EJN Director’s Letter: September 2013

Dear Friends,

The EJN is new entering an exciting new phase of development. At the end of September we secured agreement with the Norwegian Journalism Institute for the hosting of the EJN programme with the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs from January 1st 2014. This agreement replaces the arrangements with the Global Editors Network which we have enjoyed since our formal launch in June last year.

This new partnership, which was signalled at our Network meeting in Brussels on September 3, is the key element of a transition programme to consolidate the work of the EJN. The link with the Institute will further strengthen our co-operation with the Norwegian media community which has established an EJN support group.

At the same time we have registered the EJN as a non-profit company in the United Kingdom and in the coming year we will seek to establish the group as a charity in the UK to manage our expansion and build further links with network members.

The EJN is now putting together a new three-year programme and Network members are requested to submit their suggestions for studies, missions, and awareness-raising initiatives on the role of ethics, good governance and self-regulation to strengthen the role of journalism across all platforms of the new information landscape.

The new EJN structure and its future programme will be the key topics on the agenda of the next Network meeting which will be held on December 4th in London and hosted by the Thomson Foundation. Make a note of the date of meeting in your diary now!

In the next few days our new web-site http://ethicaljournalismnetwork.org will be launched as we continue to reinforce our communications work. We have an EJN LinkedIn group, and a new Twitter account (@EJNetwork). More information from EJN Communications Officer Stefanie Chernow.

Our meeting on September 3rd was also presented with a draft policy paper – What We Stand For. I am grateful for all the advice on this work and that paper is now finalised. It is attached to this Letter. There were also new faces at the table – the European Federation of Journalists and the European Magazine Media Association – confirming that we now have support across all platforms of media and journalism and at all levels.

The meeting was told that next year in Barcelona in June the EJN will hold a one-day conference linked to the GEN annual media summit when we will focus on the challenge of verification and fact-checking in modern journalism.

The EJN has also been working with UNESCO, the World Association of Newspapers, the Norwegian Journalism Institute and local partners in Egypt and Tunisia on the holding of the Arab Press Forum and a seminar for media leaders from the Middle East region which will take place from November 21-26 in Tunisia. More information from the EJN Co-ordinator Oona Solberg.

At the same time the EJN has been engaged with promoting more co-operation between the United Nations and its agencies and media professional groups. The EJN took part in a meeting in Geneva on September 19 hosted by Al Jazeera in the margins of the UN Human Rights Council meeting to focus on the political and media crisis in Egypt.

On September 26, during the General Assembly of the United Nations in New York the Director joined a panel organised by the International Peace Institute and the Norwegian Government to debate the role of media in reporting hate-speech.

Later that day he joined a meeting organised by the governments of Belgium and Ghana on the issue of genocide prevention when Belgium announced plans for a major international conference on the topic in Brussels on March 31-April 1 next year. In a meeting with the Belgian Foreign Minister it was agreed that the EJN would advise on the organisation of a session on media issues.

He also participated in a third meeting hosted by New York University Law School and the Open Society Justice Initiative which looked at the crisis for privacy and press freedom after recent exposure of extensive and secret surveillance of email communications by the United States security agency. More information on all of this is available from me at aidanpatrickwhite@gmail.com.

Best

Aidan White