September 18, 2014


Agence France-Presse will “no longer accept work from freelance journalists who travel to places where we ourselves would not venture,” global news director Michèle Léridon writes. AFP has a bureau in Damascus. Leridon continues:

It is a strong decision, and one that may not have been made clear enough, so I will repeat it here: if someone travels to Syria and offers us images or information when they return, we will not use it. Freelancers have paid a high price in the Syrian conflict. High enough. We will not encourage people to take that kind of risk.

Léridon also lays out a nuanced position on whether AFP will rebroadcast images that originated with the Islamic State group, saying it’s a “case by case basis.” She writes:

IS videos are widely available online. Media can equally invoke that fact to justify a decision to publish, or not to publish. We at AFP feel that our job is to sort through and select from the images. That is journalism. If we broadcast something simply because it is available everywhere, we are offering no added value.

She also weighs in on the thorny question of how to refer to the terrorist group: It will be “the Islamic State group” or “Islamic State organisation,” she writes, “and as ‘IS jihadists’ in headlines and news alerts.”

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Andrew Beaujon reported on the media for Poynter from 2012 to 2015. He was previously arts editor at and managing editor of Washington City…
Andrew Beaujon

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