Our aim is to provide a fast-moving and up-to-date news and information platform for citizen journalists to share their high-quality video content with the world.
Our journalistic breadth will be wide-ranging. We intend to hold a mirror to the world, reporting on every aspect of life on planet Earth. We will showcase heart-warming stories of ordinary citizens, plus stories of triumph over adversity; we will celebrate the diversity of culture and bring innovation and scientific discovery to our viewers. Equally, we will expose wrongdoing, hold the powerful to account, and report accurately on unfolding events around the world.
We intend to build audience trust rapidly in our contributor content, by ensuring unbiased and fair reporting.
As creators, our content must adhere to the basic journalistic standards of truth, accuracy, balance, and impartiality.
We prohibit the use of defamatory and libelous content. We do not permit any harmful, offensive, or obscene content. We do not tolerate racism or hate speech, nor do we allow extremely violent or graphic content, or content that includes threats of violence or incitement to commit acts of violence towards any group or individual. Any such submitted content will be removed and the user banned for life.
Freedom of expression carries duties and responsibilities, especially to the vulnerable and the marginalized; it is also necessarily limited by the rule of law.
It is the responsibility of the contributor to ensure that the stories they upload do not contain prohibited and illegal content and that it adheres to both the Unpress editorial standards and the community standards.
As contributors that create stories, we approach each story with the following basic principles:
We do not promote any third-party organization, including businesses and their products, also religious and charitable groups.
We do not produce stories that have a political affiliation, nor do we endorse any political candidates or parties.
We see the world as it is and we report the facts with honesty and integrity.
If you see anything on our site that is inaccurate, harmful, or offensive, you can report your findings to the administrator by filling out this form.
These Editorial Standards apply to all published content and to all users submitting content, regardless of wherever in the world the content is created. The guidelines represent the gold standard for everyone making and submitting content. They are intended to help anyone producing content to deal with difficult editorial issues.
This is a journalism centric resource that is complementary to, and does not replace, our Community Standards. All content must be in compliance with both standards.
All contributors must ensure the accuracy of their content. This means double-checking facts and not relying on a single source to verify a story. Rumor and hearsay are not facts. We only report what we can best determine is the truth. Anything less could be extremely damaging to innocent individuals we malign. It will also erode audience trust and may have dire legal implications.
Ideally, we will witness the material we report ourselves and not rely on second-hand information.
If a contributor to Unpress is offered video or any other material to stand up a story, we must be able to verify its accuracy and attribute the source. If we cannot verify its accuracy, then the source must be attributed and we must state that we have not been able to verify accuracy.
Ordinarily, contributors should avoid anonymous sources, especially if their stories are not easily verified. However, if we do decide to grant anonymity to a source, be aware that this is a serious undertaking, and every effort must be made to protect their identity. We must also ensure the audience understands the reason for the anonymity and given just enough information to establish the credibility of the source, without revealing their identity. Information on sources should be populated in the Sources and Citations area of your story.
Any attempt to knowingly pass off false information as fact will result in the content being removed and an immediate ban on the contributor.
If a contributor makes a mistake or discovers that a story published is no longer true, in part or in full, then the contributor must remove the content and post a new story that provides updated information as well as information on what content was found to be untrue. We own up to our mistakes. Audience trust depends on this.
To ensure the audience continues to trust the accuracy and fairness of our content, our reporting must be impartial. That means contributors must not express or reveal their personal views in any way on any of the News stories they publish.
We do not have a view or an opinion on our News stories. Let the facts speak for themselves.
The ability to maintain trust and to operate as an objective journalist or storyteller, even to remain safe working as a journalist, demands strict adherence to these editorial guidelines. Any whiff of bias, in any direction in a news story, will destroy your credibility and therefore your ability to report on a story.
Impartiality is not the same as balance. In normal reporting we would expect both sides of a story to be represented, or a ‘right of reply’ to be given. However, if a story is incontrovertibly true, then balance is not necessarily required. For example, the mounting scientific proof that the planet is warming and that the incidence of unnatural events such as extreme heat and devastating floods is growing exponentially tells us that climate change is real. As such, a story about climate change does not technically require being balanced with an opposing view.
We handle conspiracy theories with care. Conspiracy theories by their nature, lack evidential proof, nor do we accept any medical or scientific theories or conspiracies that do not have a foundation in scientific fact. You can report on them, but you must do so in a way that does not subscribe to, endorse, support, promote, or advocate for them.
Impartiality does not mean a contributor must adopt a submissive tone when interviewing a subject. Indeed, tough questions and holding the powerful to account is expected of all journalists. In such circumstances, the journalist is there on behalf of the audience and must ask the necessary and appropriate questions.
In impartial journalism, there is no room for opinion. Facts are all that count.
Harm and Offence
As stated in the introduction above, we do not permit harmful, offensive, or obscene content. We do not tolerate racism or hate speech of any kind, nor do we allow extremely violent content, or content that includes threats of violence or incitement to commit acts of violence towards any group or individual.
Having said that, we recognize that the publication of ‘challenging’ content, which passes the public interest test and has editorial purpose, and which seeks only to prompt legitimate and fair public debate, is permissible. Our moderators will determine whether the content meets this narrow interpretation; the public interest bar will be set extremely high.
Our content must not compromise the vulnerability of any person, especially that of a child or minor.
Obscene material and the use of sexual swear words are forbidden. As is extreme violence. Also depictions of self-harm and suicide.
Extreme care must be taken when talking about mental health in general and medical conditions linked to mental health and depression.
Challenging content, as described above, may require an age barrier and limited access.
There is NO justification for the depiction of sexual acts involving minors, (i.e. those that could be classified as child pornography and acts of pedophilia.) Such depictions are strictly prohibited and illegal. Any infringement or attempted infringement of this prohibition will be reported immediately to the required law enforcement authorities and result in a permanent ban for the user and potential prosecution. Law enforcement will have our full and unreserved cooperation. For more information see our policy on Exploitation.
Great sensitivity is required when reporting Religion and Faith. Recent census reports - eg in the UK- report a distinct drop in the numbers of people identifying as a person of faith, especially within Christianity. Nevertheless, many people continue to hold strong religious views, which must be respected.
This does not mean that faith groups can’t be challenged, especially when there is a clear public interest case for doing so. However, mocking religion or a person’s spiritual beliefs for its own sake is not permitted1. This is particularly relevant when depicting or talking about religious imagery and ritual. For example, many Muslims regard any depiction of the Prophet Muhammad as highly offensive.
Fairness is the sibling of accuracy. It is also the platform on which all editorial guidelines stand.
Fairness relates directly to all our actions as citizen journalists: fairness to the audience, to contributors, and to the individuals and institutions we focus on and investigate.
We should never set out to mislead or deceive those included in submitted content, unless there is a clear editorial reason for doing so - e.g., exposing wrongdoing. Even here, the editorial and public interest test will be set extremely high. Our moderators reserve the right to remove content that does not meet this exacting standard.
Under normal circumstances, our dealings with sources and contributors will be open and honest. We will clearly state our editorial purpose and intent when filming or requesting an interview. This is called fair dealing.
Where possible, we should obtain consent from the people we feature. This does not include people we film in public places. Filming is permissible in public places, and although the law changes in some jurisdictions, we should challenge anyone who tries to prevent legitimate journalism and storytelling from taking place.
Be prepared to verify the identity of an interviewee. Do not take a person’s identity and credentials for granted.
Be extremely careful not to identify victims of sexual abuse. In many jurisdictions, there is guaranteed anonymity for life.
Right of Reply
It is our legal duty and a clear directive of natural justice that we offer a ‘right of reply’ to those we accuse. The offer must be overt, and the details of the offer recorded. If the subject of our investigations refuses that right, we should make it very clear in our finished content that an offer was made to hear their side of the story.
We will not accept material that has been obtained by the use of long lenses trained on private property, or material that has been obtained by deception or illegal means.
However, there may be a small number of occasions when privacy can be breached in the case of exposing crime and wrongdoing, and the public interest case is very clear.
We do NOT condone breaking the law, and any examples of such infringement will result in a ban from the site.
There is limited expectation of privacy in a public space, however, repeated attempts to film and interview an unwilling individual can be construed as harassment and should be avoided.
Secret filming is illegal in many countries and should be avoided. However, within the legal confines of the individual jurisdiction, secret recording can be acceptable in a very small number of cases. Firstly, there must be clear prima facie evidence of illegality and wrongdoing on the part of the subject. There should be a self-evident public interest case for exposure. Secondly, every attempt to record the subject openly must have been made. Thirdly, the subject must be given at least two written requests for an interview. If all these attempts fail, and the public interest test still applies, the secret filming can take place.
All contributors are responsible for their own safety and security. Never put yourself at risk for the sake of a story.
Reporting distressing scenes
The gratuitous depiction of violent scenes, or graphic portrayal of those seriously injured or killed by acts of hate, war, terrorism, natural disasters, or accidents, are not permitted.
Even the dead have a right to privacy. Their living relatives most certainly have rights. Intrusion on grief and pain must be avoided.
As always, there are a small number of occasions when public interest permits the showing of distressing images. For example, images of war zones to indicate the intensity of fighting or the devastating effects on civilians may be in the public interest to show. Great care and consideration is required when making such picture decisions.
A written warning and age restriction limitations should be in place before the content is viewable.
If reporting from a war zone and restrictions, even censorship rules, are placed on our activities, we should make this clear in the material we upload.
Vital things to note
Libel and Defamation
Please remember that any individual or business can take legal action against you if they feel their reputation is damaged or that their business has suffered as a result of the content you published.
The first defense against such a charge is TRUTH - ie the content was true. However, even if you know something to be true, it may be difficult to prove in court.
Make sure that what you upload is legitimate and true. Falling foul of libel and defamation laws will have serious financial implications.
Court Orders, Reporting Restrictions, and Contempt
Please ensure awareness of the laws regarding court reporting in different countries and jurisdictions. For example, once a case is active in the UK, it is illegal to report any details of the case before a trial begins. Even then, only what is said in court is reportable.
Also, be aware that judges often issue ‘orders’ before and during trials. These orders may contain specific reporting restrictions or the granting of anonymity to a witness or even the defendant. It is the reporter’s responsibility to know if an order has been made.
Failure to follow local reporting restrictions or orders from the judge can result in a charge of criminal contempt. This is punishable with a large fine or even imprisonment.