Director’s Letter: July 2013

Dear Friends,

Our June 19th EJN meeting at the Hotel de Ville in Paris saw up to 100 people join three sessions to learn from experts from Egypt, Myanmar, Kenya, Pakistan, the US and the UK on the current state of standard-setting in journalism.

A day later, in Brussels, EJN led a session at the Speak Up2 conference in Brussels organised by the European Union where 400 media leaders, academics and politicians focused on work to improve journalism and media freedom conditions in South-East Europe and the Balkans.

These meetings provide an excellent platform for setting out the programme and challenges facing EJN in the second half of the year. Among actions on the upcoming agenda are:

  • The launch of a special programme in support of a newly-formed Independent Association of Egyptian Editors;
  • Co-operation with South-East Europe media networks and journalists on setting priorities for ethical and independent journalism in the region;
  • A programme with the African Media Initiative to follow up their good governance programme with African media managements;
  • A survey and meeting with the UN Alliance of Civilisations to help combat hate-speech in media and journalism;
  • Surveys with media partners on internal self-regulation, paid for journalism and the impact of social media on media standards.

At the same time we are continuing with plans for a mission to Turkey which we will discuss with Norwegian partners next month.

The planning for our major conference, the Bali Media Forum, in Indonesia from November 5-8 is well advanced. We will have the participation of Dunja Mijatovic, the rapporteur on free expression for the OSCE and Frank La Rue, the UN Rapporteur on Free Expression as well as journalists and media leaders from some 30 countries.

In the coming weeks we shall be meeting with the EBU, the public broadcast network, in Geneva to discuss how EJN can help them to strengthen their own programme on monitoring and improving standards which was launched this year. We also plan to take part in the Asian Broadcasting Union conference planned for Hanoi in September

The EJN is also working on the relaunch of our website and this should be ready by the end of next month.

Our plans to develop an initial programme for Latin America following our special session at the World Press Freedom celebrations in Costa Rica in May are on hold for the moment following the postponement of a planned meeting in Guatemala. But we hope this will be reorganised later in the year.

Also under discussion is the issue of future funding of journalism. EJN took part in an initial dialogue last month with donors, media organisations and journalists on ways of finding the money needed to maintain quality journalism, including from public sources. The challenge is to find ways of taking advantage of these resources without compromising editorial independence. This discussion is being hosted by the European Magazine Media Association and will continue later this year.


Aidan White