In line with standard, international and industry-wide practice and the policies of most major respected news organizations, Al-Fanar Media does not show quotes or stories to sources before publication.
This policy is important to the editorial integrity that readers have come to expect of us. Allowing a source to see quotes before publication can create pressure on a reporter to accept revisions that tone down or backtrack on previous statements. Sources also often want to add complex jargon to quotes when they review them, when it is a journalist’s duty to make copy reader-friendly.
Most importantly, when it comes to coverage of highly controversial or politically charged topics, it is ethically dubious for a news outlet to allow sources to change their original statements. It should be stressed that our reporters are never trying to catch sources off guard or misrepresent their perspectives. We strive to deal with our sources in a straightforward, honest manner with the paramount goal of accuracy.
Sources who feel a reporter may not have understood their perspective should contact that reporter or the editors immediately to clarify their point of view. In addition, our comments section is available to all sources and readers who wish to add additional information or perspectives to our stories. We also occasionally publish letters to the editor.
Our policy is line with other international news outlets and wire services.
The Associated Press bans sending notes back to sources. “We don’t permit quote approval,” AP spokesman Paul Colford told the Poynter Institute in a 2012 e-mail. “We have declined interviews that have come with this contingency.”
The Guardian’s editorial guidebook declares a prevailing rule that no source should be allowed to approve quotes or copy. On the rare occasion the newspaper does send quotes to a source, the guidebook makes it clear that The Guardian is not obliged to make any changes if requested to do so.
The Reuters rulebook takes a similar position, stating that stories are never to be sent to sources before publication. While occasionally reporters may check quotes with sources, the rulebook stresses this is at the discretion of the reporter. Reuters says its reporters should resist such requests from sources.
This practice is not limited to traditional newspapers and newswires. New media also shun the sharing of quotes. BuzzFeed, for example, has a rule that reporters are not permitted to have quotes approved by sources.