10th January 2018
By Tom Law

Ethical standards and self-censorship

International Conference: Free European Media 2018

Gdansk, Poland – 15-16 February 2018

The Ethical Journalism Network’s Tom Law took part in the Free European Media conference in Gdansk, Poland on a panel entitled “Ethical standards and self-censorship” on 16 February 2018.

The keynote speaker of the panel, which will the second day of the conference, was Matthew Caruana Galizia, son of Daphne Caruana Galizia the Maltese investigative journalist who was brutally murdered in October 2017.

Kjersti Løken Stavrum, director of Tinius, Norway and former secretary general of the Norwegian Press Association, will moderate the panel discussion. Kjersti is a member of the EJN’s board of trustees. The panellists will be:

  • Marilyn Clark, professor at the University of Malta will deliver a speech about the survey on self-censorship in Europe.
  • Tom Law, Ethical Journalism Network
  • Marina Tuneva, executive director of Media Ethics Council Macedonia

International Conference: Free European Media 2018

During the post-World War II era, visionary European leaders established institutions and developed conventions that combined media and democracy to keep the peace in Europe. The Council of Europe, the European Union, the OSCE (based on the Helsinki Final Act) all regard media freedom as a fundamental pillar of democracy. Today, in several countries we find that the links between free and pluralistic media and politics are being challenged.

Hate speech and fake news are rife, citizens are getting more and more confused as propaganda undermines the credibility of our news media, and our fundamental values are under attack. Impartial and accurate journalism is under attack.

It is high time to address the importance of uncensored, pluralistic media for the development of our free democracies in Europe.

The conference will discuss:

  • Media and politics in conflict in Europe
  • Keeping new media and independent journalism free from state control
  • The latest media developments in Poland
  • Pluralism and democracy
  • Legislation and media freedom
  • Ethical standards and self-censorship

International cooperation

The Free European Media Conference 2018 is organized by the European Federation of Journalists in cooperation with: the Council of Europe, Nordic Journalism Centre, European Centre for Press and Media Freedom, International Press Institute, European Federation of Public Service Unions, City of Gdansk, Pomorskie Region and European Solidarity Centre. national partners: SDP (Association of Polish Journalists), SDRP (Journalists’ Association of the republic of Poland) and TD (Society of Journalists).

Conference Programme

13.00 Welcome to Gdansk

  • Basil Kerski, Director of European Solidarity Center (ECS)
  • Pawel Adamowicz, President, City of Gdansk

Welcome speeches

  • Patrick Penninckx, Head of Department, Information Society, Council of Europe
  • Manuel Mateo Goyet, Representative of EU Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society
  • Mogens Blicher Bjerregård, President, European Federation of Journalists (EFJ)

13.45 Pluralism creates and sustains democracy

Keynote: Harlem Désir, OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media
Moderator: Patrick Penninckx, Head of Department, Information Society, Council of Europe

  • Pluralism as the driver for an independent media
  • Media financing and preserving the arm’s length principle
  • Preventing public service media from becoming state media
  • Keeping politicians out of the editorial suite
  • How to fight the weaponization of information

Elda Brogi, Scientific Coordinator of the Centre for Media Pluralism and Media Freedom (CMPF) at the European University Instiute (EUI), Florence
Baris Altintas, MLSA founder, journalist and blogger
Monika Valecic, Programme Coordinator, Croatian Journalists’ Association
Marton Gergely, former Editor, HVG Weekly

15.15 The latest media developments in Poland

Moderator: Mogens Blicher Bjerregård, President, European Federation of Journalists (EFJ)

  • Media status in Poland
  • Free media
  • Public service
  • Keeping politicians out of the editorial suite

Alexandra Rybinska, Board member, Association of Polish Journalists (SDP)
Tomasz Milkowski, International secretary of the Main Board, Association of the Republic of Poland (SDRP)
Krzysztof Bobinski, Society of Journalists (TD)

15.45 Break

16.15 Keeping new media and independent journalism from state control

Keynote: Galina Arapova, Director, Mass Media Defence Centre

Moderator: Tomasz Wróblewski, Polish journalist, former Editor-in-Chief of Newsweek Polska, Rzeczpospolita and Wprost.

  • Private media and developing new markets
  • Saving public service media as one of the pillars of liberal democracy
  • Can the big internet giants be effectively regulated at the national level?
  • Innovative youngsters – what is their influence?
  • The future of investigative journalism

Wout van Wijk, Director, News Media Europe
Maja Vasic-Nikolic, Project team coordinator, Independent Journalists’ Association of Serbia
Jean Philip de Tender, Director Media at European Broadcasting Union
Gulnara Akhundova, Head of Department for Global Response at International Media Support

17.45 Break

18.00 Debate with president Lech Walesa
Interview with Lech Walesa, the former Polish president, and Peace Nobel Prize winner; conducted by Grzegorz Nawrocki, a former journalist of the Polish National Television (TVP).

18.30 Networking

Friday 16 February 2018

9.00 Ethical standards and self-censorship

Keynote:  Matthew Caruana Galizia, Pulitzer prize-winning journalist (ICIJ)
Moderator: Kjersti Løken Stavrum, CEO, Tinus

  • Improving Press councils across Europe
  • How to deal with fake news and manipulation
  • Self-censorship
  • Are codes of conduct working?

Marilyn Clark, Professor, University of Malta
Tom Law, Director of Communication, Ethical Journalism Network
Marina Tuneva, Executive Director, Media Ethics Council Macedonia

10.30 Break

11.00 How legislation violate media freedom

Keynote: Scott Griffen, Deputy Director, International Press Institute (IPI)
Moderator: Silvia Chocarro, Senior Consultant, IFEX Network Paris

  • Mapping violations of the media
  • The impact of the Council of Europe safety platform
  • Surveillance – a modern way to harass the media
  • Media legislation on the wrong track
  • Access to information for journalists and citizens

Dominika Bychawska-Siniarska, Lawyer, Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights
Freja Wedenborg, journalist, specialized in legislation regard data
Jodie Ginsberg, CEO, Index on Censorship (IOC)
Flutura Kusari, Legal Advisor, European Centre for Press & Media Freedom (ECPMF)

12.30 Conclusions and goals for the future

  • Scott Griffen, International Press Institute (IPI)
  • Galina Arapova, Director, Mass Media Defence Centre
  • Mogens Blicher Bjerregård, President, European Federation of Journalists (EFJ)

13.00 End of Free Media Conference 2018

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) is the largest organisation of journalists in Europe, representing over 320.000 journalists. 70 member organisations in 44 European countries.