HonestReporting Guiding Principles and Values
- We believe Israel is entitled to fair treatment by the world press according to the same standards applied to any other country.
- We believe that public opinion is significantly shaped by media coverage.
- We believe that biased coverage of Israel distorts the public’s understanding of Israel and its motives and creates an obstacle to a peaceful resolution to the Arab-Israeli conflict.
- We believe people have as much right to criticize Israel as any other state. However, when criticism turns to demonization or delegitimization, it is no longer legitimate criticism.
- We support the working definition of anti-Semitism provided by the European Union’s Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC). We note the fact that this definition stipulates that anti-Semitism “could also target the state of Israel, conceived as a Jewish collectivity.”
Principles of Fair Coverage
- We believe that the media must be accurate, balanced, transparent, and ethical. Journalists, editors, and publishers must be held accountable for slanted coverage of Israel.
- When errors occur, the media is responsible for correcting the record in a timely manner. Corrections must ensure that the average reader is properly informed about the issue.
- We believe that the media must take Israel’s official position into account when reporting on the region.
- We believe that reporters working in areas that suppress freedom of expression must indicate the limitations placed on their reports, including a qualification on the reliability of eye-witness accounts in oppressive areas.
- We believe news organizations must ensure that all employees are free of connections to terror groups or security services.
Media Distortions that Constitute Bias
- We believe that failure to provide proper context distorts an understanding of motives behind the actions described in the news.
- We believe that news articles that quote sources that criticize Israel without also quoting sources that defend Israel are inherently biased.
- We believe that Israel should be subject to the same professional standards of reporting that are applied in any other country. Placing greater emphasis on Israeli actions that are ignored by the media in other places constitutes bias.
- We believe that the inversion of chronology skews coverage of the conflict. Headlines that focus on Israel’s retaliation for an attack, and not the attack itself, give the impression that Israel is the aggressor, thereby distorting the perception of the events.
- We believe the use of photos must not distort the situation in the eye of the average reader or falsely evoke an emotional response through staging or selective cropping.