Director’s Letter: February 2015

Dear Friends,

The highlight of this month has been the launch of our 16-country report on self-regulation in journalism and media. The report The Trust Factor is available here. The report was launched in Oslo February 24 and highlights how self-regulation needs to adapt to the context of the changing structure of journalism and media.

At the same time we have issued a short video of a round-table discussion among EJN leaders highlighting some of the challenges in the self-regulation debate. You can see it here.

Following the massacre in the newsroom of Charlie Hebdo in Paris in January 7 and a fresh outrage in Copenhagen this month, the EJN has been busy talking with journalists, policymakers and civil society groups on the ethical and free speech challenges and the problems of self-censorship. We have taken part in meetings to discuss these questions in Paris, Brussels, Colombia (Missouri School of Journalism), Sofia and at the Centre for Media Pluralism in Florence.

The issue was also at the heart of a dialogue between journalists’ leaders from Russia and Ukraine in Vienna on February 25 when the EJN made a presentation on how journalists can combat hate speech and propaganda. This was the latest round of discussions put together by the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe which aims to help journalists in both countries push back against the information war which has overwhelmed the region. The EJN will be leading a session at a major governmental discussion on the information crisis in June.

Meanwhile, as part of our aim to spread the ethical message in journalism and beyond EJN Communications Officer Stefanie Chernow has produced a series of short education videos – Ethics 101 – which explain the key policies and ideas behind EJN work. They can be viewed here.

The new EJN Board met for the first time at the Frontline Club in London on February and agreed a working programme for 2015 and put in place plans for further development of EJN work in the coming years. Details about who’s who in the EJN Board are now available on the website.

The EJN has also met this month with leaders from media leaders in Japan including the head of NIPPORO, Masatoshi Nakamura, who represents journalist at the country’s public broadcaster NHK. We have been asked us to lead meetings later this year on hate speech after Charlie Hebdo, in Tokyo, and on ethical journalism and disaster reporting in Sendai, centre of the Tsunami disaster in 2011.

We have also finalised co-operation with the Brazilian investigative journalism network ABRAJI. The EJN will take part in their regional conference in Sao Paulo in July. This is one of three EJN interventions at global investigative journalism events planned for this year.

Finally, plans to create an EJN group in Palestine took a step forward with a meeting in Ramallah on February 18 where 22 representatives from journalism schools, media, the Palestine Syndicate of Journalists and free speech groups agreed to work together to launch a specific campaign for ethical journalism later this year.

Meanwhile, keep up to date with EJN activity on the web-site where you can find our report for 2014 and our updated programme of work for 2015. And don’t forget to subscribe to the newsletter and follow us on Twitter (@EJNetwork). More information on all of topics set out here is available from me at aidanpatrickwhite@gmail.com.

Best,

Aidan White, EJN Director