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Introduction

Everything we do as Reuters journalists has to be independent, free from bias and executed with the utmost integrity. These are our core values and stem from the Reuters Trust Principles. As a real-time, competitive news service whose reputation rests on reliability, we also value accuracy, speed and exclusivity. The way in which we, as Reuters employees, live these values is governed by the Reuters Code of Conduct. That code, with a few notable exceptions that apply specifically to journalists, governs the behaviour of all Reuters employees and is essential reading. As journalists, however, we have additional responsibilities if we are to fulfil the highest aspirations of our profession – to search for and report the truth, fairly, honestly and unfailingly.

This handbook is not intended as a collection of “rules”. Beyond the obvious, such as the cardinal sin of plagiarism, the dishonesty of fabrication or the immorality of bribe-taking, journalism is a profession that has to be governed by ethical guiding principles rather than by rigid rules. The former liberate, and lead to better journalism. The latter constrain, and restrict our ability to operate. What follows is an attempt to map out those principles, as guidance to taking decisions and adopting behaviours that are in the best interests of Reuters, our shareholders, our customers, our contacts, our readers and our profession.

The handbook, now in its second online edition and fully revised, is the work of no one individual. Dozens of journalists from text, television, pictures and from domestic as well as international services, have worked to bring it up to date. It builds on the work of colleagues, too many to number over the past 150 years, whose commitment to the most ethical standards of our profession has made Reuters the outstanding news organisation it is today.

April 2008

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