Adopted 1991 by the NPPA Board of Directors
In the early days of the electronic revolution that swept through our profession, it was evident that digital photography would be very beneficial but at the same time posed a real threat to the integrity of our images. NPPA adopted this Statement of Principle to affirm unequivocally our commitment to honesty and accuracy in this new environment. It is a strong admonition aimed directly at the practice of digital manipulation but also sums up the NPPA Code of Ethics in a matter of a few sentences.
As journalists we believe the guiding principle of our profession is accuracy; therefore, we believe it is wrong to alter the content of a photograph in any way that deceives the public.
As photojournalists, we have the responsibility to document society and to preserve its images as a matter of historical record. It is clear that the emerging electronic technologies provide new challenges to the integrity of photographic images ... in light of this, we the National Press Photographers Association, reaffirm the basis of our ethics: Accurate representation is the benchmark of our profession. We believe photojournalistic guidelines for fair and accurate reporting should be the criteria for judging what may be done electronically to a photograph. Altering the editorial content ... is a breach of the ethical standards recognized by the NPPA.