European Federation of Journalists

Launch of the Pilot project ‘Media Councils in the Digital Age’

When journalists are playing a public watchdog role, who is making sure that journalists and media organisations adhere to their standards and ethics? With the digital transformation in the media and the widespread of disinformation, media self-regulatory framework plays an ever-important role in upholding standards in journalism while preventing state intervention through media regulations to stifle media freedom.

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) together with a consortium of six European press councils and two universities journalists have launched a project “Media Councils in the Digital Age” with the aims to support the European models of media self-regulation through a network of press councils – the Alliance of Independent Press Councils of Europe (AIPCE).

The project will look at the digital challenges through four main works: academic research to provide data and analysis on the practice of existing press councils, awareness campaign to promote media self-regulation, visibility and exchanges of press councils’ works on the international scene and strengthening of weak organisations or support to future press councils.

The project started on 1 October with a kick-off meeting held on Brussels on 24 October. The meeting was also joined by UNESCO expert, Adeline Hulin, and European Commission representatives from the directorate responsible for media policy.

During the meeting, the consortium had an exchange with Olaf Streenfadt, Director of the Journalism Trust Initiative, who discussed with the group the initiative to create a set of trust and transparency standards on media companies.

This is a pilot project partly funded by the European Commission (DG CONNET) and implemented by the EFJ together with the press councils in Austria (OP), Germany (TDP), Ireland (PCI), Belgium (RVDJ and CDJ), Finland (JSN) and the Universities in Belgium (ULB) and Spain (FB).