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Obscenities, Profanities, Vulgarities

We do not use obscenities, racial epithets or other offensive slurs in stories unless they are part of direct quotations and there is a compelling reason for them.

If a story cannot be told without reference to them, we must first try to find a way to give the reader a sense of what was said without using the specific word or phrase. If a profanity, obscenity or vulgarity is used, the story must be flagged at the top, advising editors to note the contents.

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A photo containing something that could be deemed offensive must carry an editor's note flagging it.

This photo moved with an “Eds Note” to call attention to the nudity and it was restricted from major online portals, such as Yahoo and MSN so it wouldn’t automatically show up in their newsfeed. Those sites could use it, but they would have to download it from AP Images.

EDS NOTE: NUDITY A naked man shouts before jumping from the ledge above the TKTS Broadway ticket booth in New York's Times Square, Thursday, June 30, 2016. Police said the man, who was shouting about presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, was conscious after the jump of about 16 feet off the booth. 

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When a piece of video or audio contains something that might be deemed offensive, we flag it in the written description (rundown, billboard and/or script) so clients know what they are getting. Recognizing that standards differ around the world, we tailor our advisories and selection of video and audio according to customer needs.

This video clip moved with an “Clients Note” to call attention to the offensive language in the soundbite.

1. Various of Duterte giving speech at podium and audience listening
2. SOUNDBITE: (Tagalog/English) Rodrigo Duterte, Philippines President: ++CONTAINS EXPLETIVE++
"I don't get these crazies. Why are you trying to impose on us? Why don't you mind your own business? Why do you have to you know, fuck with us, God damn it."
3. Wide of Duterte on stage

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We take great care not to refer readers to Web sites that are obscene, racist or otherwise offensive, and we must not directly link our stories to such sites.

In our online service, we link the least offensive image necessary to tell the story. For photo galleries and interactive presentations we alert readers to the nature of the material in the link and on the opening page of the gallery or interactive. If an obscene image is necessary to tell the story, we blur the portion of the image considered offensive after approval of the department manager, and flag the video.