European Federation of Journalists

Media Councils in the Digital Age

The digital revolution is largely impacting the way journalists and media are producing and sharing news content. In this changing media landscape, self-regulatory bodies, which were created before the digital revolution for most of them, must adapt to the involving environment.

This project aims at highlighting the important role of press and media councils in times of decreasing trust towards journalists and media outlets combined with increasing disinformation on new media. It will look at the digital challenges through 4 main components: academic work to provide data and analysis regarding existing press councils, awareness campaign to promote media self-regulation, visibility and exchanges of media councils’ works on the international scene and strengthening of existing organisations or support to future organisations.

Project’s website

Overall Objective

The overall objective of this project is to ensure that press and media councils play a significant role in Europe in addressing the new challenges of the digital age.

This project aims to support the European model of media self-regulation as a major part of a strategy to protect media freedom and encourage professionalism in journalistic content, while gaining a better understanding of the consequences and challenges of digital developments for press and media councils.

Specific Objectives

1 – Inform the international community on the detailed functioning and role of press and media councils in Europe, in the digital age, through surveys and the creation of an online platform to share results and best practices;

2- Improve the recognition of press and media councils’ role and media self-regulation benefits in general, in particular in light of the importance to ensure compliance to journalistic ethics in print, broadcast and online media and ensure trust in professional journalism at the time of disinformation;

3- Provide access and direct contact to European press and media councils for targeted demands of support from external actors wishing to learn from press and media councils, their added-value and their functioning, but also demands of supports for the creation of new media councils, with the possibility to provide direct financial support where needed;

4- Contribute with relevant expertise to the global dialogue on ethical and professional journalistic standards in the digital age (including matters related to social media, artificial intelligence and news automation in journalism).


Actions

If you want ethical quality information, work with press councils!

What can press councils be used for? A European promotional video co-funded by the European Commission with the support of the Conseil de déontologie journalistique (CDJ – Belgium), is launched today by all European press councils and their partner organisations. It recalls the role and assets of these particular bodies often unknown to the general public pointing one key message : if you want ethical quality information, work with us!   At a time when pieces of information coming from all sources are jostling around without us always knowing whether we can rely on it or not, at a time when distrust of journalists has become the rule, press councils…

Media councils publish first-ever review of journalistic self-regulation in Europe

Media Councils release for the first time a comprehensive overview of journalistic self-regulation in Europe. The study highlights the importance of media councils in promoting journalistic standards in a context of proliferation of online disinformation. Independent media councils play an important role with regard to the respect of journalistic ethics. They offer journalists with guidance and tools for their daily work and give the public the opportunity to hold journalists and media to account through a fair complaints procedure. The basic idea behind all media councils is the same: a truly independent media system requires self-regulation, for the simple reason…

Governments must ensure the public’s right to know in the COVID-19 pandemic

Following its recent webinar with European Press Councils, the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) expressed concern about the negative impact of the coronavirus pandemic on freedom of information. The EFJ today joined ARTICLE 19 in calling on governments to ensure the public’s right to know in the COVID-19 pandemic. The EFJ and representatives of 17 press and media councils exchanged ideas and discussed in a webinar the impact of the pandemic on journalism. The EFJ expressed concern about access to information for journalists, as well as potential threats or restrictions to freedom of the press due to the crisis. In…

European press councils stand out as key players to face political interference, disinformation and confidence crisis in media

Are press councils the last defences against the falling confidence in journalism? On the occasion of its 10th anniversary, the Belgian French press council (Conseil de déontologie journalistique – CDJ) organised a European forum in Brussels, on 21-22 January, to raise awareness about the role of press councils. The event addressed in particular, on a panel, the stakes of ethics dealing with political interference and pressure on journalists. Threats on journalists are increasing in Europe under various forms while greatly impacting media freedom, reminded Ernest Sagaga, Head of Human Rights at the International Federation of Journalists. The Council of Europe…

North Macedonia: EFJ welcomes initiative aiming to strengthen self-regulation

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) welcomed today the registry on self-regulation of online media in North Macedonia, which was announced yesterday by the Council of Media Ethics (CMEM) together with the Association of Journalists of Macedonia (AJM). “We believe that journalists’ organisations should promote for the public benefit high ethical standards in journalism, based on five principles: truth and accuracy, independence, fairness and honesty, humanity, and accountability,” said EFJ General Secretary Ricardo Gutiérrez. “That is why the EFJ supports this professional initiative aiming to strenghten media self-regulation in North Macedonia.” The initiative will promote self-regulation of online media by…

Invitation to the European Forum on self-regulation in the digital age (Brussels, 21-22 January 2020)

The Belgian Press Council (Conseil de déontologie journalistique – CDJ) invites you to a European interactive forum on the occasion of its 10th anniversary, to take place in Brussels on 21-22 January 2020. It will bring together media, journalists, press councils, journalists’ unions and associations and will address challenges of journalistic self-regulation in the digital age. Press councils and self-regulatory mechanisms – usually tripartite involving journalists, media representatives and the civil society – plays an ever-important role in upholding standards in journalism while preventing state intervention through media regulations. The forum will raise awareness about the added-value of self-regulation and…