Niche Area is committed to journalism that involves a responsible, honest, objective and fair pursuit of facts, without any partisan and political affiliation or allegiance to special interest groups. Our guiding philosophy is, liberal on society, liberal on economy.
We pledge to generate content that reflects and fosters the openness of public discourse outside the newsroom and also sets a benchmark for quality and integrity. We are accountable to the trust readers invest in us, by capturing the news, debate and opinion in a manner that is transparent and avoids conflicts of interest.
CODE OF ETHICS
This Code of Ethics guides and mandates public, online, professional and personal conduct expected of every employee of Niche Area. The reputation of Niche Area rests on the conduct of each of its employees.
This document is a binding commitment for all employees of Niche Area and is signed by them in acknowledgement. All non-editorial employees also acknowledge and understand this code and commit to avoid doing anything that violates its principles.
All the content that is produced under Niche Area banner (by employees, guests and contributors) must be put through the highest standards of professional due diligence, rigour, accuracy, fairness and integrity that this code demands.
This document will be periodically updated and reviewed to respond to the rapidly changing media landscape and the evolving rules of engagement in news generation and consumption.
CONFLICT OF INTEREST
Niche Area’s credibility rests on establishing uncompromising standards to avoid conflict of interest or even the appearance of conflict of interest.
No employee of Niche Area will sign a public petition unless the organisation itself is participating in the cause.
No employee of Niche Area will donate money to political parties or groups that champion political causes.
Any connections with the government, a business group or a civil society group must be avoided or reported to supervisors. Even part-time assignments or associations, whether paid or unpaid, will compromise our independence.
We must create strict walls between ourselves and the subjects we cover and avoid active involvement in any partisan causes – politics, social action, demonstrations – that could compromise our independent ability to report, write and edit fairly. Any such association that is likely to create conflict must be reported to the editors. When we attend an event that we advocate, we must represent ourselves as employees of Niche Area. We must at no point become participants. Affiliations, memberships or endorsements have the potential to damage our credibility.
We work for no one except Niche Area and any freelance assignment must have the approval of the supervisors. Writing for another publication – online or print – must be done only after permission is given. The article published elsewhere must identify the writer as part of the Niche Area group. Writing under an assumed name is prohibited.
Accepting speaking engagements at conferences and seminars – paid and unpaid – must be cleared with the Editor.
Advertisers or marketing concerns will not influence our news, analysis or opinion.
Advertisements will be marked in such a way that they are easily distinguishable from news content. Sponsored editorial features at Niche Area will be clearly labelled and will be visibly different from editorial content.
Niche Area staff will not accept expensive gifts from people in position or from people or institutions we cover. If there are gifts that appear inappropriate, expensive, or if the intention is suspect, Niche Area employees must immediately inform the Editor.
Niche Area employees must not accept favours and hospitality. Free invitations to ticketed events must be declined, unless the purpose is to cover the event or if the seat is in the press gallery. There are some exceptions like invitations to meals.
Material provided to Niche Area employees in the course of work belongs to the organisation and must not be resold. These may include books, DVDs, pen drives, gadgets etc.
Niche Area employees will not use their press credentials to get out of situations where a law is broken. Niche Area employees will not seek commercial discounts that are not available to the general public.
We must not accept preferential treatment because of the position we hold as employees of a media group.
Niche Area employees must be scrupulously free of obligation to news sources and to special interests. Our private behaviour as well as our professional behaviour must not bring discredit to our profession or to Niche Area.
Any disclosure after an alleged breach of the ethics will not be considered as a mitigating factor.
Niche Area employees must not buy or sell shares using information accessed by the organisation before it is published. Editorial employees of Niche Area will not trade in derivatives. Any shares bought must be held for at least one year and the total shareholding (including those of their immediate family, parents in case of single, spouses) disclosed every six months in a closed envelope to the supervisors.
All employees of Niche Area who cover business and financial matters are required to disclose their financial holdings and investments to the Editor-in-Chief and avoid the potential for conflict.
Niche Area will disclose any sponsorship arrangement that may also be the subject of an editorial feature.
At Niche Area, sources will be identified whenever possible. If a source is not named, Niche Area will provide a close description of the person – some kind of identification by ministry, organisation or by position, for example – in order to disclose possible prejudice.
Niche Area will also give a reason for not revealing their identity. When we agree to protect a source’s identity, it will not be revealed to anyone outside Niche Area.
No pseudonyms are to be used. We work with full disclosure of our identity, motives and methods.
Featuring tweets in an article is fine, but using private Facebook posts of others in the copy without consent is prohibited. Public posts on Facebook can be used or quoted only after consulting the Editor or in extraordinary situations.
Plagiarism is a cardinal sin. Content sourced from other media sources or organisations must be attributed and not plagiarised. Lifting text, quotes and images without attribution is plagiarism. Images will not be digitally altered without disclosure.
Employees of Niche Area cannot be members of the board of another company or foundation – for profit or non-profit entity – without the supervisor’s permission.
Niche Area will disclose any sponsorship arrangement that may also be the subject of an editorial feature. Niche Area employees must not engage in political advocacy – either as members of a political party, or an organisation concerned with political change – without the prior consent of the Editor.
Niche Area employees will send entries to award competitions only with the express approval of the Editor and disclose any likely conflict of interest in such competitions.
Invitation to an employee of Niche Area to travel out of the city/country, arranged by another organisation/business, needs to be cleared by the Editor. Any coverage based on such a trip will carry a clear disclosure that the visit was sponsored/hosted.
Content from stories, interviews, videos, Twitter engagements, Facebook Lives that employees of Niche Area participate in is the property of Niche Area. Any one intending to write or assemble a book or article based on material must first obtain consent from the Editor.
No journalist of Niche Area will obtain information by misrepresenting or hiding his/her identity. There will be no exceptions made to this rule.
Blackmailing or threatening a source to part with information or promising positive coverage in return for information is strictly prohibited.
Niche Area will not publish offensive words, profanities and obscenities unless they are germane to the article. But even then, it is the decision of the Editor.
Niche Area will also not publish offensive, biased references to a person’s religion, caste, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation or disability, unless directly relevant to the story.
Niche Area is committed to minimise and correct errors that occur. Readers who point out errors in our content must be treated with respect and thanked. When a correction is made, a line must acknowledge the error in the previous versions of the copy. Anything unfair or factually inaccurate will be duly acknowledged, with regret where called for.
FAIRNESS & BALANCE
Niche Area journalists are committed to produce content without prejudice or malice. Reporters must give reasonable time and opportunity to respond to those who are being mentioned adversely.
This Code of Ethics contains the basic guiding principles for Niche Area employees. It is a living document and will evolve over time as fresh ideas and issues emerge in the fast-changing media environment. Niche Area has drafted this after studying the principles and best practices in respected media organisations, especially the publicly stated ethical codes of The Washington Post, The New York Times, Bloomberg and The Indian Express. We acknowledge and thank these organisations.