OCCRP, Partners, Issue Groundbreaking Goals for AI and Journalism

Published: 15 November 2023

Artificial Inteligence pxfuelThe first-ever charter on AI and journalism released in Paris. (Photo: Pxfuel, License)

By Zdravko Ljubas

The Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) has helped to create the first-ever Charter on Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Journalism, which aims to define ethics and standards for journalists, newsrooms, and media outlets throughout the world to use when working with AI.

Reporters Without Borders (RSF), an international non-profit and non-governmental organization dedicated to protecting the right to information, initiated the paper, which was released on Friday, in collaboration with its 16 partners, including OCCRP.

“The Paris Charter is the first international ethical benchmark for AI and journalism,” said Christophe Deloire, RSF secretary-general. “Factual evidence, a clear distinction between authentic and synthetic content, editorial independence and human responsibility will be the primary guarantees for the right to reliable news and information in the AI era.”

In July of this year, RSF launched a committee led by Filipino and U.S. journalist and 2021 Nobel Peace Prize laureate Maria Ressa, to come up with the Paris Charter on AI and Journalism, released at the Paris Peace Forum held in Paris on Nov. 10 and 11.

Said Ressa, “Artificial intelligence could provide remarkable services to humanity but it clearly has the potential to amplify the manipulation of minds to proportions unprecedented in history…More than ever, journalism requires a sound and widely recognised ethical foundation.”

The commission gathered 32 experts from 20 different countries who are specialists in journalism or AI. They produced a  charter that establishes core ethical standards to safeguard the integrity of news and information in the AI era, when these technologies have the potential to alter the media sector.

The charter establishes 10 essential principles for protecting information integrity and upholding journalism’s social purpose.

Its core principles stipulate that “ethics must govern technological choices within the media; human agency must remain central in editorial decisions; the media must help society to distinguish between authentic and synthetic content with confidence... and must participate in global AI governance and defend the viability of journalism when negotiating with tech companies.”

“AI exacerbates what is already an existential moment for journalism,” said Ressa, the founder and CEO of the Filipino investigative news outlet Rappler. “While it promises new opportunities, it also brings significant threats to the integrity of information.” She emphasized that technological progress does not necessarily lead to development and must be guided by ethics in order to effectively serve mankind.

“To safeguard the right to information, journalists and news organizations must join forces to ensure ethics guide the governance and use of the most transformative technology of our time,” Ressa said, adding that the Paris Charter on AI and Journalism is a significant step towards that goal.