New charter provides ethical framework for AI in journalism

On November 10th, 2023, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and 16 partner organizations unveiled the Paris Charter on AI and Journalism at the Paris Peace Forum. It provides a framework for the responsible use of artificial intelligence (AI) in journalism, guided by core ethical principles.

The Charter recognizes the potential of AI to revolutionize newsgathering, storytelling, and dissemination. However, it also highlights the challenges posed by AI, such as the risk of misinformation, bias, and opacity.

To address these challenges, the Charter emphasizes the importance of human agency, editorial responsibility, and transparency. It also calls for media outlets to adopt clear ethical guidelines for the use of AI in journalism.

Here are some of the key principles of the Paris Charter on AI and Journalism:

  • Independent evaluation: AI systems used in journalism must undergo a thorough evaluation by independent journalism support groups to ensure adherence to journalistic ethics.
  • Human decision-making: Human decision-making must remain central to all aspects of journalism, including the use of AI systems. Editorial teams must define the goals, scope, and usage conditions for each AI system and maintain oversight of its operation.
  • Editorial responsibility: Media outlets are responsible and accountable for the use of AI in gathering, processing, and disseminating information. They must ensure that AI systems are used in a way that upholds journalistic ethics and the public interest.
  • Authenticity and provenance: Media outlets must use state-of-the-art tools to guarantee the authenticity and provenance of published content. They must also clearly distinguish between content derived from real-world capture and that altered using AI systems.
  • Formal agreements and compensation: Access to journalistic content by AI systems should be governed by formal agreements that ensure the sustainability of journalism and the fair compensation of rights holders, including journalists.

For journalists, the Paris Charter on AI and Journalism is an essential tool for understanding the ethical implications of AI and ensuring that their use of AI is aligned with journalistic best practices. It can be used to develop internal editorial guidelines for the use of AI, to evaluate the ethical robustness of AI systems before they are used in news production, and to hold other media outlets accountable for their use of AI.

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