RFE/RL’s mission is to promote democratic values and institutions and advance human rights by reporting the news in countries where a free press is banned by the government or not fully established. RFE/RL’s journalists provide what many people cannot get locally: uncensored news and open debate. RFE/RL strives to meet the highest standards of objective journalism and report the facts, undaunted by pressure or attempted influence.
Based on the conviction that the first requirement of democracy is a well informed citizenry:
- RFE/RL’s independent journalism provides fair and objective news, analysis, and discussion of domestic, regional, and international issues crucial to healthy democracies and free markets.
- RFE/RL strengthens civil societies by projecting democratic and pluralistic values.
- RFE/RL combats all forms of intolerance and promotes mutual understanding among peoples.
- RFE/RL provides a model for local media, assists in training to enhance media professionalism and independence, and develops partnerships with local media outlets.
Principles of Ethical Journalism
RFE/RL’s credibility and effectiveness as a news organization depend on the trust our audiences place in our work.
We therefore strictly adhere to our principles of ethical journalism.
We are transparent about our publicly stated mission: to provide independent journalism that promotes democratic values and human rights and combats all forms of intolerance. We are supported by a grant from the U.S. Congress and serve as a “surrogate” free press in 23 countries where the free flow of information is banned or not fully developed.
At the same time, we respect and vigorously adhere to the laws that require our reporting to be professional, balanced and in line with the highest journalistic standards, despite pressures from governments and extremists.
Our goal is to provide what people in the countries we serve cannot get locally: uncensored news, responsible discussion, and open debate.
We do not regard balance as meaning neutrality regarding the truth. When one side in a debate misrepresents the facts, ethical journalism requires pointing out falsehoods and stating what is factually correct.
In our own reporting, we insist on accuracy, and clearly correct errors when they occur.
We report with humanity and endorse charity and tolerance. We respect and listen to our audiences.
We are transparent about the sources of our information. We grant anonymity only to news sources whose identity must be protected due to a clear danger of retribution and whose information is of significant importance and otherwise unobtainable. When citing confidential sources, we mention why the source insists upon anonymity and describe to the extent possible how the source is in a position to know the information in question.
We do not pay for interviews or receive payment from those we interview. This applies to all types of payments, whether cash or in-kind.
Our broadcasts and posts maintain a calm and moderate tone, exhibit civilized, reasoned discourse and promote respect for the human rights of all persons.
RFE/RL remains editorially independent from any government, political party, opposition group, émigré organization, commercial or other special-interest organization, or religious body, whether inside or outside its coverage area.
All RFE/RL employees are expected to take scrupulous care to avoid any action or relationship which results in:
- bias, partiality, or dishonesty in our content;
- use of their status with RFE/RL for personal gain;
- inappropriate preferential treatment for, or unlawful discrimination against, any person or entity;
- plagiarism or any lack of integrity in Company operations.