This report on the first year’s activity of the Ethical Journalism Network covers a period of intense activity following the launch of the EJN in 2012. During this time the EJN has established itself as an expert voice on critical issues concerning the ethical performance of media and journalists.
The EJN has engaged in high-level discussions on media policy development at national and international level and has produced a number of practical tools designed to assist journalists and media professionals.
The report outlines the activities of the EJN in targeted regions and covers all activities planned and executed with the support of a grant from the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and sets out a full calendar of events and actions of the EJN in this period.
After preliminary work in 2011, the Network was formally launched in 2012 with a mandate to campaign for ethics, good governance across all platforms of journalism and media. It was set up on the initiative of Aidan White, the former General Secretary of the International Federation of Journalists in co-operation with the Paris-based Global Editors’ Network.
A founding statement and guidelines for EJN organisation were agreed at a partners meeting in June 2012 in Paris organised with the support of UNESCO. These are attached to this report with a list of the members and partners in March 2013. (Attachment Three).
During 2012 and 2013 the EJN has been hosted by the GEN and Aidan White is the founding director.
The network held meetings in Paris in June 2012 and in Brussels on December 10th 2012 at which a draft of plans for the coming three years was discussed. It was also announced by EJN and GEN that the EJN would be seeking a new host organisation at the end of 2013.
The EJN website was launched during 2013 and has attracted widespread support with more than 500 subscribers in more than 60 countries. An editorial board of acknowledged media experts has been set up to advise the Director on ethical and governance questions.
During 2012 the EJN Director met three times with representatives of professional associations in Norway and established a Norwegian consultative and advisory group which has contributed advice and support on the development of the EJN programme.
The EJN has worked closely with the office of the UN Special Rapporteur ion Freedom of Expression on issues related to hate speech and xenophobia and in the coming year there will be further efforts to strengthen this co-operation.
The EJN has been particularly active in Pakistan. There were four visits to Karachi, Islamabad, and Lahore in May, June, November and December 2012. Working with local partners EJN established a local network, the Pakistan Coalition for Ethical Journalism and, working in partnership with Internews Europe, we have been involved with a number of ground-breaking actions to promote ethical journalism. This has included:
1. The public launch by the country’s biggest television group GEO TV of an ethical and principles campaign.
2. The preparation and adoption by a self-reporting instrument on ethics and standards – the Ethical Media Audit.
3. A dialogue with the Pakistan Press Council in which we have made recommendations for its reform.
4. An-industry wide debate, involving senior state media representatives, on the need for the transformation of state broadcasting to public broadcasting status.
5. A detailed code of conduct and guidelines for election reporting which have been adopted by the Pakistan Election Commission in advance of elections in 2013.
In addition, the EJN worked close with UNESCO in a programme to support self-regulation and ethical journalism in Egypt.
The EJN programme, involving three visits to Cairo in March, June and November, has been developed with local partners and has included a number of actions:
- 1. The preparation and launch in Arabic of a manual and guidelines on ethical practice and self-regulation for media.
- 2. The preparation and launch of a proposal for the establishment of a self-regulatory body for the country.
A meeting will be held in November to launch this initiative. A full report on these activities with detailed appendices is set out in the full report which can be downloaded here.