18th October 2016
By Tom Law

Building Trust Through Ethical Media Governance in Serbia

The Ethical Journalism Network organised a conference for selected and leading media houses in Serbia to promote fresh discussion on how to strengthen independent journalism and ethical management in the news media.

The conference on 18 October in Belgrade gathered representatives of leading Serbian media. The meeting was led by the EJN Director Aidan White and EJN Board Member, journalist Bernt Olufsen, discussed practical strategies for ethical management of media. The meeting invited media in Serbia to develop confidential internal reporting systems that will help them establish benchmarks for their work that can strengthen their own governance.

This meeting was organised as part of the EJN’s “Building Trust in Media in South East Europe and Turkey” project supported by UNESCO and EU, which aims to help media managements across the Western Balkans and Turkey. This year the first actions are being taken in Serbia and Kosovo with a proposal for a self-reporting mechanism to encourage leading editors and managers to a more open and ethical system of management and governance which can be used to build public trust in the country’s media.

The full report from the first work in Kosovo can be found here: Kosovo: Ethical Media Audits and Guidelines for Quality Journalism

Background: A Model for Auditing Transparency, Good Governance and Ethics of Journalism

Robust and vibrant media communities work at a cracking pace competing competing fiercely for market and audience share across all platforms of journalism.

However, many people, including those inside media, worry that in this overheated atmosphere standards of journalism and media governance are put under strain and nowhere is this more evident than in the Western Balkans.

The greatest challenge in the digital age is developing structures for internal organization of media that respect basic standards of editorial independence, good governance and transparency. How can media build a culture of professionalism that will be an inspiration for responsible communications across the media landscape and beyond, into the wider public information sphere?

The Ethical Journalism Network, supported by leading editors, media owners and journalists from across the world has developed a simple tool that can help media monitor their own performance and also help develop ways of improving public trust and market confidence in their brand.

Main photo: Building Trust Through Ethical Media Governance in Serbia, 18 October 2016. Photo: EJN