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Editorial Guidelines and Code of Practice

Macao News is a wholly-owned brand of Ruca Limited, a company incorporated in Macao (“Ruca”). All operational and managerial processes for Macao News are integrated within Ruca’s organisational structure and subject to Ruca’s overarching policies and procedures. However, in editorial terms Macao News operates autonomously.

This document establishes the values that govern the journalism of Macao News. Its overriding principles are:

  • Earning and retaining the trust of our readers at all times, without which we cannot maintain our position as Macao’s leading English-language digital news platform
  • Serving and informing the Macao community of which we are an inseparable part

This document is applicable to all contributors associated with Macao News.

We are using the broader term “contributors” to refer to anyone who writes, edits, photographs, produces videos, creates visuals and graphics, handles social media or in any other way contributes to the platform’s content. It includes staff, freelancers, sub-contracted agencies and consultants. 

The narrower term “staff” refers to full-time or part-time employees of Macao News.

Periodic reviews of this editorial code of practice will be conducted to ensure its relevance and appropriateness in light of a rapidly changing cultural and media landscape.

We also invite our contributors and readers to hold us accountable. Contributors should share concerns with editors at any time. Readers are encouraged to report any violations to [email protected].

By fully adhering to this code, our contributors will safeguard the standing of Macao News and their own reputations.

1. Accuracy and impartiality

Truthfulness is our organisation’s paramount value. Contributors must:

  • Provide a truthful and impartial account of the news
  • Use only reputable primary and secondary sources
  • Verify information together with editors before publication 
  • Avoid graphic, sensationalised, salacious or hyperbolic language
  • Promptly deal with inaccuracies and corrections
  • Clearly distinguish facts from conjecture and opinion
  • Avoid personal bias
  • Seek a multiplicity of views in the course of reporting

Macao News will not distort information through misleading headlines, images, videos or social media posts.

2. Transparency and conduct

As part of our open and accountable processes, contributors are expected to:

  • Always identify themselves and clearly state their purpose when approaching subjects for a story
  • Avoid deception or pretence  
  • Use anonymous or pseudonymous sources only after consultation with their editors, who will carefully weigh the nature and value of the information provided
  • Properly cite and credit all information, including quotes acquired from secondary sources
  • Avoid reporting on friends, family members, or other people with whom they have close personal connections, and to make full disclosure if this could occur
  • Excuse themselves from an assignment in the event of a conflict of interest
  • Make editors aware if any political, commercial, religious, or other affiliation that may affect their coverage of a story

Instances of plagiarism, deceptive behaviour and nondisclosure will be viewed with the utmost seriousness.

3. Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Contributors undertake to Macao News that all content is original work and not produced by AI.

We acknowledge the dramatic growth of generative AI and the opportunities it holds for many forms of creative production. However, for the time being, we consider the technology to be too fraught with risk to be used in the ordinary course of journalism due to concerns regarding the potential for generating misinformation, bias and the challenges in ensuring the accuracy and reliability of the sources from which the AI learns information.

Macao News will carefully consider sparing cases where an argument may be made for the use of AI – such as in the creation of conceptual illustrations – and, in such cases, will clearly label the work as such.

4. Interactions with the public

Decency, sensitivity and respect shall govern the relationships between contributors and members of the public, whether interactions are in person or online. 

In the course of their work, contributors will not:

  • Intrude into anyone’s personal correspondence, private and family life, home, health or any other areas to which an individual has a right to, and expectation of, privacy
  • Publish any sensitive material without an individual’s full understanding and consent
  • Harass anyone who has refused to be interviewed or give comment, whether through repeated phone calls and emails, physical approaches or any other means
  • Intrude into anyone’s distress, grief or shock, except after discussion with an editor and then only do so with great sensitivity
  • Interview a minor without that minor’s caregiver or other responsible adult (such as a teacher) present, and only then with an editor’s approval
  • Break promises to keep material “off the record” except in the matter of criminal liability or grave public interest 
  • Compromise the confidentiality of a source

Macao News will not publish photographs or video of anybody under 18, unless we have the signed consent of a caregiver. 

In all cases, members of the public will be treated with respect and consideration. 

5. Diversity and sensitivities

Macao News does not have prejudice for or against any race, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion, age, nationality, neurodivergence, neurotypicality, disability, mental condition, physical condition, or any other expression of human diversity. Such details will not be referred to unless they are relevant to a story.

Contributors are expected to reflect a multiplicity of perspectives and views in their reporting and must avoid stereotyping, “othering,” using discriminatory language, or giving offence – especially to marginalised individuals, groups or communities. “Who could this harm?” is a question we must continually ask during our work.

Macao News does not have any political or religious affiliations. 

6. Right of reply, corrections and third party approval

Every person or organisation mentioned in content produced by Macao News shall have the right of reply.

They should be given this right while reporting or other information gathering is taking place, however their inability or unwillingness to exercise it at that time shall not prejudice their doing so later, when the article, video or other content has been published.

Any factual errors brought to the attention of Macao News will be rectified promptly and a correction will be appended to the story or content in question.

It is permissible for contributors to share transcribed quotations with a third party for their approval. However, third parties must not be allowed to approve the text of a story except in exceptional circumstances that have clear benefit – such as when an expert offers to review an article containing technical, scientific or other specialised information. In such cases, editors must give approval.

7. Social media

The same principles governing editorial content produced by Macao News shall apply to its social media accounts.

Staff are also expected to conduct their personal social media accounts with similar standards of decency and integrity, and to clearly distinguish their opinions from any editorial content they may be sharing. Staff are asked to remember that they are ambassadors of the Macao News brand as much online as they are in person.

8. Expectations of coverage

Contributors must not, under any circumstances, promise coverage to a third party. Editorial coverage is determined only by the publisher and editors of Macao News, who will not be bound by any external agreements made by staff or contributors.

Macao News will also not be held to any undertakings to produce a story within a given time frame and reserves the right to cancel any story or interview at its sole discretion.

9. Media and speaker appearances

Contributors who are invited to give interviews to other media organisations in their Macao News capacity must seek the prior approval of the editors. The same applies to invitations to appear on panels, moderate discussions at conferences, address gatherings, and so on.

10. Laws 

Macao News and its contributors shall at all times abide by the laws of Macao.