Content Standards

Content policies

  • Include facts that are of local political, historical, societal, scientific, intellectual or academic significance.
  • Neutral point of view (WP:NPOV) – All profiles must be written from a neutral point of view, representing significant views fairly, proportionately and without bias.
  • Verifiability (WP:V) – Material challenged or likely to be challenged, and all quotations, must be attributed to a reliable, published source. Verifiability means that people reading can check that information comes from a reliable source.
  • Original thought is restricted to the commentary section (WP:NOR) – All Open Council material must be attributable to a reliable, published source. Original thought such as new analysis or synthesis of published material that serves to advance a position not clearly advanced by the sources can only placed in the Open Council commentary section.

Open Council Journalistic Principles and Practices

Our primary directive is to collect accurate, balanced, timely and comprehensive news and information in the public interest.

Independence is a fundamental Open Council value. We will resist attempts at censorship or pressure to alter content, real or apparent.

Integrity, fairness and transparency are at the foundation of our newsgathering process. We are committed to reporting information without distortion or misrepresentation.

Getting it right is more important than getting it first.

We will not formulate content based on our own personal cultural beliefs, opinions, corporate influences or those of anyone else engaged in its preparation or delivery.

News events and public issues may be analyzed and put into context, commentary or opinion is clearly identified and kept distinct from regular news coverage.

Open Council strives to reflect the diversity of Canadian society in the selection of volunteers, behind-the-scenes editorial decision makers, and our choices of interview subjects, experts, analysts and commentators.

Factors such as race, national or ethnic origin, religion, sexual orientation, marital status, and physical or mental disability will be reported when relevant to news coverage.

We are committed to removing impediments and bans on the reporting of news in the public interest.

Clandestine reporting will only be employed when necessary to ensure the accuracy of stories in the public interest.

The Rights of the Media

The rights of the media are guaranteed in Section 2(b) of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms:

“Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms, (b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication.”

Ethical Code of Professional Conduct

The professional conduct of our members should enhance the reputation, credibility, esteem and character of Open Council and the practice of journalism. Members will conduct themselves on and off the job in such a way as to avoid any perception of bias or conflict of interest. Journalists should:

  • Remain professionally detached and fair, balanced and complete when reporting the news so as not to influence the outcome of events. This does not preclude the practice of advocacy journalism in the public interest
  • Not deliberately engage in deception or attempt to mislead sources when asked to identify themselves, except in rare circumstances of overriding public interest
  • Not deliberately deceive or mislead a source as to the context or purpose of a story to convince the source to comment or provide information
  • Honour intellectual property and copyright laws
  • Properly attribute news content from other sources and not plagiarize
  • Use confidential sources only when there is an overriding public interest and when sources legitimately require their identities be concealed When we do grant anonymity, we will disclose to the audience why we have done so
  • Not make their work available to sources or other media prior to broadcast or publication by Open Council without management approval
  • Not use official titles or positions in any attempt to leverage the authority and credibility of Open Council to resolve personal matters or obtain financial advantages not available to the public
  • Not use Open Council credentials to gain access to events they are not officially covering
  • Refrain from interviewing close relatives or friends, including freelance and contract. Exceptions would include other employees, relatives or friends who witness breaking news events
  • Obey all federal, provincial and municipal laws when conducting professional activities