Ethical Journalism Newsletter: July 22nd, 2014


Ethical Journalism News

The Line Between Bias and Propaganda: EJN Director speaks to Russia Today About The Place of Ethics in Journalism

The role of journalism is to speak truth to power. Yet many factors, such as pressures in the media industry and nationalism, blurs the line between bias and propaganda leading some journalists to become lap dogs to the powerful instead of critical voices. In this interview with Russia Today, the EJN Director goes back to the basics of ethical journalism and maintains that accuracy, accountability and transparency are classic pillars which all international media organizations should strive to uphold in order to strengthen the craft of journalism.

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MH17: My Error Of Judgment, By Sky News Reporter

I got things wrong. If there was someone to apologise to in person, I would. While presenting Sky’s lunchtime coverage of the flight MH17 disaster, I stooped down to look at a piece of debris. It was a child’s suitcase. I put my hand inside and lifted up a water bottle and a set of keys. As I did so my mental circuit-breaker finally engaged and I apologised instantly on-air for what I was doing. (via The Guardian)

In Gaza, Epithets Are Fired and Euphemisms Give Shelter

Propaganda wars have unfolded alongside the battlefield for generations. But analysts said the latest flare-up between Israel and the Gaza Strip has brought a new level of dehumanizing, hateful language and a muddying of official talking points with incendiary threats, as social media broadcast an explosion of voices, an onslaught of unreliable information, and creative mash-ups of pop-culture icons with war imagery. (via The New York Times)

Notes on the Dominant Press

An ethical as well as professional duty, truth-telling and accuracy are fundamental to media and press practice. But in the dominant (wrongly referred to as the “mainstream”) press, it is also the principle most often observed in the breach rather than the compliance. (via Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility)

It Is Time to Cover Turkey’s Media Crisis Before It Is Too Late

With only one month before Turkey’s Presidential Election, international media coverage of Turkey is needed now more than ever before as Turkish media companies and journalists continue to face extreme pressure from Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to censor coverage of political and international events. (via The Huffington Post)

Make Press Freedom a UN Development Goal

The world has changed since international leaders launched the first MDGs and the information revolution has taken on a life of its own. Many governments have responded by trying to stifle access to information and press freedom, worried that social media and intrepid journalists will shine a light into their darkest corners. And experience has shown that competent journalists will do just that. (via The Globe and Mail)

Jill Abramson: “I’m Not Ashamed of Getting Fired”

When Jill Abramson was appointed the first female executive editor of The New York Times, it was a big deal. When she was fired only two and a half years into the gig for her “brusque management style,” it was an even bigger deal, making headlines across the globe. In her first magazine interview since, she talks about how to get ahead … and fight your way back. (via Cosmopolitan)

Boundaries and Possibilities: 8 Edicts for the Effective Functioning Of An Ombudsman

My role has both boundaries and possibilities. I respect the prerogative of editorial freedom. Neither my office nor I interfere in the editorial process. The perimeter is set by the terms of reference and I do not believe in overreach. But this is not a limiting exercise. It opens up many avenues to look at the best practices of journalism, and draws from myriad sources to push the envelope for the mutual benefit of readers and the newspaper. (via The Hindu)

Egypt’s Media in the Midst of Revolution

More than three years after the January 25 revolution toppled then Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, Egypt continues to struggle with an authoritarian media sector and constraints on freedom of expression. Postrevolution regimes have not capitalized on opportunities to reform state and private media, and critical voices have been harassed and marginalized by state and nonstate actors. As long as Egypt continues to be governed by rulers who believe controlling the media is in their best interest, reform will only come about through the few dissident voices in the media backed up by support from civil society and the masses. (via The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace)

Iraq: Guidelines Silence Media

Iraq’s media guidelines are so vague as to be wide open to abuse. The guidelines unjustifiably restrict freedom of the press, including by requiring pro-governmental coverage. The government-run Communications and Media Commission (CMC) issued the “mandatory” guidelines to regulate media “during the war on terror.” (via Human Rights Watch)

Reports & Resources

Online Dangerous Speech Monitoring in Kenya: Umati Project’s Findings From January – November 2013

The project seeks to better understand the use of dangerous speech in the Kenyan online space my monitoring particular blogs, forums, online newspapers, Facebook and Twitter. Read the full report here. (via iHub)


Media Must Be Included In The Post-2015 Agenda!

In 2015 the United Nations will determine what the new global Sustainable Development Goals will be for the next decades. The role of Access to Information and Independent Media and Freedom of Expression contributes massively to sustainable development. This is proven scientifically and empirically as well as observed everyday by millions of citizens throughout the world who see their lives improved and feel empowered by digital technologies and other means to provide access to media and information. Despite these facts, those who are empowered to decide on the SDGs – your governments and diplomatic representatives – sometimes forget how crucial and relevant information is or they might feel threatened by media. We risk losing this opportunity if we let them decide to drop access to information and media from the agenda.

We cannot let that happen without hearing our say in this matter, as civil society organisations, caring about media information and expression. Find out how to contribute here. (via GFMD)

Petition: Make 22 July the European Day for Victims of Hate Crime!

The campaigners and activists of No Hate Speech Movement, the youth campaign initiated and coordinated by the Council of Europe, invite European institutions and the member states of the Council of Europe to establish a European Day for Victims of Hate Crime on 22 of July. This is to remember victims of hate crime and those who have fallen victim to such attacks. It’s also to show solidarity to those targeted, raise awareness and educate the general public about hate crime and its consequences on society. Sign the petition here.