Director’s Letter: October 2015

Dear Friends,

Latest News: The EJN has appointed Tom Law as our new EJN Communications Officer. Tom will join us on December 1st. Tom is experienced in developing and implementing communications strategies in a modern environment and working in the international charity and voluntary sector. He has worked as a journalist in Sudan and is currently employed with Childreach International, a leading child rights group based in the UK.

The EJN Board meeting in Oslo on October 5th discussed and developed a new strategy for the Network for the coming three years. The EJN plans to strengthen its links with universities and journalism schools and aims to promote fresh public discussion on how ethical journalism can strengthen free expression rights across the open information landscape. The strategy was outlined by the Director at a public meeting hosted in conjunction with City University in London on October 28th. This was the first of a series of EJN lectures on media standards.

The need to build new alliances in defence of ethical journalism with media, journalism teachers, press councils and campaigners for free speech was also on the agenda at the annual meeting of the Alliance of Independent Press Councils in Europe held in Vienna on October 7th where the Director delivered a keynote address.

The continuing crisis for journalism and media in the Middle East provided the background for the EJN lecture given by the Director at the Jordan Media Institute in Amman on October 12th. The EJN is planning a programme of co-operation with the Institute in the context of its continuing work across the region which includes activities in Palestine, Syria and Egypt.

Earlier in the month the EJN joined the Global Investigative Journalists Conference which was held in Lillehammer, Norway, from October 7th. EJN Board member Chris Elliott, Readers Editor of The Guardian, and our Egyptian colleague Abeer Saady, joined a panel on the safety strategies and internal governance standards needed to provide protection for investigative journalists.

The question of how to maintain editorial independence in the face of external political pressure and intimidation was also a feature of the discussion between the EJN Director and Russian financial journalists visiting the UK on October 6th. In a programme organized in London by the International Center for Journalism and involving News UK, the EJN highlighted the need for journalists and media organisations in Russia to work together to confront the growing threat of undue political pressure, particularly from the government.

On October 15th the EJN supported a meeting between leaders of the National Union of Journalists in the UK and the Frontline Club in London which is currently hosting a new association of almost 500 international journalists, mainly freelance, who are seeking to strengthen their capacity to work independently in Britain and abroad.

The EJN As usual, keep up to date with EJN activity on the web-site where you will find our reports, videos and newsletters. Follow us on Twitter (@EJNetwork). I can provide more information on all of the issues set out here if you contact me at [email protected].