Statement of Ethics and Principles


Stories on the OWSA news website are a work of creative writing. Our stories and reports will be based on accurate information packaged unambiguously.

Truthful Reporting

Reports and features stories on OWSA present the truth clearly, completely and comprehensively. We do not fabricate anything in our news reporting or in the photographs we carry. We avoid, as far as possible, the use of fictional names, unless this is required to protect a person.

We hold our dateline sacrosanct. Names (and all proper nouns) will be spelt out correctly in the first instance.


We do not misrepresent the words, views or actions of any person, agency or institution. We do not publish quotations out of context or ambush the subjects of stories immediately before publishing.


We appreciate the hard work that goes into journalism. We understand that, at times, such work involves personal risks.

OWSA respects the creativity of professional journalists, wherever they work and will never republish their work as ours. In the event of us sourcing content from other sources, we shall do so only with the explicit permission of the original sources and all such work will be published with attribution.

We employ a zero-tolerance policy to plagiarism.


We do not misrepresent ourselves in order to report stories. We clearly identify ourselves as journalists on assignment. As far as possible, we will not engage in sting journalism.


We do not use obscenities, racial epithets or other slurs that target people’s immutable personal characteristics — unless a story cannot be told without them and they are included in a direct quotation or visual. We do not identify minor children who are accused of committing crimes or are witnesses to them. We recognise the right of people to be treated with decency.

Conflicts of interest

We do not pay sources for interviews, photographs or any other thing. We never accept anything of value or any consideration from sources in exchange for publishing stories. We do not grant favourable treatment to advertisers. Our reporters and editors do not write about public companies in which we or members of our immediate families own shares of stock or have any stake, whatsoever. If immediate family members engage in activity that would present conflicts of interest for journalists, we acknowledge it to editors — and, if appropriate, to the public.


We are a group of journalists. We are not politicians. We do not make any political donations. We do not source our funding from politicians. Yet, in the exercise of our journalistic work, we do exercise our right to examine policies of government and of political entities. We do not engage in lobbying, public relations, or paid advocacy.


We do not publish deceptive photos or other visuals. Our photographs are not altered in any material way, including blurring or eliminating backgrounds; removing “red eye”; significantly altering density, contrast, colour balance, or saturation levels; and hiding the faces of adults.

We may remove dust and scratches from digital images, crop photos, or turn colour images into grayscale. We may blur or pixelate nudity if it is acknowledged in a caption.

We avoid publishing staged, posed, or re-enacted photos that illustrate news events.

Since we will need images in the publication of our work, and since we are short of resources, we will source pictures from the commons and, in every such case, attribute the pictures to their sources.


Audio and Video

We wish to explicitly state that in the rare case of the OWSA news website displaying audio or video content, we will not edit footage in a way that results in audio or video that is deceptive or changes how a news event is factually documented. We publish audio only if it is a genuine news actuality or interview, without manipulation. We may improve the technical quality of audio and video, including by colour-correcting for white balance, eliminating extraneous noises and unusually long pauses, adjusting audio levels and equalization, and fixing technical faults. We may edit our journalists’ voiceovers.