AP Style Privacy

AP Style holds that you should not identify juveniles (under 18) who are accused of crimes, even if other news media do so or police release names. Also, do not transmit images that would reveal their identity.

Do not identify, in text or through images, juveniles (under 18) who are witnesses to crimes.

Do not identify, in text or through images, persons who say they have been sexually assaulted, and use discretion in naming victims of other extremely sever abuse.

Exemptions may be made in extraordinary cases only with the approval of the Standard Center or the manager on duty at the Nerve Center. Issues that may weigh in a decision include the severity of the alleged crime; whether police have formally released the juvenile’s name; and whether the juvenile has been formally charged as an adult.

Other considerations might include public safety, such as when the youth is the subject of a manhunt; or widespread publication of the juvenile suspect’s name, making the identity de facto public knowledge.

In some situations, state or national laws may determine whether the person’s name can be published.

Sometimes AP may identify a person in an abduction or manhunt situation, and it develops later that—because of a sexual assault or other reason—the name should not be used. In such cases, with approval by the Standards Center or the manager on duty at the Nerve Center, it may be appropriate to withdraw from future coverage. AP may also consider identifying the victim of a sexual assault if the individual comes forward publicly and agrees to be identified.

Consult with the Standards Center or Nerve Center on all questions about these AP Style guidelines.

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