We publish our Policies, Ethics & Best Practices guidelines as part of HKFP’s commitment to credible, ethical and independent journalism. First adopted in March 2020, and expanded in December 2023, these evolving policies underpin all of our reporting practices. We share them publicly in the interests of transparency and accountability. HKFP wishes to thank AFP, who allowed HKFP to use their guidelines as a basis for our first draft, and the Trust Project for helping expand them. This page is maintained by HKFP director Tom Grundy.
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HKFP is proud to have gained The Trust Project hallmark – the first global transparency standard that proves a news outlet’s commitment to original reporting, accuracy, inclusion, and fairness. Learn more.

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HKFP has an impartial stance, transparent funding, and balanced coverage guided by an Ethics Code and Corrections Policy. We meet 100% of Newsguard’s credibility criteria.

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Mission & Coverage Priorities:

Founded in 2015, HKFP’s mission is to be the most credible, impartial and independent news outlet on Hong Kong affairs, and to help safeguard press freedom in the city. We seek to amplify the voices of the voiceless whilst bridging the gap between the Chinese and English languages.

We prioritise Hong Kong matters in our coverage, followed by China, Taiwan and Macau. In our coverage, we give special attention to under-represented, underprivileged or marginalised communities, such as reporting on issues facing low-income, ethnic or sexual minorities. HKFP has nine full-time staff – half of our audience is Hong Kong-based, whilst the rest reside overseas.

10 Guiding Principles:

  1. HKFP will ensure the safety of staff and freelancers as a guiding, overriding concern in all of our work.
  2. HKFP will provide accurate, balanced and impartial news coverage, and correct errors quickly and transparently, upholding our Ethics Code.
  3. HKFP will not misrepresent information or quotes and will report truthfully. We will be transparent about our sources of information. We will never submit a story to a source for vetting.
  4. HKFP is answerable to only readers – our independence means we are able to resist censorship and self-censorship. As such, our language must be free of bias, influence and prejudice.
  5. HKFP should honour the trust of our sources and protect their confidentiality. We will seek their informed consent and never knowingly jeopardise their safety.
  6. HKFP should respect the presumption of innocence.
  7. HKFP should take care when dealing with victims or relatives who are grieving to avoid further trauma. We will seek parental consent when interviewing and taking photos of children.
  8. HKFP staff and freelancers do not use subterfuge or manipulation, nor violate privacy, to gather news. An editor may, however, approve an undercover investigation in light of safety reasons or the public interest. We will identify ourselves as HKFP journalists unless in exceptional, pre-approved circumstances or if there is a risk to safety.
  9. HKFP does not pay sources or use information gathered for personal benefit or financial gain.
  10. HKFP should be as transparent about our funding as possible. We will retain reserves to ensure the longevity of HKFP as a permanent fixture in the media landscape in the face of legal or existential uncertainty.

Best Practices:

Actionable Feedback

  • Our readers are frontline witnesses to life in Hong Kong – public safety, politics, housing, social issues, schools, and culture – and your insights can help shape our news agenda. We invite your news tips, ideas, story or source suggestions, corrections, enquiries or complaints. We believe that news organisations have a responsibility to engage with the public on the values, issues, and ideas of the day and that we have much to gain in return. View our contact channels here.

Bylines and Datelines

  • In the interests of transparency and accountability, all of our news reports carry the reporter’s name, biography and a headshot – or a joint byline if two journalists were equally involved. If there are uncertainties relating to safety or security, we may obfuscate the reporter’s name with the use of an HKFP staff byline. If a report was a team effort, we will state their names at the top of the article. If a colleague had a minor role in a report, we will add their name at the bottom as “additional reporting.” (See also: Anonymity.)
  • All of our on-the-ground reporting is generated in Hong Kong. As Hong Kong is a city-state, and since HKFP has no staff or bureaus elsewhere in the world, we do not include datelines.

Diversity Statement & Staffing:

  • HKFP values inclusion and diversity – both in the newsroom and in our output – as part of our adherence to fair, balanced and accurate coverage.
  • These values are in-keeping with our commitment to amplify voices from under-represented, underprivileged or marginalised groups, and our staff and freelancers are encouraged to seek out stories faced by these communities. In 2022, HKFP’s efforts were recognised with a Google News Equity grant.
  • For instance, when we collect on-the-ground opinions from the public, our reporters seek to balance voices from different age groups, genders and ethnic backgrounds. Reporters also have access to a database listing female and non-binary sources to help ensure more gender diversity in our daily reporting and features.
  • HKFP has no tolerance for any forms of discrimination, prejudice or bullying – all freelancers, contractors, job applicants, full and part-time staff are treated with respect, fairness and dignity. We do not make recruitment or promotion decisions, nor do we discriminate, along the lines of age, gender or sexual orientation, religion, race, pregnancy or marital status. As a newsroom, hiring decisions are based on ability, language skills, past experience and performance, the role’s stated requirements, and our recruitment tests and interview.
  • Our journalists require English and Cantonese fluency, whilst all staff require permanent residency (i.e. we are unable to obtain visas for foreign applicants) . Coupled with the fact that Hong Kong is a 91.6 per cent ethically Chinese city-state, our staff generally have a Chinese ethnic background.
  • HKFP publicly encourages job applications from candidates from minority backgrounds.
  • Currently, 55.5 per cent of our staff are female, whilst 44.5 per cent are male. 77.7 per cent of our staff speak Cantonese, English and Putonghua, whilst 22.2 per cent speak an additional language. The current age range of staff is 23-40. At least a quarter of our staff come from a modest socioeconomic background.
  • Since our founding in 2015, HKFP has employed nationals of Hong Kong, mainland China, the UK, India, Taiwan, Canada and Malaysia.


News Agencies

  • HKFP carries news agency copy from Agence France-Press (AFP), which describes itself as “a leading global news agency providing fast, comprehensive and verified coverage of the events shaping our world and of the issues affecting our daily lives.” HKFP relies on AFP, and its international bureaus, to cover topics we cannot. Their articles appear under the AFP byline. When AFP name their reporters (such as in longer feature pieces) or include a dateline, we will ensure they are included at the top of the article in bold/italics.

Ownership, Funding and Structure:

  • HKFP is solely owned by Hong Kong Kong Free Press Limited – a non-profit limited by guarantee company registered in Hong Kong on February 18, 2015. The public-facing website launched on June 30, 2015. HKFP relaunched and professionalised in March, 2020, adopting an Ethics Code and new design.
  • Hong Kong Kong Free Press Limited is fully independent. It has no shareholders, and is not owned by any umbrella group, conglomerate or business tycoon.
  • HKFP is voluntarily registered with the government as a “periodical” in order to access government press releases and media events. To view HKFP’s listing, browse the periodicals PDF on the website of the Office for Film, Newspaper and Article Administration.
  • HKFP publishes details of its income and outgoings in an Annual Report and Transparency Report.
  • Our Transparency Report shows that we receive income chiefly from direct contributions from readers, as well as through advertising, content sales and – previously – events. The average monthly contribution from “Patrons” is around HK$200.
  • As a non-profit, all surplus is put back into the company. HKFP will also retain reserves to ensure the company’s longevity in a rapidly-changing political atmosphere, including a legal defence fund.
  • Those who contribute money or gear to our newsroom can expect their contribution to remain confidential as a matter of privacy unless they agree to publicity. Payment details, which we need to legally retain, will be stored securely as per our Privacy Policy.
  • HKFP will refuse any contributions from anyone who seeks to interfere in our editorial independence or output. We are also committed to refusing contributions from any government, aside from tax or pandemic relief measures.
  • We will only ever accept a contribution of money or gear from a grant-making body or institution if they agree in writing never to interfere in our editorial independence or output. HKFP previously accepted two grants from Google, and a microgrant from Splice Newsroom.

Privacy Policy

  • HKFP does not sell, trade, or rent users’ personal identification information to others. We may share generic aggregated demographic information not linked to any personal identification information regarding visitors and users with our partners, trusted affiliates and advertisers for the purposes of personalising or improving the user experience. For detail, read our full Privacy Policy.

Anonymity (unnamed sources)

  • HKFP strives to be as transparent as possible in our reporting, and only uses unnamed sources when we have no other way of obtaining information in the public interest. The use of anonymous sources should be an exception, not the rule.
  • HKFP will explain why we could not identify a source, and – if a pseudonym is granted – we will declare it in the first instance.
  • HKFP will share as much as possible about why we protected a source, avoiding attributing information to simply “a source.” Instead, for instance, we may refer to “a senior figure at the university familiar with the drafting of the policy,” or “a civil servant who was present at the departmental meeting.”
  • Reasons we may grant confidentiality include concerns over safety, job security, or due to legal reasons relating to ongoing court cases.
  • HKFP journalists will, otherwise, encourage sources to be fully identified. However, we may speak to some sources – especially if there are risks involved – using three levels of attribution:
    • On the record: All statements are directly quotable and attributable, by name and title, to the person making the statement. For example: “The city will shut down on Thursday owing to the typhoon,” said Hong Kong Observatory meteorologist Alex Lam.
    • Off the record: Quotes may be used without naming them in full. We may only refer to “an official with knowledge of the incident,” or can we state “a high-ranking Foreign Ministry official who attended the meeting.”
    • On background: Information is for a reporter’s use only and cannot be published. The information may not be taken to another source in hopes of obtaining confirmation, unless such a practice has been negotiated with the source.
  • The identity of sources granted confidentiality are always known to the HKFP reporter and disclosed to editors. Our team may request extra verification to corroborate their identity and the information provided. For example, we would ask that a whistle-blower at a company accused of corruption shares evidence, along with their company ID and business card via an encrypted channel.
  • HKFP journalists must request, and explain, the use of anonymous sources in advance with an editor. They will immediately report to an editor any incidents in which they may be pressured to reveal a source, or if there is a breach of confidentiality.
  • HKFP will not mislead readers into thinking an interview was conducted face-to-face when it was done electronically. In order to avoid this, we state how it was done—for example, by telephone, Skype, email or WhatsApp messenger.

Verification and Fact-checking

  • HKFP is committed to publishing accurate information. We investigate claims with scepticism; present data fairly; question assumptions; challenge conventional wisdom; confirm information with experts; and seek to corroborate what sources tell us by talking with other informed people or consulting documents. We invite readers to contact us if they spot any errors, typos or areas in need of clarification.
  • To dig out the truth and confirm information, our team may ask sources: How do you know? How can you be sure? Where is the evidence or supporting documents? Who is the source, and how does the source know?
  • We verify content – such as technical terms or statistics – against source documents, or make clear who is providing the information, linking to the source if-and-where possible.
  • Relevant components of a story – never the entire story – may be shared with a primary source, or an outside expert, to verify them.
  • We follow a strict and transparent Corrections Policy and aim to publish corrections as quickly as possible. (See also: Corrections Policy).

Ethics Code:


  • HKFP has a responsibility to the public to report the facts without deliberate omissions or selective use of material. Headlines and leads (the introductory paragraphs) should match the body of the article, and should not give a false impression of the story. Similarly, photographs and videos should not be staged or edited in a way that misleads viewers. Other multimedia, such as graphics, should be scaled correctly, and sources should be presented transparently.
  • HKFP must not passively restate material given to us; instead, we will challenge our sources and fact-check their statements. We can accurately quote a person or organisation but should highlight any inaccuracies and contradictions made in their comments.
  • HKFP must not be influenced by publicity, hype, or promotional material. We will not exaggerate information and should be conservative when using superlatives such as “best,” “worst,” “biggest,” and “smallest.” In turn, we will not downplay information that is inconvenient to our story or readers, nor ignore stories of public interest.
  • HKFP staff and freelancers must be meticulous in their reporting, including in the use of names and statistics. We have a duty to discern facts from conjecture, to ensure our readers have access to the right information. We will not report rumours or unverified information – such as online chatter – and must verify material to the highest standards.

Analysis & Opinion

  • External parties writing for our Opinion section should be mindful of our Ethics Code and Standards, must link to sources where applicable, and must ensure all of their views are backed by facts. All of our usual guidelines apply, including respect of laws such as libel, defamation, privacy, harassment and contempt of court.
  • Opinion pieces are edited before publication and writers will sent a preview.
  • HKFP is an impartial platform and does not necessarily share the views of opinion writers. We present a diversity of views and regularly invite figures across the political spectrum to write for us.
  • HKFP itself is impartial and does not express opinions, or share editorials.
  • Press freedom is guaranteed under the Basic Law, security law, Bill of Rights and Chinese constitution. Opinion pieces aim to point out errors or defects in the government, law or policies, or aim to suggest ideas or alterations via legal means without an intention of hatred, discontent or hostility against the authorities or other communities.
  • Insight and analysis are an important part of our job, but we will take care to present them in a neutral manner so as to not reflect our own viewpoint. We will seek a range of analysis from trustworthy experts and avoid relying on one speaker to fit any angle or narrative.


  • Sources are never provided with a copy of content we are set to publish.
  • We do not submit a text of an interview, or quotes for vetting and approval, but we can contact an individual to confirm or clarify quotes or factual points, and can consider requests to do so depending on the sensitivity of the story. An exception to our vetting rules is allowed when it comes to content clearly marked as “Paid Content.” (See also: Paid-for content).
  • The promise of copy approval should not be used as a method to secure interviews or information. If an interviewee requests questions in advance, only a broad idea of potential topics may be supplied at HKFP’s discretion, and any other topic may be broached.

Artificial Intelligence Tools

  • As of 2023, news stories written with generative A.I. have been proven to introduce undeclared errors or “hallucinated” content, as well as produce biased, outdated or plagiarised content. Few A.I. tools include proper sourcing or attribution information, therefore HKFP will not currently be adopting generative A.I. for any news writing, image generation or fact-checking. Nor will we quote such bots as a source. HKFP’s audience must be assured that our output is the work of our journalists and freelancers, and not created by third-party technology.
  • We may nevertheless use internally-approved A.I. tools for grammar/spell checking, for rewording/summarising existing text written by our team, and for assisting with translations, transcriptions, or for research. Specifically, we may make use of trusted A.I. tools that have been exclusively trained on HKFP’s archive, or may consult them for story/interview question ideas, or for assistance with coding, mathematical tasks or data crunching. Owing to the technology’s aforementioned limitations, we will confirm and double-check AI-generated output. (See also: Quotes and translations)

Balance and Fairness

  • HKFP strives to include balance in our news reporting, with efforts to include views from different sides of the story or political spectrum. (See also: False equivalence.)
  • HKFP reporters seek comment or reaction from individuals or entitles that are facing accusations of wrongdoing as part of their “right of reply.” A reasonable time to respond should be given – a single unanswered email or phone call is not enough. If we are unable to reach a person in time, we will say so in our story and continue to try to reach them after publication, updating the article if we obtain a reaction.


  • HKFP will deal with complaints quickly, calmly and appropriately when we believe they have some justification and a reply is warranted. (See also: Corrections Policy.)
  • Any complaint referring to potential legal issues such as libel, defamation or an infringement of the law must be made in writing. It will be handled by a senior HKFP manager.
  • HKFP will resist all requests to remove content from its archive without legal justification, except in extreme circumstances such as proven safety concerns or a court order.


  • HKFP has a responsibility to protect sources, staff and freelancers and never knowingly put them in harm’s way – this duty extends to guarding against digital surveillance and data breaches.
  • HKFP reporters will never turn over documents, recordings, pictures or videos to a third party. If they are compelled to do so by the authorities, management will seek legal advice.

Covering HKFP

  • HKFP may make reference to their our own staff in stories, but we will indicate that they work for the company.
  • Occasionally, HKFP must report on itself. With such coverage, we will apply the same standards of balance and impartiality, such as including opposing views when necessary. If a story relates to a specific staff member or freelancer, or if they are quoted, they will not write the article. We will not use anonymous sources in stories about HKFP.
  • It is acceptable to give prominence to our own winners when covering journalism awards.


  • HKFP will take special care when interviewing, photographing or filming children (individuals aged under 18) who may be unprepared for dealing with the media. We will identify ourselves and explain our purpose in language they can understand.
  • HKFP will seek permission from a parent, guardian, teacher or another responsible individual, preferably in writing. If this is impractical – such as with reports of breaking news, disasters or conflicts – reporters will judge the value of the story and inform their seniors before publishing without parental consent. Any major intrusion into children’s lives must have a sound public interest justification.
  • HKFP journalists and editors will consider whether the story will harm or embarrass children in the future and, when appropriate, take measures to obscure their identities for their protection.


  • Data mined must be thoroughly checked for accuracy and originate from a reliable source. It must be presented in a transparent and neutral way that does not indicate bias.


  • During election cycles, we will deliver impartial coverage and give voice to all candidates irrespective of personal political beliefs or democratic restrictions imposed by the authorities. The opinions or personal relationships of HKFP staff and freelancers will not influence or bleed into our work or coverage selection. Neither HKFP nor staff should openly express specific support for any candidate, including on personal, public social media accounts.
  • When HKFP quotes a candidate, we will take care not to amplify discriminatory or defamatory comments without giving the right of reply to opponents. We will challenge erroneous statistics or unverified rumours.
  • Opinion poll coverage should be restricted to respected institutions that have allocated significant resources to the study and should include information on methodology, the date and number of people interviewed.


  • HKFP is ethically obliged to honour embargoes once we agree to handle a story. If another outlet breaks the embargo or releases elements of the material under an “exclusive” tag, we are no longer obliged to comply with the embargo.


  • HKFP will not promote or endorse commercial products and interests of contributors on our platforms unless it is in our readers’ interest, or an advertorial marked as “Paid Content.” We may report on product launches in an impartial manner if they are of genuine interest but will be cautious not to blindly repeat manufacturers’ claims without checking the veracity of the statement. We will provide context and information about competitors. (See also: Paid-for Content).

Corrections Policy

False Equivalence

  • HKFP will not give false equivalence to both sides of an issue when one is demonstrably false, such as climate change denial.

Grief, Trauma and Suicide

  • HKFP will take care when reporting on personal grief, shock or trauma.
  • When reporting on death, HKFP journalists must seek confirmation from officials or an authorised spokesperson with direct knowledge of the situation. HKFP will ensure we know how the source has knowledge of the death to avoid reporting hearsay. If several trustworthy media outlets reports the death of a public figure using an identified source, we may pick up the story with approval from editors and cite the outlets. Otherwise, independent confirmation will be sought, as we seek to ensure the news is known to the immediate family first.
  • HKFP follows the Hong Kong Journalists Association guidelines on reporting on suicide. HKFP will avoid excessive detail about the method used in suicide, and will avoid publishing before official confirmation of the suicide, oversimplifying, or speculating about the reason behind it. HKFP will avoid sensationalising details in the headline or story, over-emphasising the problem of suicide as an “epidemic,” or prominently placing stories related to a suicide on our platforms. At the bottom of any story involving suicide, we will include a link to resources which support people at risk. We will not say a person “committed suicide,” which is a dated reference to when suicide was criminalised. We may instead state that a person “took their own life,” “killed themselves,” or “died by suicide.”
  • False or careless reporting on death can cause unnecessary distress. Enquiries by HKFP journalists will be made with sensitivity and publication will be handled with care. We avoid “death knocks” and will not intrude into a grieving person’s privacy unless they indicate a desire to talk.
  • HKFP will not directly or indirectly identify sexual assault victims unless permission has been granted and we are legally able to do so.
  • With stories relating to domestic violence or abuse, we will include links to support resources at the bottom of the article.
  • Live broadcasts in which situations arise that are in violation of our ethical guidelines will be immediately terminated.

Graphic Imagery

  • HKFP will consider carefully when and how we present graphic images or video. Editors will consider whether it adds to the understanding of a story, and will resist including something simply to appeal to morbid interest. HKFP will usually pixelate or exclude instances of dismembered limbs, mutilated bodies, executions, or the moment of death. We will consider whether imagery may cause distress to viewers or the victim’s family or damage the dignity of those involved.
  • HKFP will add a prominent warning for viewers if we choose to publish graphic content of a violent, disturbing or sexual nature. We may also place such content in a “click to view” enclosure.
  • Live broadcasts in which situations arise that are in violation of our ethical guidelines will be immediately terminated.

Hate Speech and Incitement to Violence

  • HKFP will be careful when repeating offensive language such as hate speech, racial slurs, derogatory comments and incitements to violence unless there is genuine editorial reason to do so – for example, when it originates from a public figure. We will put the comments into context and solicit reactions. We may warn our audience about the content of the speech.
  • HKFP does not censor profane language when, on rare occasions, it is used in the context of news reporting. However, we will obfuscate them from headlines, or on social media, where they may be accidentally encountered.
  • Live broadcasts in which situations arise that are in violation of our ethical guidelines will be immediately terminated.

HKFP Email and Devices

  • HKFP employees only use their HKFP email account for work-related correspondence unless doing so would compromise the safety or confidentiality of a source. All professional communication and interactions with HKFP software and content is carried out through a secure HKFP phone or laptop.
  • HKFP will respect the law, as to avoid lengthy, expensive legal action and reputational damage, and will not resort to illicit means such as theft, hacking or electronic surveillance to obtain information. If in the public interest, under the principles of legally guaranteed press freedom, HKFP may report on documents of a questionable legal origin such as leaked classified material with the approval of editors, but we will take care so as to not open ourselves up to potential legal action. (See also: Security Law).
  • HKFP will respect the presumption of innocence – this means we avoid suggestions that an arrested or charged person is guilty. And as to avoid being held in contempt of court, we will not suggest an arrested or charged person is not guilty.
  • Staff and freelancers will keep files, notes and correspondence relating to important stories for seven years unless an editor agrees there are safety risks involved.

Race, Religion, Sexual Orientation, Disability and Identity

  • HKFP does not mention someone’s ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation or disability unless it is pertinent to the story. For instance, we do not mention a criminal suspect’s ethnic background unless it is a relevant descriptor in identifying them.
  • However, HKFP may mention a person’s nationality, age and profession. We may also describe an individual’s appearance if part of the story – however, we will avoid using stereotypes such as “sexy” or defamatory terms such as “ugly.”
  • A person whose gender identity differs from the sex they were assigned at birth is known as transgender – HKFP will respect a person’s preferred pronouns if they indicate such a desire. We make reference to sexual “orientation,” not “preference.”


  • In a time of fast-paced digital information sharing, HKFP has a responsibility to avoid spreading rumours and will be diligent in attempting to authenticate information. When we cannot, we will state: “HKFP has been unable to independently verify the claim.” We will be careful with our language, for example, “a bystander said they saw the arrest” instead of “a bystander saw the arrest.”
  • HKFP may report on stock market reactions to rumours but should try to verify with concerned parties – for example, checking a takeover bid with relevant companies. If we are unable to do so, we will highlight that the rumour is unverified. We will take steps to protect the identities of market sources who confirm rumours as they may be liable to regulatory or legal action whilst reporters are not, though we will approach their information with the appropriate scepticism.

HKFP often works with carefully selected and relevant advertisers who wish to reach our audience or support our mission. Content which is paid-for is clearly marked in the interests of transparency, and advertisers never have any influence over our news output. As of December 1, 2023, we also disclose who, or which entity, paid for the content at the bottom of the article. We carry several types of partner content, including:

  • Banners ads: Google-managed ads, optimised by Acqua media, and HKFP-managed banner ads which run across each page of the website.
  • Shopping referral links: Referral links to companies such as NordVPN may be seen across the platforms and declared – HKFP receives a cut of any sales. (For example, see the sidebar of any news article).
  • Advertorials: Original advertorial content – which has been written by HKFP and reviewed by a paid advertiser – is marked as “Paid Content” in multiple places, including as the first word of each article. (For example.) If an advertiser supplied the content, it will be marked as “Advertiser Content. (For example.)
  • Sponsored Partnerships: Content in which HKFP has worked with a paid advertiser or donor, but had complete editorial independence, without review, is marked as “sponsored by…” (For example.)
  • Media partnerships: HKFP helps to promote key media/artistic/charitable events which are of interest to staff/readers, or that we wish to support (For example.) Paid listings will be marked as “Paid Content.”

Quotes and Translations

  • HKFP does not alter quotes or manipulate their meaning. We do not not cherry-pick or split up quotes in a way that misrepresents or decontextualises the speaker’s comments. We may contact a person to clarify any factual points or unclear comments (See also: Approval/vetting.)
  • HKFP will quote verbatim and indicate if a speaker has misspoken. We may only compensate for grammatical mistakes or speech errors by paraphrasing, or by using partial quotes, square brackets or ellipses in moderation.
  • If HKFP has translated verbal or written content from another language into English, we will declare it to readers. If we have used a translation uttered by an interpreter, we will also make this clear.
  • HKFP will take care while translating in order to convey the speaker’s meaning and tone. We cannot use interpretative flexibility to justify clumsy or inaccurate translations. If a speaker has omitted a word or made an error, we will deal with this in our translation using the above methods. If there is any room for doubt, such as gender pronouns or tenses that are absent in Chinese, we will try to clarify the quote, write around it, omit it entirely, or contact the speaker to clarify. If there are doubts over a translation, staff should consult the team as a whole.
  • Tools approved by HKFP to assist with translations are Google Translate, DeepL, ChatGPT, and Sage. (See also: Artificial Intelligence Tools.)

Science Breakthroughs

  • HKFP will take care to not hype scientific or medical “breakthrough” announcements from pharmaceutical companies or researchers as this may give false hope to audiences and rarely have an immediate impact on the condition concerned.


  • HKFP will be transparent with our sources of information and credit authors when we use their material. Press releases, government handouts, pool feeds and local media reports should be clearly identified as such. (See also: Anonymity).


  • HKFP staff/freelancers do not conceal or misrepresent their identities, unless failing to do so threatens our personal safety.
  • If a reporter believes there is a justified reason for them to go undercover, they will consult editors. In turn, editors will be understanding if a reporter is uncomfortable, or objects to, using subterfuge to obtain information on ethical or safety grounds.
  • HKFP should not record or film people with hidden equipment without their knowledge in a private setting, unless we believe it is overwhelmingly in the public interest.

Terrorism and Acts of Violence

  • HKFP may identify the suspects or perpetrators of mass shootings, stabbings, or acts of terror, but we will not give them a platform, publish “manifestos” or give elongated biographies, as such publicity may encourage further atrocities. We use the Guardian’s definition of “terrorism” as acts directed against victims chosen either randomly or as symbols of what is being opposed. HKFP will take care not to glorify or give undue prominence to murderers or other violent criminals, and ensure that appropriate coverage is given to their victims as well.

User Generated and Freelance Content

  • Should HKFP publish material – such as photos, videos or audio – submitted by a member of the public, the material will undergo our usual verification and fact-checking procedures listed on the HKFP Policies, Ethics & Best Practices page. The terms and conditions for the submission of User Generated Content (UGC) or eyewitness news are listed at the bottom of our contact page, and the content will be clearly attributed as usual.
  • Any freelance submission are, likewise, subject to all of our usual guidelines listed on our HKFP Policies, Ethics & Best Practices page, in addition to our Freelance Charter.

Staff Personal Conduct:

Conflicts of Interest

  • HKFP journalists/freelancers must declare any conflicts of interest that may influence their work to editors and, when necessary, excuse themselves from relevant reporting. Another reporter will then be assigned. This extends to covering family members or anyone with whom they have a close personal relationship.
  • Staff/freelancers may not deal in securities, shares or other investments relating to a company they have written about in the past month. (See also: Hospitality.)

Freelance Work

  • Contractually, HKFP journalists must seek permission from management before engaging in a freelance assignment – paid or unpaid. They must not accept work that affects their availability to work for HKFP, that threatens to damage our reputation, or conflicts with our ethical standards. The assignment must not be for an HKFP competitor.


  • We do not not accept hospitality, gifts or other benefits from sources or contacts – except for items of minimal value in unavoidable circumstances – as this may undermine our reputation for impartiality. Cash, or lai see, cannot be accepted in any amount.
  • HKFP reporters never use their position for their own private benefit or that of others. We must not benefit financially from information obtained nor pass on information for financial gain.
  • Occasional drinks and meals of up to HK$300 per person are an acceptable part of our profession but our staff seek to invite rather than be invited. We never pay sources for information but, depending on the circumstances, we may offer HKFP souvenirs to office visitors as a “thank you” for their time.
  • Any items loaned to reporters for review or test purposes are declared to editors and returned within 72 hours – long-term or indefinite loans are not allowed.
  • “Junkets” – such as free flights/trips from sources – are not accepted by staff. However, HKFP reporters may accept complimentary books, media tickets/invitations to events, or meals, if they directly relate to coverage of a particular story (for example a sports/music event), or are networking opportunities (for example, consulate national day celebrations.) Sponsorship of travel and accommodation is permitted if the trip relates to professional development (for example, a media conference or training opportunity abroad.) When in doubt, reporters will consult an editor.


  • HKFP’s reputation for impartiality rests upon the fair treatment of our sources and the professional reputations of our journalists. Staff/freelancers should avoid conflicts of interest and the appearance of such conflicts. Our staff/freelancers avoid all forms of activism, attending protests – even in a personal capacity, expressing support for an election candidate or party, or openly advocating a viewpoint that could bring HKFP’s impartiality into question. (See also: Freelance work; Conflicts of Interest; Hospitality; and social media policy.)

Public Speaking and Media Interviews

  • HKFP journalists who agree – with management’s permission – to speak to other news media or at events which require public speaking should adhere to the company’s rules of impartiality and fairness. We will research the reputation of a media outlet before accepting interview requests and avoid situations where our words could be taken out of context or used for propaganda. We will assume everything is on the record.
  • HKFP journalists should be careful in giving opinions that might raise concerns about our outlet’s impartiality – such as declaring support for candidates, or publicly indicating who you wish to vote for—and avoid speculation by providing analysis and facts. We will avoid defamatory or contentious statements that could damage HKFP’s reputation. We will be prepared to deal with loaded questions and must not disclose confidential information about the company.


  • We do not plagiarise and will be transparent in identifying our sources of information, whether in text, images or other multimedia. We will clearly identify and credit external material from others including interview pick-ups and media reports.
  • We will not violate copyright and use non-authorised material from third-parties. (See also: Artificial Intelligence tools).
  • HKFP journalists face disciplinary action for instances of plagiarism or patchwriting.

Safety and Security

  • The safety, security and mental health of our staff are of utmost, overriding importance. Staff have access to worldwide health coverage and mental health options.
  • Staff will follow HKFP’s internal security and safety guidelines, including those on protest safety and reporting during a virus outbreak.

Social Media Use

  • When using public-facing personal accounts, HKFP staff will adhere to the company’s social media policy and the newspaper’s principles of impartiality.
  • Personal social media bios will include a disclaimer, though readers will still judge HKFP on the basis of personal behaviour on public accounts. Racism, homophobia/transphobia, dehumanising language, insults, trolling and other forms of hate speech or bad behaviour are not allowed.
  • Our journalists will not “scoop” themselves by providing exclusive or breaking news information that we are already set to cover on HKFP, nor promote our competitors.
  • Staff will not bring HKFP into disrepute.


Types of Work:

  • HKFP clearly labels and differentiates the different types of content we publish – our ethical standards apply to all story types.
Type of content & labelDefinitionLabellingArchive page or example
News: AnalysisBased on factual reporting, incorporates the expertise of the journalist and may offer interpretations and conclusions.Labelled as “analysis.”Example.
News: ExplainerProvides context or background, definition and detail on a specific topic.Labelled as “explainer,” with a dedicated tag and archive page. Also labelled in the featured (or “cover”) image. Includes all content with the “FAQ,” “guide,” or “explainer” prefix in the headline. Example.

Explainer archive, Guide archive.
News: InvestigativeIn-depth examination of a single subject requiring extensive research and resources.Labelled as “investigative.”Example.
News: News service.Produced externally by an organisation we trust to adhere to high journalistic standards.Labelled as “news service,” content shared from Agence France-Presse states “AFP” in the byline.Example.

News: ObituaryReports a death, providing an account of the person’s life including their achievements, any controversies and reminiscences by people who knew them.Labelled as “obituary,” with a black-and-white-themed featured (or “cover”) image.Example.
OpinionAdvocates for ideas and draws conclusions based on the interpretation of facts and data.
Labelled as “opinion,” all of our op-eds include the writer’s headshot (when available) and the word “opinion” in the featured (or “cover”) image, along with a unique orange theme. They also include a disclaimer at the bottom.Example.

Advertiser ContentSupplied by an entity that has paid the news provider for its placement; not impartial journalism.Labelled as “paid content.”Example.

Sponsored byAn organisation or individual has paid to be connected to this work but did not approve or review it.Labelled as “sponsored by.”Example.
Why you can trust Hong Kong Free Press