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).


Takeaways from webinar “Media councils in the digital age: how to regain trust and ethics in journalism”

After a successful year regarding the EU-supported Media Councils projects, the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) hosted an online webinar on 11 January 2021 to talk about the achievements and the next phase. Three members of the European Parliament, Petra Kammerevert, Ramona Strugariu and Alexandra Geese, Deputy Head of Unit (DG Connect) Audrius Perkauskas and four consortium members discussed and exchanged respective insights and best practices. The EFJ is the coordinating partner bringing together several European press councils and two universities. Renate Schroeder, Director at the EFJ, moderated the event, which she kicked off by emphasising that self-regulation and press…

Online webinar “Media councils in the digital age: how to regain trust and ethics in journalism”

As to discuss last year’s achievements regarding the EU supported EFJ Media Councils project and to talk about the next phase, on 11 January 2021, an informal online webinar will take place from 11 AM until 12:30 PM Brussels time. Together with three members of the European Parliament, Petra Kammerevert, Ramona Strugariu and Alexandra Geese, four consortium members will highlight some of their respective results in the panel. The European Federation of Journalists is the coordinating partner bringing together several European press councils and two universities. The speakers and their respective topics are listed in more detail in the agenda…

Media literacy: new toolkit for teachers and students

The Austrian and German Press Councils release today their Media Literacy Toolkit for teachers and students which consist of six case studies and roleplay exercises identified by European Press Councils from Austria, Belgium, Switzerland, Finland and Germany. Media literacy is more important than ever for today’s youth in this age of disinformation. The future citizens must be taught how to navigate the modern news landscape. Young people also need to be helped to have the critical literacy skills needed to identify a credible news story. The case studies of the Media Literacy Toolkit deal with various ethical problems in the context of…

Media councils must anticipate news automation, says new report

The Council for Mass Media in Finland published today a new report on self-regulation in the emerging era of news automation. While news automation and personalisation have become more common in recent years, it has received little attention from Press and Media Councils which have not faced major ethical problems so far. However, the report suggests that in the future self-regulatory guidance on news automation is likely to be needed.  The report introduces the present state of affairs in news automation and discusses what ethical considerations it raises. Based on a European-wide research project, the key takeaways are as follows:…

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…