After just three years the Ethical Journalism Network has established itself in the frontline of one of the great battles of the digital age – to build trust in journalism as a cornerstone of free expression and quality communications.
This week we launch our new website. It’s a fresh look for a campaign that is taking root across all platforms of journalism and in key battlegrounds for free expression around the world.
The EJN is working with local media, journalists and leading academics in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Middle East to create programmes that strengthen free media and put journalism at the heart of plans to promote critical thinking and ethical values as key elements in strategies for responsible communications in the public sphere.
- in China we are organising new work with universities and setting up a regional network to combat political threats;
- in Asia the EJN is working with media professional groups in Pakistan and Indonesia where hard-won freedoms are coming under pressure;
- in Africa the EJN is building its campaign Turning the Page of Hate to help media and journalists eliminate hate-speech in public discourse;
- in the Middle East we support co-operation between universities and media to support tolerance in communication;
- in the Western Balkans, we are working with media to strengthen internal governance and transparency.
At the same time we are continuing to produce detailed reports that focus on the challenges of modern journalism and, in partnership with the Missouri School of Journalism, we have launched the world’s first interactive and extensive database on self-regulation, ethics and standards for media – Accountable Journalism.
Details of all of these activities and the work we have done since our formal launch, including numerous reports, videos and articles can be found in the pages of this website, including Moving Stories our report of how media cover migration. Our work is free for use by editors, managers, journalists, students, teachers and anyone who believes in the core values of journalism.
The site also contains materials we have produced to explain our thinking about the role of journalism and why ethics are an antidote to the chaos, confusion and misinformation of modern communications. We explain the key values that drive journalism, how it differs from free expression and why ethical media can inspire a new era of responsible free expression.
The EJN recognises that journalism is in the midst of historic change. We live in a time when editors and reporters struggle to maintain their professionalism in the face of a changing culture of communications driven by the two-edged sword of digital technology.
This technology has created an inspiring world of open information. Today everyone can communicate freely and we are more connected than ever before. The days when a professional elite controlled the flow of information to a captured audience are gone forever.
But there is a darker side. Some corporations, governments and powerful interest groups with limited respect for democracy and human rights use stealth and surveillance to compromise our privacy rights and to exploit our personal information. At the same time technology has opened the door to more propaganda, plagiarism, malicious abuse, rumour and speculation.
So the open information landscape is both inspiring and dangerous. And that’s also why a movement to promote communications based on voluntary attachment to values of respect, tolerance and transparency is urgently needed.
But who should lead this – can we seriously leave it to law and government alone to protect our free expression rights? The evidence suggests not, so the work of the EJN to strengthen journalism and promote communications based on voluntary principles of restraint and respect is ever-more important.
In this work we are grateful for the solidarity of colleagues in Norway and the UK and particularly the Norwegian Foreign Ministry who have given us much-needed support in this start-up period. Now we are confidently moving forward.
The EJN management also has a newly-established Board of Trustees made up of media leaders from the UK and Norway. And we have completed the formal transition of the Network which is now registered as a charity in the United Kingdom.
The new website is part of our changing image. It ensures we are up to date and that we communicate more effectively, but it is built upon respect for old and enduring values.
The EJN believes news media will make a massive contribution to the digital age; technology will help, but more importantly it is the continuing commitment to cardinal principles and the ethics of respect, humanity and transparency that will secure the future of journalism.
We look forward to working with our founding supporters and new partners to strengthen journalism everywhere. If you are not yet part of the Network, join now. Sign up for our Newsletter and reports and follow us on twitter and our other social platforms.
Director & CEO