15th February 2016
By Stefanie Chernow

Ethical Journalism Network Newsletter 15 January 2016


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Migration: Can media show courage in the face of Europe’s political cowardice

Europe’s political fright over migration has opened the door to a toxic public debate that means journalism faces a continuing uphill struggle to tell the story without a negative bias.

A meeting of policymakers and refugee support groups in London last week was told that the migration story is often low on fact-based information and high on bias.

Media often fail to properly explain why European Union countries can and should welcome millions of refugees seeking refuge from war, poverty and fear. Instead, many media fall in with an intemperate public discourse dominated by politics of a particularly nasty kind — nationalist, bigoted and even racist.

Read the full article by our director Aidan White. (EJN)

Find out more about how media cover migration in Europe by reading our reports:

The View from Brussels: Missed opportunities to call the European Union to account

Bulgaria – A study in media Sensationalism

Italy – A charter for tolerant journalism: Media take centre stage in the Mediterranean drama

Turkey – Media under the government’s thumb and migrants in a legislative limbo

United Kingdom – How journalism plays follow-my-leader in the rhetoric of negativity

You can also listen to the author of the UK chapter of the report discuss how the British press have covered the migration story on The Media Show on BBC Radio 4.


Ethical Journalism Network podcast broadcast on World Radio Day

On Saturday 13th February a podcast from the Ethical Journalism Network about the ethical issues faced by journalists covering natural disasters and conflicts was broadcast internationally as part of UNESCO’s annual celebration of radio.

You can listen to the broadcast on soundcloud, the EJN website and the World Radio Day website.

The podcast also discusses the Ethical Journalism Network’s five point test for hate-speech, which was launched as part of our campaign “Turning the page of hate” in Kigali in 2014 to mark two decades since the Rwandan genocide. The five point test for hate-speech infographic can be downloaded in English here, in French here and in Arabic here.

For more on World Radio Day 2016 read our blog.

The Only Way is Ethics: Our digital future will be governed by the same Independent principles

Last week The Independent newspaper announced that it would be the first major national UK newspaper to stop its print edition and become a digital-only news organisation. Here is some of the best coverage:

Will Gore in the IndependentThe Only Way is Ethics: Our digital future will be governed by the same Independent principles

Roy Greenslade in the GuardianCan a digital-only Indy keep its quality?

Peter Campbell in the Financial Times – The Independent’s print era ends as group crafts digital future





Ai Weiwei reveals why he collected 14,000 refugee life jackets on the Greek island of Lesbos

The Chinese artist used the life vests he collected from thousands of people crossing the Mediterranean to wrap them around the columns of a Berlin concert hall.


Ai Weiwei covers Berlin venue with 14,000 life jackets – (Al Jazeera)


Ai Weiwei Commemorates Drowned Refugees with Public Installation during Berlin Film Festival – (ArtNet News)

Ai Weiwei Has Made A Stunning Art Project About Refugees In Germany – (BuzzFeedNews)

The installation has been far better received than image Weiwei published of himself recreating the image of the the drowned three-year-old Syrian refugee Alan Kurdi.



Patestine: A remarkable decline in the violation of media freedoms during the past month

The first month of the year witnessed a remarkable decline in the number of violations against media freedoms in Palestine compared to the previous month. The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms “MADA” monitored a total of 26 violations during January 2016, of which were 13 committed by Israel and 13 committed by the Palestinian side. This number is much lower than the 63 violations reported in the last month of 2015.

Read the full article here. (Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms “MADA”)

Checklist: Does Your Data Visualization Say What You Think It Says?

As big data becomes more prevalent, more journalists are sifting through data as part of their reporting. In lean newsrooms without graphics specialists on staff, reporters often have to visualize the data themselves in order to share findings with the audience.

These non-specialists don’t always have the time or the expertise to consider the design elements of their visualizations. But some design choices warrant special attention as they can unintentionally color the message. Here is a checklist of questions to help you make sure your visualization does, in fact, say what you think it says.

Read the full article here. (MediaShift)

On the same subject, this week journalism.co.uk ran an interview with James Tozer, editorial data analyst at The Economist.

Read the article here: ‘Don’t be blind to the data, but don’t be blinded by it either’ – Q&A with The Economist’s James Tozer


Donald Trump Keeps Saying He Opposed The Iraq War, But No One Can Find Any Evidence

On Sunday’s “Meet the Press,” host Chuck Todd did something too rare in TV news this election cycle: He challenged Donald Trump’s persistent claim of being a vocal opponent of the 2003 Iraq invasion.

This Huffington Post article highlights how few TV journalists have challenged the Republican presidential hopeful’s claims of being a vocal opponent of the Iraq war as early as 2003 despite numerous fact checkers highlighting for months that no evidence of this exists. Following the Huffington Post’s decision in December to move Trump from their entertainment to their politics section of their website, after his call for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States”, this week’s Huffington Post article, like others about Trump, now conclude with an editor’s note that pull’s no punches in informing the reader of the context which the editor feels Trump’s comments should be framed in:


Editor’s note: Donald Trump is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist, birther and bully who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims — 1.6 billion members of an entire religion — from entering the U.S.


European Court Decision Allows Media to Be Less Paranoid About Online Comments

In summer 2015, a much-criticized decision by Europe’s human rights court left online portals anxious about what comments they allowed on their sites. Now, the same court has reversed that decision in a lawsuit lodged by two Hungarian websites. That means less stress for online media.
Read the full article here. (Media Power Monitor)

‘Spotlight’ on the future of investigative journalism: A talk with Boston Globe editor Walter V. Robinson

Walter V. Robinson, editor at large for The Boston Globe, offered his thoughts on the future of investigative journalism during a talk he gave at Harvard Kennedy School about his newspaper’s coverage of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church and the movie that is based on the investigation. An audio file of the taped conversation is offered through Harvard’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy.

Read the full article here. (Journalist’s Resource)


LSE event: Migrants, terror and the media: reporting and responsibilities on the frontline

On Thursday 11 February representatives of the Ethical Journalism Network attended a panel discussion hosted by Polis LSE and the London Press Club on how journalists should engage with and report on the refugee crisis.

You can read our summary of the event here. (EJN)