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The Global Press Style Guide

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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.

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.

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.

African

This is a deviation from AP Style.

Rule:

Do not use continental references as adjectives to generally describe people, practice, language or culture, including art. Be precise and use specific descriptions. Similar considerations should be made for generalizations linked to other continents.

Rationale:

Continental references are never appropriate, except when referring to the continent. This rule is emphasized for Africa, because the word African is commonly used to stereotype a form of art, religion or anything else that in reality is rooted in a single place or culture on the African continent.

Example:

The gallery is devoted both to the presentation of contemporary art and to the preservation of Zimbabwe’s visual heritage. It’s also home to a collection of paintings, masks, images and sculptures, both ancient and modern, from across the continent. Read this full story from Zimbabwe here.

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.

ancestry

Rule:

Only use 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 term “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 world religions. Do not equate Animism to paganism, Voodoo or other belief systems. Animism should be capitalized, because it is a specific religious system.

Rationale:

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

anonymous sources

This is a deviation from AP Style.

Rule:

Global Press Journal 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. There are some exceptions for public figures, particularly politicians, who 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, 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.

Rationale:

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

asylum seeker/asylee

Rule:

The term asylum seeker refers to someone who has formally applied for asylum in a foreign country. The term asylee refers to someone who has received admittance into a foreign country. While asylum is generally granted on the basis of persecution or danger that a person faces in her or his home nation, there are no globally applied definitions. 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 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.