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TO OUR READERS

The editorial charter of the L'Orient-Le Jour group

The L’Orient-Le Jour group and its publications, L'Orient-Le Jour and L’Orient-Today, pride themselves on upholding independence and freedom — two values that have been at the heart of an almost 100-old history of struggle to commit to them. In order to preserve this legacy, our press work is based on respecting human values, editorial principles and standards, as well as specific rules and operational guidelines. Through this charter, we aim to define these values in order to ensure they are applied on a daily basis.

Values of the L’Orient-Le Jour Group

Our journalistic work is defined above all by the defense of the humanist values listed below:

- Defense of freedoms, and above all freedom of expression

- Defense of human rights in general, women’s and minorities’ rights in particular

- Defense of cultural and religious diversity, a pillar of society and a source of enrichment in Lebanon and the Middle East.

- Defense of the rule of law against all abuses of all types; and in this context, the defense of written texts (the Constitution, laws, etc.), and the proper functioning of institutions against attempts at blockage and destabilization.

- Defense of the independence and sovereignty of Lebanon against supranational allegiances and identity politics that undermine and weaken the Lebanese state and the Lebanese entity

- Defense of the principles of openness, tolerance and coexistence against narrow sectarian and confessionnal policies. Committing to this value applies to Lebanon and the Middle East more broadly, where these principles have been put to the test.

- Promoting the French language, since it is an integral part of Lebanese culture, at home and abroad; without in any way excluding other languages, among them Arabic and English.

- Strengthening ties with the diaspora and reinforcing the involvement of Lebanese emigrants in the development of the country.

- Defense of transparency, the right to information and the principle of accountability of any person assuming public responsibilities, with a view toward good governance and in the face of rampant impunity in Lebanon

- Promotion of sustainable development and therefore of an equitable and environmentally conscious economic and social model that generates wealth. 

Internal editorial independence

- The values that guide the editorial line of the L'Orient-Le Jour group’s publications are defined by the Board of Directors, with the participation of the management and the chief editorial staff. These values, listed above in the charter, serve as the cornerstone of the group's mission

- The chief editorial staff undertake to base their editorial line on these values

- That said, the editorial staff enjoy full independence in steering the editorial line and day-to-day production vis-à-vis the Board of Directors, management, shareholders and marketing team, which, in any case, cannot review or censor content before publication.

Rejection of political funding and the quest for financial independence

- The independence of a newspaper is based on its financial independence. OLJ and its publications belong to a group whose shareholders are aware of the need to refuse any political funding. This refusal is shared by the management as well as the editorial staff of the group:

- Apart from self-financing, only impartial technical and/or financial aid, within the framework of public cooperation, notably foreign cooperation, can be accepted, provided that it is in no case conditioned by editorial requirements.

- Financial independence also means that the group’s survival does not solely depend on the shareholders. Financial balance must therefore be a key objective of the strategies put in place, at the economic, editorial and technical levels.

Editorial standards and principles

- Seek to improve the quality of our editorial content, through a critical reading of our own production on a daily basis, and a high level of standards

- Prioritize quality, sometimes even at the expense of quantity.

- Clearly distinguish between news articles (breaking news, overviews, explainers, field reporting, interviews, investigations and analysis) and opinion pieces (editorials, commentaries, viewpoints, columns, etc.)

- OLJ is an engaged newspaper (independence does not mean neutrality). It is natural for the publication to defend its values and standpoints, particularly through opinion pieces, without undermining its objectivity.

- Make a very clear distinction for the readers between the editorial content and the content of an advertorial nature, sponsored content or content produced in partnership with an advertiser (see marketing & advertising paragraph below)

- In the context of journalistic work, the following rules are essential:

      • Information should be as honest, as objective and as complete as possible. Therefore, it is always necessary to give the floor to all the parties concerned, verify facts, cross-check sources and use quotation marks in order to constantly take a step back from what is said. Special effort is needed to clarify the role of anonymous sources. An anonymous source cannot be used to give a point of view, form a value judgment, or, worse yet, make unverified accusations. Such a source can only relay information, provide a version of events, clarify details, etc.

      • Comparing multiple sources is at the basis of the profession. An article cannot be constructed from a simple press kit, internet research, or unidentified sources. When citing surveys and studies, it is important to verify their sources and methodologies.

      • The search for counter-information is fundamental in the framework of an investigation. Journalists should be able to demonstrate that they attempted to obtain multiple points of view, ideally by keeping a written record. The subject of any accusations in an article should be contacted before publication.

      • Interviewees are strictly forbidden from reading articles [prior to publication]. They may only have access to their quotes and interviews upon request. In this case, they may only review their remarks and add small details that might further clarify their statements. They cannot, under any circumstances, erase or change [the substance of] their answers. Should they choose to do so, the editorial staff shall reserve the right not to publish the interview.

      • Right of reply:

           o Any natural or legal person has, in accordance with the laws in force, the “right of reply” which can be published in the columns and/or on the website of one or more publications of the L’Orient-Le Jour Group, if they believe they have been unfairly accused in an article by one of the Group’s publications.

          o The L’Orient-Le Jour Group reserves the right to respond to the “right of reply,” if it considers, in turn, that the interlocutor relayed unjust, erroneous or imprecise statements.

          o The “right to reply” may only be used when the content of the disputed articles or passages are exclusive to the publication(s) of the L’Orient-Le Jour group and involve a certain degree of gravity. In all other cases, especially when it comes to: 1-incorrect or imprecise information without gravity. 2-disputed information or allegations that are only quoted from other media sources by one or more publications of the L’Orient-Le Jour Group, regardless of their gravity; In these cases, the concerned publication of L’Orient-Le Jour Group shall decide, with or without consulting with the party concerned, whether or not to publish a text with a “correction”, “specification, “refutation,” or “clarification” note, as the case may be.

Editorial line and debate of ideas

- While the editors-in-chief decide on day-to-day orientations, all leanings are respected within the editorial staff, and the debate of ideas is encouraged. One-sided thinking would be in total contradiction with the aforementioned principles.

- Diversifying sources is an essential means of ensuring a variety of views with the newspaper, including in news articles.

Journalistic ethics and conflict of interest

- A journalist must refrain from using his/her position to cover a subject in which they have a personal or financial interest, or any other form of interest.

- Journalists who engage in other professional activities must notify their supervisors, who shall decide on whether or not they should be reassigned to avoid any conflict of interest or risk of collusion. 

Legal responsibility

- The chief editorial staff, with the “responsible directors,” shall be held legally responsible for all editorial production. They will therefore have to ensure, at all times, the publications' compliance with Lebanese laws in general, and with the law of printing and publications in particular, especially with regard to all matters relating to defamation. This, of course, concerns everything produced on digital media and printed editions.

Marketing and Advertising

- Advertising ethics

      • The same principles and values applied to the newsroom also govern our commercial choices (positioning and communications, partnerships, advertising, events)

      • Management, on the advice of marketing, reserves the right to refuse a business engagement that is not in line with the aforementioned values.

- Editorial independence from advertisers, advertising agencies and marketing; separation of editorial and advertising work:

      • While collaboration between editorial and marketing teams as well as advertising sales agents is recommended in advertorial work and subscription development, editorial independence remains essential to editorial production. Advertising requirements cannot influence the editorial choices of the group’s publications.

      • The editorial space and the advertising or promotional space must be distinguished, without any ambiguity, on all of the group’s media (print newspaper, digital platform, supplements or special editions). Any article that is the result of a partnership must be labeled as such explicitly and visibly, the layout of advertisement or advertorials must not lead to confusion with the editorial content. 

Signatories:

- Board of Directors

- The management committee, including the management and the editors-in-chief

Charter amendments

- This charter may be amended upon agreement between the Board of Directors and the management committee 


The L’Orient-Le Jour group and its publications, L'Orient-Le Jour and L’Orient-Today, pride themselves on upholding independence and freedom — two values that have been at the heart of an almost 100-old history of struggle to commit to them. In order to preserve this legacy, our press work is based on respecting human values, editorial principles and standards, as well as specific rules...