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The Global Press Style Guide

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aboriginal/indigenous

This is a deviation from AP Style.

Rule:

Do not use the words aboriginal or indigenous when a more precise term cannot be verified. Instead, use precise terms and descriptions to refer to languages, cultures and other characteristics specific to people who claim their ancestry in a specific place dates back to time immemorial.

Rationale:

Using precise terms to describe people promotes reader clarity and affords sources opportunities to describe themselves in distinct ways.

abortion

This is a deviation from AP Style.

Rule:

Do not use the terms pro-life or pro-choice in any instance to define abortion-related movements, policies or perspectives. Do not use anti-abortion as a synonym for pro-life, and do not use abortion-rights as a synonym for pro-choice. Instead, use precise language to describe a person’s position on this complex issue, with an emphasis on dignity, and use words that do not convey judgment or political affiliation. Add the source’s personal context where appropriate, and always include the cultural and legal context of the location.

Do not use the adjective unsafe to describe abortion under any circumstance. Instead use precise descriptions of risk, quality of care, medical complications and/or legal context when describing abortions in general or in reference to a specific patient’s medical procedure. Do not use back alley to describe abortion under any circumstance.

Rationale:

In relation to abortion, the terms pro-life and pro-choice are constructs that are not applied globally. Both terms have broader political implications related to capital punishment and euthanasia, and may not accurately capture an individual’s position on abortion alone. Precise descriptions promote reader clarity and source dignity.

Example:

While running for Parliament in Uganda, Judith Mongo was outspoken in her belief that women should have access to abortion, which is illegal in the country.

accent marks

This is a deviation from AP Style.

Rule:

Always use accent marks to accurately spell names of people and places, using any necessary or preferred characters that websites can reproduce.

Rationale:

An accent mark is a part of a complete, correctly spelled name.

al-/Al-

Rule:

Use Al-, capitalized, with the names of companies, public institutions and family names, such as Al-Jazeera or Al-Saud. Use al-, lowercase, with common nouns and with groups that have names that are capitalized but do not fall into the above categories, such as al-Shabaab or al-Qaeda.

Rationale:

Precise use of capitalization in these instances indicates a specific meaning in Arabic. A word’s meaning can change based on whether the article is capitalized.

al-Shabaab

This is a deviation from AP Style.

Rule:

Use al-Shabaab to refer to the armed group founded in Somalia.

Rationale:

This spelling more accurately transliterates the Arabic letters and their pronunciation than the often-used al-Shabab.

albinism

This is a deviation from AP Style.

Rule:

Do not use albino to refer to people who have the medical condition of albinism. Instead, when relevant, state that the person has albinism.

Rationale:

Using a source’s medical condition or biological variation as a label violates the dignity of that source.

ancestry

Rule:

Only use the term ancestry to refer to the physical bloodline or lineage of a person or group. It is an acceptable alternative to ethnicity, which this style guide bans, and more precise than the general terms aboriginal and indigenous.

Rationale:

When relevant, references to a person’s ancestry are more precise than other commonly used words, such as ethnicity or culture.

Example:

The ancestry of Zimbabwe’s Shona people is rooted in eastern Zimbabwe and areas that now form that country’s neighbors. The Shona speak a language of the same name. Read this full story from Zimbabwe in Global Press Journal here.

Animism

Rule:

Do not use Animism as a catchall word to describe paganism or other religions or spiritual frameworks that exist outside of major religions. Do not equate Animism to paganism, Voodoo or other belief systems. Animism should be capitalized, because it is a specific religious system.

Animism is a set of beliefs that attribute spirituality or a soul to plants, animals, geographic features and other nonhuman objects or entities.

Rationale:

Precise references promote reader clarity and source dignity.

anonymous sources

This is a deviation from AP Style.

Rule:

Global Press reporters pursue information on the record in every case. When on-the-record interviews and information are not possible, Global Press Journal grants anonymity to sources when naming them would likely result in danger, retribution or undue stigma. Reasons for granting anonymity are made clear to the reader. Public figures, particularly politicians, are not likely to be granted anonymity on statements or issues directly related to their public position.

Rationale:

Global Press Journal grants anonymity to sources who have demonstrated that conditions apply to warrant anonymity. Consult local laws for rules regarding anonymity.

Arab

Rule:

Do not use Arab as a general reference when a more specific descriptor can be used.

Rationale:

Using Arab alone, when a more specific word can be used, can force readers to make assumptions based on stereotypes.

armed groups

This is a deviation from AP Style.

Rule:

Do not use rebel, radical, guerilla, militant or terror group to describe organizations that use weapons to defend their expressed interests. Instead, use the term armed group, or use the specific name of the group with a description of the mandate of the group, so that readers understand the context in which the group has chosen to take up arms. When referring to a single person, use the word member, and define their relationship to the group. Do not use soldier to describe a member of an armed group.

Rationale:

Describing armed groups as rebel, guerilla, militant and terrorist groups carries bias and may be inaccurate.

asylum seeker/asylee

Rule:

Use the term asylum seeker to refer to someone who has formally applied for asylum in a foreign country. Use the term asylee to refer to someone who has received admittance into a foreign country. There are no globally-applied standards used to grant asylum. Both terms should be used in accordance with local laws in countries relevant to a story’s news value.

Note that these terms are not interchangeable with refugee or related words. Add context, including sociopolitical realities in a source’s home country and in the country where that source seeks asylum.

Rationale:

Terms related to asylum are often misapplied. Precise, context-rich references are required for accuracy and reader clarity.

attribution

This is a deviation from AP Style.

Rule:

Use says in present tense for human sources. Use according to for documents or inanimate bodies.

Rationale:

Using words other than says can imply bias and may inaccurately describe the source’s intentions.