Ethical Journalism: Ethics and the fight for the future of journalism
Our mission and vision
The EJN has been active since 2013, developing editorial tools and programmes to assist journalists in confronting the challenges of the modern information landscape. These include: unlocking the power of independent media to support ethical practices and processes, which take their cue from responsible journalism; enabling independent media and journalistic practice to deliver human rights messages; enhancing transparency and accountability in political processes; and addressing the need to provide accurate fact-based information which can support better engagement between the state and its citizens.
The EJN derives its distinctive approach from its focus on the ethics of journalism and how this can support the professionalisation of media practice and organisations. More recently the EJN has begun to shift its focus towards issues related to gender as well as ethics in the age of digital and networked communications. The EJN operates through building a network of support from media bodies which appreciate and value independent journalism. Through a wide programme of activities which combine international expertise with local knowledge, our activities and programmes support the creation of sustainable organisations in countries where ethical practice requires support and facilitation. In the longer term, enhanced skills and networked engagement will serve to reinforce media environments that will produce accountable, public interest journalism.
Summary of EJN Activities 2018-2019
The major EJN achievements during the past year include:
- Establishing with Turkish media partners the ground-breaking Coalition for Ethical Journalism in Turkey, proving that even in hostile conditions ethical journalism is a source of solidarity for news media;
- Supporting and preparing policy on media ethics as a bulwark for democracy through the Declaration for Information and Democracy launched at the Paris Peace Forum (November 2018) and endorsed by a number of governments;
- Preparing a blueprint for future journalistic work through a course on Ethics and Data Journalism that will bring artificial intelligence and the social intelligence of journalists together in a new values-based framework for media work;
- Helping to frame the Council of Europe’s declaration of financial journalism (February 2019) and a recommendation on creating an environment for quality journalism that will be published later this year;
- Working with media across the Western Balkans to identify trustworthy and ethical media leading, in March, 2019, to the Launch of the Balkan Network of Trusted Media, supported by more than 40 leading news media;
- Continuing to lead the media campaign against hate speech with support for published glossaries on hate speech for journalists in Cyprus, Turkey, Jordan and Palestine;
- In the UK submitting evidence to the high-profile, government-commissioned Cairncross Review, which proposes a radical rethinking of how to fund journalism – particularly at a local level – and points the way to a sustainable future for journalism;
- Working with Chinese media, journalists and media academics to develop practical tools to raise awareness of ethics and self-regulation;
- Developing a course on Copyright and Author’s rights for African journalists; 10. Successfully launching the EJN’s Ethical Media Audits – a tool to improve transparency and governance in the ownership and administration of media – with an independent news leader in Jordan;
- Opening the first phase of a two-year project to promote independent journalism in Poland, Hungary , Bulgaria, the Czech Republic and Slovakia in partnership with the Evens Foundation.
- The strengthening of our programme with UNESCO and the European Federation of Journalists to support independent media in the Western Balkans targeting self-regulation and good governance. This year activities were focused on Albania, Bosnia, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey; 13. The completion of the labour migration fellowship scheme for journalists in Jordan, Lebanon and Gulf states with the International Labour Organization (ILO);
- The EJN hate speech test is now available in over 25 languages, with new glossaries in development in Jordan and Palestine; this year the campaign reached the Caribbean for the first time;
- Published two new versions of the EJN Annual Magazine on ethics in the news Trust in Ethical Journalism: The Key to Media Futures (2018) and Saving the News: Ethics and the Fight for the Future of Journalism (2019);
- The completion of the EJN’s EU-funded project in Montenegro on ethical standards in journalism and media literacy;
- The world’s first searchable database of media codes, press councils and standards Accountable Journalism, to which new codes are added on a continuing basis. (accountablejournalism.org)
Paris Peace Forum
EJN President Aidan White spoke at the Paris Peace Forum in November 2018, to support the International Declaration on Information and Democracy along with seven heads of state, including the Norwegian Prime Minister, Erna Solberg, as well as the head of UNESCO and the Council of Europe, on Sunday 11 November. Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said that the declaration “could be the most significant initiative in defence of the freedom, independence, pluralism and reliability of news and information since the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948.”
The declaration was drafted by a commission consisting of 25 prominent figures of 18 nationalities, including Nobel laureates Amartya Sen, Joseph Stiglitz and Mario Vargas Llosa, Sakharov Prize laureate Hauwa Ibrahim and EJN President Aidan White. It is chaired by RSF secretary-general Christophe Deloire and Nobel peace laureate Shirin Ebadi. The other members are (listed alphabetically): Emily Bell, Yochaï Benkler, Teng Biao, Nighat Dad, Can Dündar, Primavera de Filippi, Mireille Delmas-Marty, Abdou Diouf, Francis Fukuyama, Ulik Haagerup, Ann Marie Lipinski, Adam Michnik, Eli Pariser, Antoine Petit, Navi Pillay, Maria Ressa, Marina Walker, and Mihaïl Zygar.
Council of Europe Committee of experts on quality journalism in the digital age
The EJN’s Tom Law is a member of the Council of Europe’s Committee of experts, which is developing policy recommendations and a standard-setting proposal on criteria and measures for ensuring a regulatory and policy framework that facilitates a favourable environment for the practice of quality journalism and the promotion of media and information literacy in the digital age.
In addition to this process on 13 February, the 47 member states of the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers adopted a declaration drafted by the committee, which aims to ensure the financial sustainability of quality journalism”.
Artificial intelligence, human rights, democracy and the rule of law Increasingly the EJN is turning its attention to the news journalism of the future to create training tools on data journalism, draft new policy frameworks and promoting the use of technology that merges artificial intelligence and the social intelligence of journalists. The EJN’s founder and president, Aidan White, spoke on these issues on a panel on Artificial Intelligence (AI) and human rights in Helsinki, in February 2019.
Committee on Culture, Science, Education and Media
On 4 March 2019, the EJN’s Tom Law addressed the committee in Granada, Spain on the role of journalists in educating the public to the risks of disinformation, manipulation and illegal content and how professional and ethical journalism enable the public to become more vigilant, critical and analytical about what information they can trust.
Review into the sustainability of high-quality journalism in the UK
The EJN’s evidence to the UK government review examining the “sustainability of high-quality journalism in the UK” was quoted in the final report by Dame Frances Cairncross, a British economist, journalist and academic. The review received 757 responses from media, academics, media experts, industry leaders, including a 15-page submission from the EJN. A plan for greater media literacy in the UK and placing ethics at the heart of future business models were two of the EJN’s recommendations that were quoted in the report.
As the Cairncross Report wrote:
“It was also suggested that greater investment needs to be made in media literacy. As has already been noted, some respondents suggested that any money that is collected via a levy or earmarked for subsidies should be put into improving media literacy.
“Technology giants, so skilful in adopting international tax avoidance measures, would find it harder to turn down an initiative designed to improve the experience of their users, especially when they are under huge pressure to remove the high levels of hate speech and disinformation that abound on social media. A twin approach of removal and helping their users towards an effective media literacy that encourages them to recognise the true from the untrue would be hard to resist.”
The EJN submission went on to argue that “any plan to ‘sustain the production and distribution of high-quality journalism’ must have at its heart ethical journalism. This is not just a moral and societal imperative but crucial to any new business model.”
Building trust: good governance, self-regulation and media literacy
Journalism Trust Initiative
The EJN’s Aidan White chairs the ethics committee drawing up plans for an internationally recognised “ethical standard setting mechanism” through the Journalism Trust Initiative – an innovative media self-regulatory initiative designed to combat disinformation online organised by Reporters Without Borders. This groundbreaking action is supported by more than 100 media and media support groups including press councils across Europe, and will launch in June 2019. It aims to provide benchmarking for quality journalism that can be identified for support in future funding models.
Building Trust in Media in South East Europe and Turkey
The first three-year phase of this programme to strengthen transparency in management and ownership of news media ends during 2019, but follow-up action supported by UNESCO and the European Union is in preparation. The EJN’s work has encouraged solidarity in support of ethics and transparency in a region where media have been diminished by political pressures.
The next phase will be critical in helping to identify media in the region that pledge to defend and support professionalism and should be first in line to receive assistance as media move into a new era of multi-stream funding for public interest journalism. A first step in this direction was the launch on 22 March in Belgrade of the Balkan Network of Trusted Media with the regional editors and media managers.
The network and the media, which have been our partners during three years of the implementation of the UNESCO project, will continue the work. Many of them are ready to financially support this work on their own. Meanwhile, the EJN will also seek funding for the Balkan Network through other initiatives. To mark the end of the second year of the programme, the EJN published a sustainability manifesto available in English and Serbian.
The manifesto begins:
Trust in media and independent journalism are essential prerequisites for building democracy. However, trust in journalism is falling in the face of disinformation and political propaganda and a deep crisis for pluralism threatens Europe and the countries of South East Europe and Turkey. But change is on the way. Media and journalists’ leaders are coming together to break the cycle of corruption and undue political influence on journalism.
The manifesto was presented at the OSCE’s conference on terrorism in Sarajevo in September 2018. The ethical media audits were also included in the inaugural programme of the Coalition for Ethical Journalism in Turkey (CEJT) which was launched on September 5th in Istanbul. Moderating Comment Sections in Montenegro The EJN produced guidelines and examples of good practice on ethical standards and good governance for the online media in Montenegro, including recommendations for moderating online comment sections.
The project, which ran from February 2018 until March 2019, was supported by the European Union and implemented in cooperation with the Montenegro Media Institute (MMI). The EJN also organised an educational visit for the two senior editors from Vijesti multimedia newsgroup and MINA, the official news agency to London where they met with the BBC World Service, Guardian, IMPRESS and Al Jazeera.
Ethical Auditing and Building Trust in Media in Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic and Slovakia
The situation of the media and the credibility of journalism in the Visegrad Countries of Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary is declining, according to the latest RSF World Press Freedom Index. Media in these countries suffer from dependence on political influence and the concentration of media ownership. In particular, serious threats to press freedom and pluralism are identified in Poland and Hungary.
The EJN believes urgent action is needed to confront this crisis and to actively promote ethical journalism and good governance. More transparency and ethical management will strengthen editorial independence and help media push back against the undue influence of political centres of power.
Responding to this crisis, the EJN carried out a visit to Warsaw in early 2019, supported by the Evens Foundation to work with local professional partners to identify key media outlets willing to collaborate to:
a) develop models for good governance in selected media which are committed to ethical standards and public-interest journalism;
b) strengthen independent journalism;
c) promote media support for public debates on the development of an open information landscape reflecting pluralism, democracy and respect for human rights at all levels of society and particularly within political, corporate and civil centres of power.
Journalism Education for Democracy in Ukraine: Developing Standards, Integrity and Professionalism
The DESTIN Project is led by Bath University and gathers partners from Ukraine and the EU. The aim of the project is to assess and amend the curricula of 20 university courses in Ukraine. The EJN will provide its expertise and will be involved in the implementation of various activities.
Italy – Media literacy in human rights and citizenship education
The EJN delivered a 2-day training workshop for media literacy trainers and project developers from OBC Transeuropa, Centro per la Cooperazione Internazionale (CCI) and other groups on media literacy in human rights and citizenship education on 13-14 Dec 2018.
Middle East and North Africa
Syria – Ethical Charter for Syrian Media
The EJN has worked with Free Press Unlimited to support the Ethical Charter for Syrian Media, an ethical code aimed at the Syrian free press. The Ethical Charter for Syrian Media which was launched in September 2015 in Istanbul, was developed and signed by over 20 Syrian media institutions. The alliance around the charter grew to over 36 media organisations by mid-2017. Supported by Free Press Unlimited, three visits to Turkey were made by EJN experts to work with the Board of the Syrian Ethical Charter to revise their membership policy and conflict resolution scheme. In November 2018, a member of the Syrian Ethical Charter, activist and journalist, Raed Fares, who worked for Radio Fresh, an independent radio station broadcasting from inside opposition-held areas in the country, was killed in Idlib, Syria.
Jordan – Ethical Media Audit with 7iber.com
7iber executive editor, Lina Ejeilat, presents the findings of their ethical media audit process with the EJN’s Tom Law and trustee Dr Zahera Harb at the ARIJ summit in Jordan, 2 December 2018.
The audit, supported by International Media Support (IMS), covered 7iber’s newsroom functions, analysis of their editorial output, a review their internal accountability mechanisms; and a variety of other key areas. The Executive Director of 7iber, Lina Ejeilat, presented some of the initial findings at the Arab Reporters for Investigative Journalism (ARIJ) summit in December 2018. Ejeilat spoke about what 7iber have learnt from the process, the changes they are implementing as a result and how they are using the audit to inspire reforms that they hope will improve their relationship with their audience and build trust in their journalism. IJNET (ICFJ) published an article about the session.
Gambia – Press Accreditation and Self-Regulatory Council
In 2018 the Gambia Press Union used the EJN’s resources in the planning and development of a press accreditation scheme and a media self-regulatory council. Saikou Jammeh, Secretary-General, Gambia Press Union wrote to the EJN to say that “your resources on your website have been particularly helping in guiding our process.” The EJN’s Accountable Journalism website, a searchable database of press councils and ethical codes was updated over 100 times over the last year. The project is maintained in partnership with the Reynolds Journalism Institute (RJI) at the University of Missouri.
Hate speech and migration
2019 marks 5 years since the EJN’s “Turning the Page of Hate Campaign” was launched in Kigali and 25 years since the Rwandan genocide in which media played a deadly role in promoting violence. Our hate-speech campaign continues in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and this year reached the Caribbean for the first time.
As 50 people are shot dead in New Zealand while the shooter livestreams the killings and posts his manifesto of hate on the internet, the need for journalists in areas where there are long-standing conflicts between communities to consider the words and images they use in news reports is greater than ever.
Middle East and North Africa
Arab Media Hub Against Hate Speech
The EJN continued to support the Arab Media Hub Against Hate Speech, an initiative it started in 2015 as a regional network to foster cooperation and collaboration between researchers, media and journalists. Members of the Hub meet in person once a year and it is nurtured by a lively online community that shares knowledge on how to tackle the proliferation of hate speech and abusive and violent incitement in the media. The members of the hub, some of whom have been participating for the last four years, regularly undertake their own initiatives identify areas where ethical media practice is being contested and provide guidance to journalists and publishers. Activities of network members over the last year include:
The Egyptian Editors Forum has for over a year included a section on hate speech in its weekly newsletter to publishers. And the Egyptian Media Development Programme (EMDP) and the American University of Cairo (AUC) have adopted the hate speech glossary developed in partnership with the EJN in 2017 into their curricula for training Egyptian journalists. EJN adviser, Naila Hamdy, associate professor and director for the graduate program at AUC’s department of journalism and mass communication, has presented the “Glossary of Hate Speech in Egyptian Media” at a number of international forums including the 8th United Nations Alliance of Civilisations (UNAOC) Global Forum focused on digital diplomacy, online citizen engagement, and social media platforms as mechanisms for prevention and countering online hate speech.
Jordan and Palestine
As a part of the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (NMFA) Programme to support the EJN’s work on hate speech in the MENA region, the EJN held a series of meetings at the ARIJ conference 2018, the aim of which was to cultivate a strategy for the development of two further hate speech glossaries, in Palestine and Jordan, as well as promote the EJN’s work in the region. The hate speech sessions garnered positive commitments from both the Palestinian and Jordanian partners who were present to ensure that the glossaries will be developed to reflect the context and needs of their respective media communities. The format of the event was an interactive workshop, with 14 people attending each session. The Ethical Journalism Network hosted the workshop and produced most of the content for the sessions, with an additional presentation from the Maharat Foundation, and led both the presentation and discursive elements of the workshop. For the first time, a member of Facebook’s Middle East and North Africa policy team attended the meeting.
The project is working alongside its partner, the Jordanian Media Institute (JMI), to develop tools for journalists to tackle hate speech in the Jordanian media.
This is being produced through a programme of monitoring specific phrases and vocabulary used to incite prejudice and hate based on religion, ethnicity, culture, political affiliation or stereotyping of women, groups of people and vulnerable minorities or slander and defamation. JMI and EJN will work together to use their extensive experience to develop a glossary of concepts and phrases which convey hate speech used in media as well as support journalists to improve their skills in dealing with hate speech and to produce accurate, professional quality reports consistent with high standards of journalism that is driven by ethics.
A roundtable is planned for May 2019 in Amman which will bring together key stakeholders from across the media landscape to input into the glossary.
In the Occupied Palestine Territories (OPT), following on from activities in November 2018 where Tom law took part in a kick-off meeting for the project in Ramallah and gave a guest lecture at Hebron University, The project is working with four universities to develop a glossary for hate speech in the Palestinian media. The universities based in the West Bank are taking part in this project. A trip in the first week of April will see one workshop and three lectures delivered on monitoring content and hate speech. Visits are also planned with a number of media owners and media development organisations in the OPT, including UNESCO, MADA, Maan, Jerusalem Media Centre and IMS.
EJN/ILO Labour Migration Fellowship Programme
The EJN’s fellowship programme with the International Labour Organization has run since 2017, supporting journalists who are reporting on labour migration in Jordan, Lebanon and the Gulf States. Over 20 journalists have taken part in the programme, conducting investigations, producing podcasts and writing op-eds in publications as diverse as the Jordan Times to the New York Times, from BBC World Service Radio to Arabic podcast startup – SOWT and much else besides.
To read all the stories produced in the fellowship, see: https://ethicaljournalismnetwork.org/ilo-journalism-fellowship
Uganda: Reframing media coverage of refugees
EJN adviser, Rachel Nakitare, spoke at the Media Challenge Expo 2018 a three-day event in Kampala from 16-18 November on the theme of “Reframing media coverage of refugees in Uganda”. The event attracted 356 journalism students from various universities in Uganda, 45 media houses, 22 refugee organisations, 9 media development organizations and several governmental representatives. Nakitare also gave two workshops to provide practical guidance to young journalists using the EJN’s guidelines on migration reporting and the EJN five-point test on hate speech.
Americas and Caribbean
Action plan on reporting hate speech and violence in the Caribbean
In August 2018, EJN trustee Dr Zahera Harb facilitated a workshop of regional journalists, media managers and workers in Kingston, Jamaica to produce a ten-point action plan on reporting hate speech and violence in the Caribbean. The action plan adopted the EJN’s Five-Point Test for Hate Speech and is available in Spanish and English. The workshop was sponsored by UNESCO and held in partnership with the Public Media Alliance (PMA).
The EJN held a further workshop with the Public Media Alliance to develop a similar action plan for South East Asia media in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in March 2019.
Words that Matter: A Glossary for Journalism in Cyprus
Aidan White was an expert adviser in the preparation of Words that Matter: A Glossary for Journalism in Cyprus, a booklet that aims to encourage careful and sensitive reporting. It highlights words and phrases that are regarded by some people as negative or biased and is part of a wider dialogue project involving unions, press regulation bodies and young journalists.
A curriculum for reporting on Islam and Islamopobia
In October 2018 the EJN worked with the Observatory of Islamophobia in Media to develop a curriculum for reporting on Islam and Islamopobia for journalism students and working journalists in Spain. The curriculum draws on the EJN study on their reporting of Islam in European media that was commissioned by the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODHIR), which is an institution of the OSCE.
Migration Toolkit for Journalists
The EJN will launch an online toolkit on migration reporting in partnership with the EU Fundamental Rights Agency in May 2019.
News organisations featured in the Toolkit include:
- Financial Times
- France 24
- Le Monde
- France Télévisions
Launch of coalition to strengthen ethical journalism in Turkey
The EJN working in partnership with a range of leading journalists, media academics and media support groups in Turkey has inspired the launch of the Coalition for Ethical Journalism Turkey (CEJT) to support independent and ethical journalism and to combat self-censorship. The launch of the CEJT in Istanbul on September 5 is an unprecedented act of cooperation among supporters of independent journalism to counter the current climate of hostility to independent news. It follows initial consultations among Turkish groups in meetings in Istanbul and Ankara in April 2018.
Groups involved in the process include the Turkish Syndicate of Journalists, the Turkish Press Council, the Progressive Journalists Association, the Turkish Association of Journalists, the Turkish Section of the International Press Institute, the Uğur Mumcu Investigative Journalism Foundation, the Media and Law Studies Association, the Platform for Independent Journalism (P24), press freedom groups including the Hrant Dink Foundation and the Turkish branch of RSF, and a not-for-profit fact checking social enterprise Teyit.org and Hürriyet daily’s ombudsman Faruk Bildirici and other journalists.
The following practical steps to strengthen media and journalism were agreed at the launch meeting in Istanbul:
- Two training programmes on ethics and data journalism
- Pilot training programme on investigative journalism
- A workshop on creating Ethical Media Audits
- Establishing an ethical journalism website and databank in Turkish
- Preparing a glossary of hate speech or discriminative language produced by journalists.
The Turkey programme will be directed at:
- Journalists, citizen journalists and bloggers across Turkey including under-resourced regions as well as media professionals from mainstream outlets
- Civil society organisations committed to supporting or enhancing freedom of expression and ethical journalism in print and online media platforms
- Academics and teachers of journalism tasked with developing relevant curricula that will ultimately target the needs of the media community
- Policymakers tasked with devising appropriate responses to the issues facing the media industry in Turkey This programme is being supported directly through existing partnerships with the Fritt Ord Foundation, UNESCO and the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
China: Dialogue and raising awareness of ethics, good governance and self-regulation
The EJN’s programme in China has combined capacity building and collaboration in order to support more open and transparent conversations around ethics in journalism in China. A network of Chinese media professionals and universities are taking part in a series of peer-to-peer exchanges across Europe which has also been bolstered by the development of a Chinese language EJN website and multiple practical and academic tools and resources. In the year 2018-2019, the EJN is aiming to:
- Establish the EJN in China: The EJN has appointed a Beijing-based coordinator to prepare programmes of training and dialogue between EJN experts and the local and national journalistic community;
- Build Stakeholder engagement and needs assessment: The EJN is working with the All-China Journalists Association (ACJA) and the national Media Ethics Commission on developing and promoting guidelines and online training materials that will provide education and guidance on principles of self-regulation for the Chinese media that are based on international standards.
- Development of online information strategy and service on media ethics for the media and relevant stakeholders: This strategy is enabling the sharing of core information, in Chinese, on ethics, governance and self-regulation, which have been developed by the EJN.
- Strengthening the academic curriculum: The EJN is developing, in cooperation with the National Ethics Commission of ACJA, and the journalism department of the National Communications University of China, a foundation course as an introduction to ethical principles for use in journalism and communications schools and media departments of Chinese universities.
- Promote peer-to-peer learning and knowledge-sharing: The EJN has helped organise missions of leading Chinese media leaders to Europe and is sending an international delegation in May 2019 to meet with China’s ethics commissions.
Arising from this work there are plans for:
- Development of a Chinese glossary on hate speech and coverage of internal migration, taking inspiration from initial work carried out in Hong Kong two years ago;
- Development of tools for data journalism, protection of sources and online training materials;
- Focused discussion on journalism and environmental reporting with an exchange of experience with international experts on reporting the environmental crisis, climate change and pollution control issues;
- Gender mainstreaming and supporting the role of women in Chinese media: The project will initiate a dialogue with the Chinese media and journalists to discuss the role of women in media and the media portrayal of women and gender issues. A joint seminar will be organised with experts from the EJN and the Chinese Women Journalists Association.
New EJN Courses
Ethics in Data Journalism Course
The ethical principles of transparency, accuracy, fairness, humanity and impartiality should apply to all forms of journalism and yet become more challenging in a digital and globalised world. Data Journalism requires more self-scrutiny because the journey towards story-telling is more complex and its success requires a process that relies on the presentation of information and data accurately, clearly and fairly, at all stages. At each stage, the data journalist must keep the standard ethical questions at the forefront:
- Is this accurate?
- Am I respecting individual privacy?
- Have I produced a fair and unbiased representation of the data and is it fair to the data source?
- Does my audience understand what I have done?
This course will look at the various stages of data journalism, focusing on particular ethical challenges that might come with producing a piece of work derived and based on data. It will provide data journalists with the tools to begin to critically reflect on their practice, in particular when thinking about data sources, collection, analysis and visualization of the data. It will treat data journalism, not as a static field in its own right, but as a form of journalism that comes with its own set of ethical considerations and challenges.
This innovative approach to training will draw upon the expertise and experience of partners from the regions in which the EJN works and which will be disseminated globally within the EJN community. This will ensure that the voices of instruction and learning are diverse and representative of the global community of journalism.
Current confirmed partners include Inkyfada, Tunisia; Caelainn Barr, Guardian; OBCT, Italy; European Journalism Centre.
Authors’ Rights in African Journalism
An important initiative launched in Africa during 2017 and 2018 is an EJN programme in partnership with Norwegian media professional groups representing journalists and media employers and supported by Kopinor, the copyright agency in Norway. This programme – The Ethics of Authors’ Rights in the Digital Age – is an innovative online teaching tool which aims to raise awareness in the African media community on ways of tackling the pressure on authors’ rights from technological change.
The project began in Accra on 1 May at a roundtable discussion, organized by the EJN and the Federation of African Journalists. Nearly 50 journalists from 10 countries in West Africa gathered to listen to lawyers, journalist trainers, editors and reporters to discuss the issue. At that workshop, editors and journalists talked of the relentless breaches of journalists’ copyright in Africa, which are doing serious “economic damage” to news organisations in Ghana.
Speakers said that journalists in Africa face many challenges from corruption to terrorism and awareness of copyright issues comes some way behind. The EJN interviewed the key speakers at that meeting on video to bring a legal, training and editorial perspective to the module.
A summary of the event can be found here: Roundtable discussion focuses on copyright challenges, solutions in Africa
The course was launched on International Media Ethics Day on September 19th, with a pre-launch event in Oslo at the Norwegian Media Business’ Association.