We live in an uncertain world. None of us can be entirely sure how we would respond when called to report on a terror attack or incident. On such occasions, journalists are expected to act calmly and professionally, putting their own fear and emotions to one side. They must report with regard to their own safety and the safety of others, while covering such incidents with accuracy, impartiality and clarity.
The ways in which journalists report on such incidents and how they respond to violence and hate speech in the media, is especially critical at a time when public trust in the media is at an unprecedented low. Good journalism is at the core of rebuilding public trust in the media. How journalists react and work when confronted with acts of terrorism, hate speech and violence is fundamental to maintaining peaceful and stable societies.
PMA believes that adequate and relevant training provides journalists and media practitioners with a supportive framework, enabling them to deal with major events in a professional, rather than sensationalist, manner. Alongside training and preparedness, clear and established guidelines, developed collaboratively, are also an essential tool. Such guidelines support the media in their aim to be productive and neutral in their coverage of acts of terror and hate speech in the region. Working collaboratively also helps to build and strengthen strong, cross border, professional networks.
In March 2019, the PMA, with the support of UNESCO International Programme for the Development of Communication and the Ethical Journalism Network (EJN), ran a 3-day workshop in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The event provided an opportunity for journalists and media professionals from across the region to work together to develop guidelines that set out policies and best practices for the coverage of terrorism, hate speech and violence.
Sally-Ann Wilson, CEO. Public Media Alliance
Watch Aidan White explain how to use the EJN’s 5-Point Test for Hate Speech in this video