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Our Editorial Values

Our audiences trust us and they expect us to adhere to the highest editorial standards. The reputation of our brand is based on the editorial independence, integrity and high journalistic standards of our output.

We have a right to freedom of expression, protected under the European Convention on Human Rights and the Human Rights Act 1998. This freedom is at the heart of the The Common Sense Network’s independence. Our audiences have a right to receive creative material, information and ideas without interference. But our audiences also expect us to balance our right to freedom of expression with our responsibilities to our audiences and to our contributors, subject to restrictions in law. We operate in the public interest – reporting stories of significance to our audiences and holding power to account. In our journalism in particular, we seek to present different sides of a debate, establish truth, using the highest reporting standards to provide coverage that is fair and accurate.

Our specialist expertise provides professional judgement and clear analysis. We are impartial, seeking to reflect the views and experiences of our audiences – so that our output as a whole includes a breadth and diversity of opinion and no significant strand of thought is under-represented or omitted. We are independent of outside interests and arrangements that could compromise our editorial integrity. Our editorial standards do not require absolute neutrality on every issue or detachment from fundamental democratic principles.

Free speech enables the exchange of information and ideas without state interference. It helps to inform public debate – encouraging us to be curious, engaged and critical. It allows, for example, dramatists, satirists and comedians to comment on the world around us. However, freedom of expression is not an absolute right – it carries duties and responsibilities and is also subject to legal restrictions and limits.In exercising freedom of expression, we must offer appropriate protection to vulnerable groups and avoid causing unjustifiable offence. We must also respect people’s privacy – only putting private information into the public domain where the public interest outweighs an individual’s legitimate expectation of privacy. We have a particular responsibility towards children and young people and must preserve their right to speak out and be heard. Where they contribute to or feature in our output, we must take due care to ensure that their dignity and their physical and emotional welfare are protected.

The Public interest

Our Editorial Values specifies that we must ‘act in the public interest’. It is in the public interest to fulfil our mission to produce output to inform, educate and entertain. There is no single definition of public interest, but it includes freedom of expression; providing information that assists people to better comprehend or make decisions on matters of public importance; preventing people being misled by the statements or actions of individuals or organisations. The public interest is also served in exposing or detecting crime or significantly anti-social behaviour and by exposing corruption, injustice, significant incompetence or negligence.

Our Voice

The Common Sense Network is an independent news outlet. We were founded by 500+ ordinary people who saw a problem with the mainstream media and did something about it. This means we are not solely driven by profit margins or vested interests. We are a platform kept alive by our community who we exist to serve. In a digital age, where the news cycles move at dizzying speeds, news has become noise. The Common Sense Network is a platform our readers visit to discover stories that matter. To discover stories from across the political spectrum, local stories, stories that hold power to account, that uncover wrongdoing, that empower the forgotten and the unheard. We are on a mission to build the broadest coalition of diverse commentators in the UK. Our articles are well researched, well written and straight-talking. We remain committed to providing multiple perspectives on issues because we believe, there are two sides to every story….

Complaints

We are open in acknowledging mistakes when they are made and want to learn from them.

If you have a complaint or clarification please email hello@tcsnetwork.co.uk

In the first instance, complaints or requests for clarification or correction will be reviewed by our team and where necessary referred to the relevant editors for their consideration. Complaints from outside our membership, for example from someone who has been the subject of one of our pieces, will be referred directly to the managing editor. In all cases a response will be sent within 48 hours of receipt unless it has arrived on a Friday, in which case the response will be sent by the close of business on the following Tuesday.

More serious complaints, including all legal complaints, will be automatically and invariably referred to the Editor in Chief and acknowledged within 24 hours. The editor will then consider the complaint in the light of our code of practice before taking appropriate action if deemed necessary.

If the managing editor decides there are grounds for complaint, she or he will notify The Common Sense Network complaints Board for further consideration.

The board will have four members: the relevant editor, a nominated Common Sense Network member chosen on an annual basis, another editor not party to the complaint, and our Editor in Chief

The board will be convened will meet within 10 weeks of the original complaint, either in person or by conference call. If it is deemed necessary by the board, the editors or contributors concerned will be required to attend or make written submissions. The board’s decision and any sanctions required will be final and binding on the Editor in Chief

Sanctions may include the publication by The Common Sense Network of appropriate corrections or apologies, amendment or withdrawal of relevant material, and, in very serious cases, the ability to recommend disciplinary action.