The use of social websites such as personal blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and others alike, is increasingly becoming part of daily life, and part of the future plans of the Al Jazeera America (“AJAM”). It is also important to recognize that AJAM staff regularly use online social networks in their personal capacity. However, when an employee chooses to clearly identify his or her employment by or association with AJAM in connection with his or her personal use of social media, that employee becomes a representative of AJAM and, accordingly, is expected to observe the guidelines set forth below (“Guidelines”).

These Guidelines are designed to assist you in making responsible decisions when creating, posting, contributing to blogs or otherwise engaging in social networks, wikis, virtual worlds or other social media. Whether you use external sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest or Wikipedia or internal sites – or comment on blogs or any form of digital media – these guidelines are for you. Any individual who chooses to publicly identify herself or himself as employed by or otherwise associated with AJAM has an obligation to preserve AJAM’s reputation for fairness and impartiality. The intention of these guidelines is not to infringe on the rights of any AJAM staff; in fact, except with respect to Editorial and managerial staff, these guidelines apply only to activities in which staff members who choose to identify themselves in their private social media lives as associated or affiliated with AJAM.

The Guidelines are derived from the AJAM Code of Ethics, the AJAM Code of Conduct and the AJAM Employee Handbook, which we urge you to consult and review regularly. These Guidelines clarify and supplement the policies set forth in those sources they do not substitute for or supersede any provision thereof.

As with all AJAM policies, we expect our employees to comply with these Guidelines. Violation of these Guidelines may form the basis for disciplinary action, up to and including termination. These Guidelines shall be administered in accordance with applicable laws and regulations. 

I. Definition of Social Media:

These Guidelines apply to all digital communications and websites including, without limitation, websites such as, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Instagram, Youtube, LinkedIn, internet chatrooms, personal blogs, comment features on third party web sites and such other digital platforms permitting or authorizing the distribution of written, audio, visual or audiovisual communications to the public or to any defined subset thereof. 

II. General Principles:

When identified as an AJAM staff member or associated with AJAM, employees shall refrain from the following:

  • Engaging in activities on the Internet which are unlawful (including, without limitation, activities which infringe on the intellectual property, privacy or other rights of any other person or entity) or which undermine the credibility of AJAM by virtue of the employee’s relationship to Al Jazeera, thereby bringing AJAM into into disrepute;
  • Disclosing Confidential Information (as that term is defined in the Code of Conduct). In that connection, you must remember that communications via social media are subject to each site’s terms of service, which may expose such communications to subpoena or other legal process when they might otherwise be protected;
  • Using speech that is unequivocally racist, sexist, homophobic, profane, pornographic or which constitutes harassment directed toward any legally protected class of people;
  • Including or referencing any personally identifiable information (other than names) of third parties;
  • Attacking unfairly or unreasonably any of AJAM's employees (past or present), viewers, suppliers, consultants, agents or reporters.
  • Engaging in any conduct that could actually or appear to compromise or impair the impartiality or integrity of AJAM. In discussions about news and current affairs, AJAM's Code of Ethics should be kept in mind at all times and an unbiased view maintained unless it is explicitly clear by way of disclaimer that they are not AJAM's views through the inclusion of a statement to that effect.
  • Using the AJAM logo in relation to one’s profile picture or any other identifying feature.
  • AJAM may direct the removal of any communication made in violation of these Guidelines, in addition to any other remedies for such violations set forth herein. 

III. Editorial And Management Guidelines

The editorial and management teams are among the most visible members of our organization and therefore bear an even greater responsibility to ensure the credibility and integrity of AJAM. Accordingly, whether or not Editorial or Senior Management employees choose to identify themselves as employed by or affiliated with AJAM (and in addition to the foregoing Guidelines):

  • Editorial staff and all Senior Managers should not be seen to support any political orientation or ideology. If, for example, and Editorial employee chooses to “friend” or link to a source on one side of a debate, that employee should do the same with respect to a source on the opposing or differing sides;
  • Editorial decision makers and senior management must avoid including any political affiliations on social websites, must not take a public stance on issues or disputes affecting the public interest, and must not use their positions at AJAM to promote personal agendas or causes;
  • The expression of views via personal social media shall be subject to the same journalistic standards that apply to one’s professional work for AJAM, requiring sourced support and foundation;
  • Accounts used for personal use cannot be promoted on any AJAM platform. 

IV. Use of social networks on behalf of AJAM

  • An employee is not allowed to speak on behalf of AJAM on any online platform without the approval of the Chief Executive Officer who, under certain circumstances, may elect to delegate such approval authority
  • Employees must identify themselves as being from AJAM if they are using any social networks for work research in any way.
  • Staff who use social networks for work purposes must separate their work and personal accounts. 

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