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Website Policy


Key Points

• All links on the Africa News Bulletin site or on the editorial pages of an Africa News Bulletin Commercial site are editorially justified.
• When audiences use the Africa News Bulletin website, they need to be confident that our decisions on links and feeds are influenced neither by political or commercial pressures nor by any personal interests.
• Our editor checks the contents of the external site before adding a link to an Africa News Bulletin page.
• To maintain impartiality, Africa News Bulletin sites that cover matters of controversy or public policy may offer links to external sites which, taken together, represent a reasonable range of views about the subject.
• When linking to any commercial site, great care is taken to avoid giving the impression that the Africa News Bulletin is endorsing a commercial product or service.

This Guidance Note is designed to assist writers and content curators to select and manage suitable external links to other sites from the Africa News Bulletin site. It is also designed to help select and manage suitable inbound feeds and other online sources of third-party content for publication on Africa News Bulletin site.

The Africa News Bulletin’s global reputation is based on its editorial integrity and independence. We ensure our audience are confident that our decisions are influenced neither by political or commercial pressures nor by any personal interests. We act not to undermine these values by any actions which could bring the Africa News Bulletin into disrepute.

The Editorial Guidelines state that:
• our impartiality, editorial integrity, and independence must not be compromised by outside interests and arrangements we must maintain independent editorial control over our content
• we do not give undue prominence to products, services, or trademarks, though we can refer to them and credit them where it is editorially justified
• the Africa News Bulletin will not accept product placement on its Public Services, and Public Services must not endorse or promote any other organization, or its products, services, trademarks, activities, or opinions.

While our Commercial Services must not promote products, services, and trademarks in their content, they can refer to another organization, its products, services, trademarks, or activities as part of a commercial arrangement. If they do, they will follow the guidelines on product placement, and on advertising and sponsorship which explain that it is not appropriate to make deals with some types of organizations.

Links to external sites
Whenever editors are creating content on an Africa News Bulletin site, they actively consider which external websites it may be editorially justifiable to link to.
Editorial justification for linking to external sites
Our editors may wish to offer links to external sites for several reasons, including:
• for further relevant information
• for further background information or other key source material
• for useful practical information
• for further informed comment

Editorial checks
Editors check the contents of the site which is signposted before adding a link to an Africa News Bulletin page, although responsibility for including the link lies with the relevant reporter.
Where this is practical, we consider ways to make it easy for our readers who find broken, stale, or inappropriate external links on the Africa News Bulletin site to report these to us so that we can check, update, replace or remove them.

Where we publish a list of links, we add the standard disclaimer to the effect that “the Africa News Bulletin is not responsible for the contents of any other sites listed”. If the links are too controversial or challenging material, it may be appropriate to add a specific disclaimer and more information, closer to the links, even when there are only one or two links on a page. For “in story” links to such material, for example to very sensitive content such as a grueling account of torture, we find it helpful to alert the user to this, in context, as part of telling the story.

Links to sites which do not share Africa News Bulletin editorial values
Context is important in deciding whether a link is appropriate and it is often useful to explain why we are offering the link. In some cases, we may offer a link to a site which does not share our editorial values, but which offers a useful insight. For example, we might link from a current affairs page to the site of a government-run national news agency so that the user can see the precise words used in a government statement.

Controversial content
We are duly impartial with our work. Africa News Bulletin sites which cover a controversial or public policy matter may offer links to external sites which, taken together, represent a reasonable range of views about the subject. We ensure that when we link to third party sites that we consider any concerns about potential breaches of the law, for example, defamation or incitement to racial hatred.
Where content is likely to cause serious offence to some users and yet there is a strong editorial justification for covering the story, it will be editorially justifiable for the Africa News Bulletin to link to the relevant site rather than to host the content ourselves.

Links to charity sites are be based on sensible editorial criteria. If one charity is in the news, we find it appropriate to establish a link to the site of that charity. But we take care not to promote one charity above another. If we are giving advice or general information about the subject and wish to refer to a charity and there is a range of charities working in the field, we normally link to the other significant charities working in the field as well.

Programme Support
For programme support pages, an external link is justified by the relevance and value of the material to the programme’s viewers and listeners. If we give a link to an outside advice agency from a support page, we give links to a reasonable range of other relevant agencies as well.
Where a consumer programme reviews a product or service, we only offer links to the sites of the manufacturers, suppliers or retailers of any goods or services mentioned where strictly editorially justifiable.

Undue prominence
There are no undue prominence of products, services, or trademarks in our content.
If in any doubt, refer to Editorial Policy.

Links to buy tickets
Africa News Bulletin programmes and sites regularly cover music concerts and tours. Linking policy to sites where users can buy tickets will depend on the nature of the event.
If it is not an Africa News Bulletin mounted or run event (and where for example an Africa News Bulletin network is simply broadcasting a concert organized by someone else) then a direct link to the relevant band’s site is likely to be editorially justifiable, with one more click from there to the ticket agency’s site.

Part 2: Inbound feeds and embeds
Pulling third-party content on to Africa News Bulletin Online pages is more editorially sensitive than linking externally. Following an external link takes you away from the Africa News Bulletin site and users have a chance to adjust their expectations in the light of that journey. But as third-party content sits with Africa News Bulletin content on Africa News Bulletin branded pages, users are more likely to expect it to have been through a rigorous editorial examination and to comply with Africa News Bulletin editorial standards before being published on our site.
Editorial responsibility
The person who is editorially responsible for the page on which the feed or embed appears will be responsible for the content from that feed or embed. This principle will apply whether it is a bespoke feed to a single page or a general feed to many pages.

Where we take in content from an external supplier, we are transparent about it with our users. Attribution should be as close as possible to the content in question.
We provide a clear and easy route for our users to report a mistake or find offensive or inappropriate content on a feed.

Embedded video, for example of a social networking site video player such as YouTube or Vimeo on an Africa News Bulletin page, may be a useful way to display editorially relevant non-Africa News Bulletin content.
Even though the content is not under our control it appears to the audience that it is part of our online content. We therefore make it clear that the embedded video is from a third-party site and give the audience a direct route to report to the relevant editorial team any inappropriate content, such as advertising, which might appear on that video.

Last updated June 2022

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