Ethical Journalism Network Newsletter – 13 May 2016



Ethical source development

The relationship between journalists and their sources is complex and full of ethical pitfalls. In this blog, originally published on Investigative Reporters and Editors, Aidan White establishes the ground rules on dealing with sources; getting too close to source; source review of content; anonymous sources; and social media and user-generated content.

Read the full article here. (EJN)

Greek journalists draft ethical code to fight racism on refugees coverage

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) is strongly supporting the initiative of its affiliate in Greece the Journalists’ Union of Macedonia and Thrace Daily Newspapers (ESIEMTH) – who drafted a proposal for the adoption of the Anti-racism Ethics Code of the Greek journalists called The Charter of Idomeni, in the name of the border control village where thousands of refugees are passing through to reach Northern European countries.

The aim of the charter is to preserve the social role of journalists in the conditions created by the presence of refugees, migrants, minorities and socially vulnerable groups in Greece, discourage and denounce climates of intolerance, guarantee the right to freedom of expression and press freedom and the rights of refugees and provide journalists with conditions of voluntary commitment in performing their duties. The full draft with 11 articles and pratical advices for local and foreign journalists covering the migrant issues still needs to be endorsed by the Panhellenic Federation of Journalists’ Unions (POESY) and is open to propositions. The draft has also received the support of the Italian NGO Carta di Roma.

Read the full article here. (EFJ)

Social Media Rife With Myths About European Refugee Crisis

Modar, a Syrian refugee, arrived in Europe last fall wearing a secondhand shirt he purchased in Damascus for $1. The shirt was clean, unwrinkled and stylish. “When we get to Europe, we want them to think we are good,” he had told me in Izmir, Turkey, the day before his rubber-boat journey to Greece. In his mind, Europeans didn’t want a bunch of bums showing up.

As it turned out, he was at least partly wrong. The idea that refugees had nice clothes and smartphones clearly irked some people, Modar later learned, evidenced by outrage expressed online that persists today.

The outraged people, however, often present what they believe to be facts but are — like Modar’s belief that Europe wanted well-dressed refugees — thoughts originating with social media myths.

Read the full article here. (VOA)

British journalists are more likely to push ethical boundaries than US reporters, finds new study

More than half of UK journalists would push boundaries to get a story, according to a report by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at the University of Oxford released today (9 May).

Some 53 per cent of the British journalists surveyed said it is justified to pay for confidential information in the public interest, compared to just 5 per cent of American respondents.

Read the full article here. (Journalism)

How Does Our Media Cover Tragedy?

An Open Letter to Sri Lankan Media Establishments by Subha Wijesiriwardena & Jake Oorloff

On 25 April 2016, two 19 year-old young women were fatally hit by a train while attempting to cross a railway track in Dehiwala. The tragic incident quickly attracted the attention of the media, and journalists from every major domestic media outlet reported the incident, bringing to the nation and the world images and stories about the tragic death of two friends. The coverage included graphic CCTV footage of their last moments, sound bites from devastated parents and family, as well as those from a grief-stricken student body.

We write this letter as citizens who observed this tragedy via the local media; we are deeply concerned by the visible lack of principles and ethics for journalism in Sri Lanka, as displayed in the coverage of this recent event. We believe reportage of this incident has revealed the major ethical failings of our media.

Read the full article here. (Sri Lanka Guardian)

The menace of paid news

The entity called paid news, whereby a media outlet is remunerated to carry editorially a particular piece of information without any disclosure and often before an election, has become more and more common in recent years and correspondingly the demand for banning such news and punishing those who carry it has grown. The Press Council of India appointed a committee in 2010 to examine the issue but, thanks to intensive lobbying with the council by sections of the media industry which were cast in poor light by the report, it took considerable effort and time to put the report in the public domain. The government now, according to a news report, is contemplating changing several laws to make carrying paid news not just a punishable offence but also liable to serious penalties. The one measure which appears to have wide support is to declare publication of paid news an electoral offence. This will put it in the domain of the Election Commission which is held in high esteem. Hence there is comfort over any censure or more emanating from the Election Commission which will thereby acquire legitimacy.

Read the full article here. (Business Standard – India)

The right to know – and to find out

Last week, World Press Freedom Day highlighted the plight of foreign journalists who put life and liberty on the line. But while reporters in New Zealand don’t often face the threat of jail or death, that doesn’t mean the media’s freedom is guaranteed.

Read the full article here. (Radio New Zealand)

Indonesia Will Host World Press Freedom Day Next Year

Indonesia will host the World Press Freedom Day (WPFD) in 2017 as reported on Thursday (5/5) amid the prevailing negative views of the country’s press freedom record.

The Indonesian representative office at UNSECO in Paris announced the planned 2017 WPFD when the celebration of the 2017 WPFD in Helsinki was about to close on Thursday, according to Eko Maryadi, President of Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA) who attended the Helsinki gathering, confirmed the announcement. He is former chairman of the Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) as well an advisor to Global Indonesian Voices.

Read the full article here. (Global Indonesian Voices)

Press Freedom Day: Journalists cautioned against hate speech

Media practitioners and other stakeholders in the industry have called for better and constant training of journalists on how to detect and suppress hate speech while media houses were urged to put in place and enforce an in-house policy for social media use to keep dangerous speech at bay.

The call was made yesterday during a one-day conference organised in Kigali by different partners, including journalists’ associations in the country, the government, and UN agencies.

Read the full article. (New Times Rwanda)


Nepali President urges scribes to follow media ethics

President Bidya Devi Bhandari has said that the journalism sector should win hearts of readers disseminating true, factual and balanced news following the media ethics. Speaking at a programme organised to mark the first National Journalism Day and the 116th anniversary of the Gorakhapatra National Daily today, President Bhandari urged the Gorakhapatra Corporation to be competitive and balanced while developing its physical infrastructure.

Read the full article here. (The Himalayan)

What Vietnam’s New Media Laws May Mean For Its Press Freedom

Vietnam’s National Assembly held the last session of their five-year term earlier this month, before elections to choose new delegates are held later in the year. The final days of the parliamentary session also saw the passage of legislation that could have significant implications for the operation of the country’s press.

Read the full article here. (Forbes)


EJN participates in the first Global Editors Network Lab in Indonesia

The Ethical Journalism Network is excited to be participating in the first Editors Lab in Indonesia. Communications officer, Tom Law, will be leading a workshop about the ethics of mobile journalism, verifying information and protecting online sources.

Read the full schedule here.

Read the press release about the event here.

European conference marking Statewatch’s 25th anniversary




Civil liberties, the state and the European Union

10:00 – 17:00, Saturday 25 June 2016
Resource for London, 356 Holloway Road, London N7 ( map)

For 25 years Statewatch has been working to publish and promote investigative journalism and critical research in Europe in the fields of the state, justice and home affairs, civil liberties, accountability and openness. We invite you to join us in London on 25 June 2016 at our Conference where there will be:

Workshops and discussions on the refugee crisis in the Med and in the EU; mass surveillance; the EU’s crisis of legitimacy and accountability; the policing of protest and criminalisation of communities; racism, xenophobia and the far right; strategies of resistance and the defence of civil liberties.


Click to Book now:
Tickets provide entry to the conference, lunch and free tea/coffee/water all day.
You can choose the quantity of tickets after clicking the ‘buy now’ button.
You can also make a booking by post and pay with cheque or postal order – just fill in
this form (pdf) and return it to us.
Click to Book now:


Ann Singleton (Co-Chair, Statewatch), Tony Bunyan (Director, Statewatch), Deirdre Curtin, (Professor of European Union Law, European University Institute), Steve Peers (Professor of Law, University of Essex), Emilio de Capitani (FREE Group), Ralf Bendrath, Frances Webber (Institute of Race Relations, UK), Stratos Georgoulas (Lesvos, Greece), Gus Hosein (Privacy International), Val Swain (Netpol, UK), Steve Wright (Leeds Beckett University), Eric Topfer (CILIP, Berlin), Ben Hayes, Amandine Bach, Liz Fekete (Director, Institute of Race Relations), Matthias Monroy (Berlin), Eveline Lubbers (Undercover Research Group), Heiner Busch (Solidarité sans frontières, Switzerland), Suresh Grover (The Monitoring Group), Deborah Coles (Inquest), Dave Whyte (Liverpool John Moores University), Gareth Pierce (lawyer), Aidan White (Ethical Journalism Network), Eric Kempson (Hope Centre, Lesvos, Greece), Jean Lambert MEP (Green/EFA group), Stafford Scott (The Monitoring Group), Courtenay Griffiths QC, Ska Keller MEP (Green/EFA group), Lorenzo Trucco (ASGI, Italy), Caroline Intrand (Migreurop), Philippe Wanneson (Passeurs d’hospitalités, Calais), Vassilis Karydis (Acting Ombudsman of Greece), Staffan Dahllöf (Denmark) .