Statement of Principles

As recordings of the visible, journalistic photographs must be fair and accurate representations of what the photographer witnessed.

Neither alterations to a photograph that mislead the public, nor staging events while depicting them as spontaneous, are acceptable in journalism. Nor should one publish a photorealistic synthetic image made by artificial intelligence and pretend that it is an actual photograph.

Any deviations to these basic principles must be explained in a caption, credit, or appropriate icon.

In support of a vibrant photojournalism that can serve as a credible witness to people, issues, and events, a group of organizations and individuals have agreed upon the following Statement of Principles. It is issued as a response to the recent emergence of artificial intelligence systems that can generate photorealistic images which can be confused with actual photographs, as well as to other forms of photographic manipulation. Most importantly, it is a call for an invigorated visual journalism that can provide a more complex, thoughtful, and dynamic exploration of societies worldwide, one in which the photographer must be considered the author of the image with all of the responsibility that this entails.

The Writing With Light Statement of Principles is currently available in the following languages:
Mandarin Chinese
Modern Standard Arabic
Bahasa Indonesia

A Glossary of Terms and other Resources,including a Bibliography can be found on this website as well.

Photographers may indicate their agreement with Writing with Light’s Statement of Principles by using the following icon and linking it back to this page.

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