Swarajya Code Of Conduct

This code is designed to provide all employees of Swarajya with guidelines for appropriate professional conduct.

Please remember: Swarajya’s reputation is its most important asset, and anything that damages that reputation damages both Swarajya and all of us. The matters addressed by this code are sufficiently important that any lapse in judgment within the areas covered here may be considered serious enough to warrant disciplinary action up to and including dismissal.

What We Stand For

In our society, the press enjoys a remarkable degree of freedom. With that freedom comes the responsibility to practice our craft in accordance with the highest standards, to be accountable for what we publish, and to avoid conflicts of interest.

We will strive to fulfill these responsibilities. And with good reason. Otherwise, we could lose our most important asset: the trust of our readers, online visitors, viewers, and listeners in the credibility of the information and insights we provide.

We believe that our future depends upon preserving and enhancing this trust. Therefore, we must ensure that:

  1. Our integrity is of the highest calibre.
  2. Our professional conduct is unassailable.
  3. Our personal conduct, as it reflects on Swarajya, is beyond reproach

All members of the Swarajya staff must uphold these principles.

Here are the rules by which we must live:

INTEGRITY

Church and State

Unquestionable integrity is at the heart of our effort to serve our audiences with the best journalism in the world. One way we achieve this is to strictly observe an invisible wall that separates our editorial operations from our advertising and other business departments, so as to avoid any chance that one will inappropriately influence the other.

In every medium, our reporters, editors, and producers prepare and place stories, graphics, and interactive features based solely on their editorial merits. Thus, we treat companies that advertise with us exactly the same as those that don’t. We don’t favor any company or subject of a story, or discriminate against any — for any reason.

Honesty

As an institution, Swarajya will always be an independent voice, with no axe to grind. We do not support political candidates or political parties. We are not Keynesians, monetarists, or supply-siders. On all matters of politics, economics, and social policy, we try to bring our own judgment to bear, based on thorough reporting and reasonable analysis. We do not do stories that are designed to hew to any ideological agenda other than our belief in free markets, free people, cultural rootedness and free societies.

Fairness

Because we do analytic journalism and commentaries, we do not strive for perfect objectivity. But we must always strive to be fair.

Corrections & Amplifications Policy

We will adhere to a zero-tolerance policy in terms of correcting our errors. We will clearly communicate to all our readers the best way to reach us so we can promptly correct our mistakes. If we are aware of a mistake, we will correct our stories irrespective of whether a correction is being sought so that databases don’t contain uncorrected stories.

POLITICAL AND CIVIC ACTIVITIES

Swarajya does not contribute, directly or indirectly, to political campaigns or to political parties or groups seeking to raise money for political campaigns or parties. All employees should refrain from partisan political activity judged newsworthy by the Editor. Other political activities (including “issue oriented” activity) are permitted, but should not be inconsistent with this code.

On the other hand, it is not the intention of Swarajya, or of this code, to dissuade employees from participating actively in civic, charitable, religious, public, social or residential organizations. Such activities are permitted, and even encouraged, to the extent that they:

Do not detract from performance or effectiveness at work; Do not, by their extensiveness, cause the company to subsidize or appear to subsidize the activity; and Do not otherwise violate this code. In the event that a conflict arises or may arise between an outside organization with which an employee is affiliated and the interests of Swarajya, the employee should refrain from participating in the conflicting or potentially conflicting activity.

No Swarajya employee should permit his or her Swarajya affiliation to be noted in any outside organization’s materials or activities without the express written approval of a member of senior management or unless of course the employee serves as a representative of Swarajya or unless the affiliation is noted as part of a broader description of the employee’s identity.

PERSONAL CONDUCT

  1. You may not use your Swarajya affiliation — including your business card or business stationery — for personal advantage in any way. Period.
  2. You must avoid high-profile roles in the public spotlight, including in political campaigns (avoid marches and demonstrations, for example) or in fundraising that could associate the Swarajya name with your personal causes or beliefs.
  3. You should never endorse a product, with the exception of the one for which you work.
  4. As long as you are an employee of Swarajya, you must keep in mind that you are always representing the company and could be under public scrutiny. Your behavior at all events should be exemplary and you will also present yourself, in terms of what you wear and how you behave, in a manner consistent with the event, setting and people you are meeting. As a representative of Swarajya, you will be required to exercise sound judgment in matters such as consuming alcohol at press or public events that you are attending as a representative of Swarajya. Please remember that as a member of the media, you will achieve certain name and face recognition as part of your job and that your behaviour outside work will inadvertently reflect on your organization.
  5. Swarajya takes all sexual harassment issues very seriously.

ACCOUNTING AND FINANCES

It is essential to the successful operation of Swarajya as a business, and to the preservation of investor confidence in the company, that the integrity of our books and records be resolutely maintained. The responsibility for this does not rest exclusively with accounting or other financial personnel–we all share it.

Accordingly

  1. No Swarajya fund, asset or liability which is not fully and properly recorded on the company’s books and records shall be created or permitted to exist;
  2. No transaction shall be effected and no payment shall be made on behalf of Swarajya with the intention or understanding that the transaction or payment is other than as described in the documentation evidencing the transaction or supporting the payment;
  3. All employees shall comply with Kovai Media’s accounting principles, procedures and controls, and no false, artificial or misleading entries in any books or records of the company shall be made for any reason whatsoever including expense records related to travel, telephones and other reimbursements sought from Swarajya.
  4. No employee will issue or authorize anyone else to issue any company document that is false or misleading;
  5. No employee will knowingly accept and treat as accurate any false or misleading document prepared by a person not employed by Kovai Media; and
  6. No employee will knowingly make any false or misleading statements to our external or internal auditors. Indeed, when questioned by any auditor, all employees should be fully forthcoming.

SOCIAL MEDIA POLICY

A number of Swarajya employees have personal accounts on social networking and micro-blogging sites (like Facebook or Twitter) and may also maintain personal blogs.

Use of these sites is certainly permitted, and Swarajya realizes that these sites can be useful ways to gain information pertinent to the work we do. But it is important that employees not use such sites in any way that could compromise Swarajya‘s impartiality, editorial integrity, or code of conduct.

In general:

  • Employees should not engage in activities on the Internet, which might bring Swarajya into disrepute.
  • They should not use the Internet in any way to attack or abuse Swarajya colleagues, whether by name or in general.
  • They should not post derogatory or offensive comments on the Internet.They should stay away from trolling, flame-baiting and making snide remarks. They may not indulge in arguments using an unfriendly tone with our readers.
  • If an employee is recognized to be an employee of Swarajya (either via byline or any other way), their personal blog/ Twitter account / online profiles should include the following (or an equivalent) disclaimer: “The views expressed herein are the author’s own, and do not reflect the opinions of Swarajya in any way.
  • Any content / document that resides purely within the Swarajya system/ network should not be posted online (for wider access) without the written permission of a reporting manager.

On using social media sites

In addition the following general online behaviour guidelines as outlined below:

Staff should never indicate a political / corporate / religious allegiance on social networking sites, either through profile information or through joining political / corporate groups. This would mean not openly supporting the Congress or the BJP; or not openly supporting Mukesh Ambani versus Anil Ambani. The weight of such opinions could be misconstrued to indicate biased coverage – and whether that is true or false, that misconstruction should not be allowed to exist.

Staff should also be careful about joining campaigning groups. They should discuss this in advance with their reporting manager.

Staff members are free to link to/ play up Swarajya content on their Facebook (or other social media) pages as long as it is done without commentary or conflicting opinions.

Most social networking sites allow photographs, videos and comments to be shared with thousands of other users. However, it may not be appropriate to share work-related information in this way. For example, there may be an expectation that photographs taken at a private event will not appear publicly on the Internet, both from those present and perhaps those not at the event. Swarajya may also have objections to such content appearing online.

Above all, please remember:

Social networks encourage fast, constant, brief communications; journalism calls for communication preceded by fact-finding and thoughtful consideration. Journalism has many “unsend” buttons, including editors. Social networks have none.

Everything we say online can be used against us in a court of law, in the minds of subjects and sources and by people who for reasons of their own may want to cast us in a negative light. While, obviously, we cannot control what others may post on our accounts, we must maintain constant awareness when posting to Facebook, Twitter and other online fora that we are flying without a net, and that an indiscretion lasts forever.

At all costs, we must avoid flame wars, incendiary rhetoric and loose talk.

Penalty

Any breach of the above social media guidelines by Swarajya employees and contractors will lead to an official warning. Punitive action, which may include termination of employment or suspension of contracts, will be initiated against employees and contractors who receive three or more warnings due to breach of the above guidelines.

COMPLIANCE WITH THIS CODE

Swarajya takes this code of conduct very seriously.

All employees of Swarajya are responsible for compliance with all aspects of this code. All new employees shall be required to read this code at the outset of their employment, and to attest in writing that they have done so; all Swarajya employees shall be required, at the time this code is first promulgated, to read it and so attest.

Any employee having a question about a possible violation of this code by that person or any other person, or in connection with any practice, should discuss it with his or her supervisor. Every effort will be made to maintain the confidentiality of such discussions.

Swarajya is committed to this Code. At the same time, we realize that no document can anticipate all possible circumstances that may arise in the future.

When in doubt, please ask.

It may be necessary, from time to time, to clarify this set of rules or to modify them. The Editor or the CEO, as necessary, will decide on any clarifications, exceptions, or modifications to this Code. We expect, however, that clarifications will be rare, and that exceptions will be narrow.

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