European Federation of Journalists

Media Councils in the Digital Age

The digital revolution is largely impacting the way journalists and media are producing and sharing news content. In this changing media landscape, self-regulatory bodies, which were created before the digital revolution for most of them, must adapt to the involving environment.

This project aims at highlighting the important role of press and media councils in times of decreasing trust towards journalists and media outlets combined with increasing disinformation on new media. It will look at the digital challenges through 4 main components: academic work to provide data and analysis regarding existing press councils, awareness campaign to promote media self-regulation, visibility and exchanges of media councils’ works on the international scene and strengthening of existing organisations or support to future organisations.

Project’s website

Overall Objective

The overall objective of this project is to ensure that press and media councils play a significant role in Europe in addressing the new challenges of the digital age.

This project aims to support the European model of media self-regulation as a major part of a strategy to protect media freedom and encourage professionalism in journalistic content, while gaining a better understanding of the consequences and challenges of digital developments for press and media councils.

Specific Objectives

1 – Inform the international community on the detailed functioning and role of press and media councils in Europe, in the digital age, through surveys and the creation of an online platform to share results and best practices;

2- Improve the recognition of press and media councils’ role and media self-regulation benefits in general, in particular in light of the importance to ensure compliance to journalistic ethics in print, broadcast and online media and ensure trust in professional journalism at the time of disinformation;

3- Provide access and direct contact to European press and media councils for targeted demands of support from external actors wishing to learn from press and media councils, their added-value and their functioning, but also demands of supports for the creation of new media councils, with the possibility to provide direct financial support where needed;

4- Contribute with relevant expertise to the global dialogue on ethical and professional journalistic standards in the digital age (including matters related to social media, artificial intelligence and news automation in journalism).

Actions Master Class on Digital Journalism and Ethics will hold a EU Master Class on Digital Journalism focusing on digital ethics and digital empowerment of young journalists and students of the profession. The curriculum includes training on digital security, data journalism, AI in journalism and ethical standards in online news. These sessions will be led by international experts who will guide the participants to analyse the ethical standards of journalistic materials from the view of press councils. This will allow participants to discover how press councils work and the critical questions upon which the councils’ work is based. The call for applications is open from today via this…

New podcast on media ethics: A case for the press council 

The press councils from Belgium, Finland and Germany released a joint podcast exploring two important cases that show what reporting standards like truthfulness and the protection of victims mean for everyday life reporting. The two episodes are available on Spotify and Apple Podcasts. Truthfulness, human dignity and corrections of mistakes: these are the main standards followed by most professional media in Europe. But what do these standards mean for everyday reporting? For example, how do journalists cover accidents and human tragedies without hurting the victims’ dignity? And how do they differentiate themselves from disinformation via social media?  The first episode entitled ‘A traffic…

Call for financial support open to EU-based press councils, journalists associations and media outlets

To mark World Press Freedom Day, the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) and its partners have just published two calls for Expression of Interest as part of the Media Councils in the Digital Age project, whose objective is to support media self-regulation bodies in addressing the new challenges of the digital age. These calls for Expression of Interest are the first step leading to the award of two grants of 15,000€ which will be provided to newly established press councils and also journalists’ associations, media organisations and/or a consortium of both based in the European Union. The financial support aims to strengthen…

Gag lawsuit initiated against the French press council

The management of the French weekly Valeurs Actuelles and the French Union of Magazine Publishers (SEPM) have launched legal proceedings against the French press council, (‘Conseil de déontologie journalistique et de médiation, CDJM’), the independent body that mediates between journalists, media, news agencies and the public on all matters relating to journalistic ethics in France.  The International and European Federations of Journalists (IFJ/EFJ) denounce this attempt to torpedo the CDJM and reaffirm their support for a body that aims to restore trust and improve professional ethics. The court will examine the case on 2 February initiated by Valeurs Actuelles on…

New reports highlight journalists’ ethical challenges in the digital age and need for enhanced dialogue with media councils

The Blanquerna School of Communication and International Relations and the four journalism schools in French-speaking Belgium today released two reports looking at journalists’ and journalism students’ perceptions of self-regulation bodies, ethical standards and challenges they face in the digital age. The findings show that more dialogue and awareness is needed to apprehend ethics in today’s journalism. The Blanquerna School of Communication and International Relations collected data on the perception of media councils by working journalists and how they adapt themselves to the challenges in the digital age. More than 400 working journalists from Austria, Belgium, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Ireland, Italy,…

Takeaways from webinar “Media councils in the digital age: how to regain trust and ethics in journalism”

After a successful year regarding the EU-supported Media Councils projects, the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) hosted an online webinar on 11 January 2021 to talk about the achievements and the next phase. Three members of the European Parliament, Petra Kammerevert, Ramona Strugariu and Alexandra Geese, Deputy Head of Unit (DG Connect) Audrius Perkauskas and four consortium members discussed and exchanged respective insights and best practices. The EFJ is the coordinating partner bringing together several European press councils and two universities. Renate Schroeder, Director at the EFJ, moderated the event, which she kicked off by emphasising that self-regulation and press…