European Code of Media Coverage Ethics


European Code of Media Coverage Ethics

EJC is piloting a code of ethics to help reconcile bloggers and journalists at international level. Do bloggers deserve the same rights as journalists? Should reporters from different countries share the same code of ethics?

Location: Maastricht, NL
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Latest Activity: Jul 22, 2013

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Started by Hanna McLean. Last reply by Hanna McLean Jan 14, 2011. 2 Replies

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Tags: media, ethics, photojournalism

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Comment by Valery Levchenko on November 13, 2011 at 12:24

Sorry to join the discussion in such a way. But I think it's not right to position a blogger as someone generally aspiring to journalism. Bloggers are socially active people that use new media tools to convey their message of good or bad and communicate with the public. Now, journalists who are bloggers must behave themselves as journalists. However it doesn't have to work the other way. It's important for the public to understand the extra lengths journalists would go to make sure their reporting, in media or new media, is unbiased and accurate. A media ethics code therefore should set the journalism standards, not the blogging ones. Blogging standsrds for journalists could be outlined in social media guidelines that could go together with the ethics code.

Comment by claudia costa on September 14, 2011 at 10:56
Hi Kevin, I read your post about the LA Central Basin Water District. Although for sure this is not the first nor the last time this kind of thing happens, I think it is very damaging to use fake news for business purposes: readers will start to question all other news too and the validity of media in general once they realise they are being given fake and misleading information. I think it is good to report and raise more awarness about these strategies because, trust me, there are still many people who have almost a "blind faith" in the mainstream media in particular and showing them how all of us are being somehow manipulated is a good way to start critical thinking. I am hearing increasingly more bad stories about Google and its power to shape our search on the Web. You see, even this is an example of how I naively believed Google (a mass media) would not mislead its audience (users). It looks like history will always repeat itself. That is why journalism is there: to expose this kind of wrongdoings and make people aware.
Comment by Kevin Z. Smith on September 14, 2011 at 4:36
It's been a bit quiet in this group so I thought I'd jumpstart a discussion.
Today, it was reported that a public utility service known as the Central Basin Water District (outside Los Angeles) spent more than $200,000 in taxpayer and customers' money to hire a marketing and public relations firm to write faux news stories about the great officials and service of the CBWD. It gets better. The firm then paid Google to have the stories rated high in search engine optimization so when someone searched for the water district the top stories would be these fake, complimentary articles.
I know this doesn't involve journalism ethics, but I was wondering if you've encountered anything like this. What do you think of people faking news to confuse the public and gain a strong showing for their clients?
Comment by Howard Hudson on November 18, 2010 at 12:52
Message from Udo Seiwert-Fauti, author of 'Germany’s call for ‘quality journalism’ & why Europe should listen':
Ethical codes are for a start ethical guidelines, who shadow the thinking in every country and show the way journalists see themselves and their work...they are closely linked to national law..see UK and Germany e.g,. Even when we think our attitude should be right there is / will be law coming in, see Monaco cases at Court of Human Rights. I am convinced we should start with our own work and exchange and express views on that, discussing it with others to find a more or less common platform. I see an European Code as an extract of all European countries, where ALL could agree on. Meaning, you can´t cover everything but we all agree on the basics we are working on and....follow it. If we would in future finally maybe have something like a "Law Code" then normally it will be discussed on the background of Human Rights aspects and then it would be very clear for 47 European countries. This is why I was linking it to the Council of Europe as an impartial and Human Rights observing institution. The good thing at the end would be: if it is agreed on this level all countries have to follow !
Comment by Kevin Z. Smith on November 15, 2010 at 21:16
I read this call to arms and my first word of caution is to make sure that we clearly delineate between legal and ethical approaches to "quality journalism." Too often in the U.S. ethical duties are confused with press rights and it muddies the water.
Recently I commented on the ethics of Keith Olbermann making campaign contributions. The reaction -- this is America and he has a right. It's is a legal question of rights, it's a moral question of whether he should and what those consequences are to journalism credibilty.
So, make sure press rights legalese doesn't overtake the thinking. Focus on the moral constructs of quality journalism.
Comment by Howard Hudson on November 15, 2010 at 11:49
New article: 'Germany’s call for ‘quality journalism’ & why Europe should listen'
> Also why should we include bloggers?
> It's brief and to the point, so please read and comment!
Comment by Emma Brewin on November 11, 2010 at 16:44
I'm following an 'online meditation for media' course being run by an organisation called Peace Revolution. They believe Inner Peace Time a.k.a meditation is key to leading a better life, and that inner peace can influence your relationships, family and even career.

You can learn more about meditation for Inner Peace here if you are interested.
Otherwise, check out this interesting Peace Revolution presentation on the ethics of media/social media for youth, delivered as a keynote at the 2010 World Summit on Media for Children and Youth in Karlstad, Sweden.
Comment by Kevin Z. Smith on November 10, 2010 at 18:21
In my 18 years of talking and teaching ethics the one thing I think is universal is this: The more minds you have and the more people and perspectives you have, the better the results. I don't think editors should hand down directives based on their personal morals. Not unless you're writing for the Papal Daily News.
I think productive ethical discussions need to take place before things happen. Codes are teaching tools, not instruments for bludgeoning journalists when they've made a mistake. So, more talk, more involvement from everyone, across the desk, room, across the borders and across the cultures leads to a pro-active environment.
Let me read and offer one person's perspective. I hope more people do the same and we can create that pro-active community.
Comment by Howard Hudson on November 10, 2010 at 16:50
Kevin, I agree that it takes more than one person's view to reconstruct a code of ethics.

It also needs more cross-platform and cross-border input, which is why we've drawn from several national codes while trying to include bloggers. I think this can work because there are more similarities than discrepancies, but also unique elements in each code.

In Italy, one priority is not to identify police and legal teams working on mafia trials. As organised crime is a global phenomenon, that principle could be vital elsewhere. In Germany, one aspect is not to report medical research in a sensationalist way, as it may give false hope to vulnerable readers. Again, I think that could be relevant to other countries and of interest to Beatrice.

The main questions now: What do you think is missing and why? Is there anything that shouldn't be in there and why? The more concrete we are, the more practical and useful we can make this discussion.
Comment by Beatrice Bray on November 8, 2010 at 21:21
Has anybody considered how bloggers and journalists should interact with people who have vulnerabilities?

This is the link for BBC policy on vulnerable contributors.

There are campaigners in the UK who would like to develop these guidelines in ways which fit better with more modern approaches to disability and ill health and the would like more media organisations to take these concerns on board.

I have not seen any rigorous studies here. If anyone has any references please let me know. I do however suspect that the nature of the internet can influence debates for good and ill. It can be a great way to share knowledge but it can also funnel hate attacks at very vulnerable people.

Journalists do put vulnerable people on public view. My question is how do we do it safely?

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