate.
  • Commit to accuracy and integrity in the pursuit of facts and reasonable beliefs about events, issues, and important matters that affect communities and people’s lives.
  • Pursue balance, fairness and responsiveness in content and services, with particular attention to reflecting diversity of demography, culture, and beliefs.
  • Protect the editorial process from the fact and appearance of undue influence, exercising care in seeking and accepting funds, setting careful boundaries between contributors and the creative/editorial creators, and being honest with the audience
  • Encourage understanding of fundraising operations and practices, acknowledge program sponsors, and disclose terms of sponsor support.
  • Maintain respectful and accountable relationships with individual and organizational contributors.
  • Seek editorial collaborations to enhance capacity, perspective, and relevance and apply public media standards to these arrangements.
  • Encourage employees, Board members, interns, volunteers, advisors and contractors to adhere to these high standards in their professional and community work.
  • Promote the common good, the public interest, as well as these commitments to integrity and trustworthiness in organizational governance, leadership, and management.

January, 2014