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31 March 2020

Activity Details (ID# 15496)  

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Title Seminar on ''Ethical standards and self-regulation of media'' 
Description - Original Location: Belgrade, Serbia (S&M) 
Status Completed 
Date 17/12/2007 
Location Belgrade, Serbia
Countries CoE Members: Serbia
  Joint Programme Activity - Media-Serb II
Joint Programme EC/CoE
JP Media-Serb II - Support to promote freedom of expression and information and freedom of media in accordance with CoE/EU standards    (Logframe)  (Activities)
Project Purpose 1 - 2006/DG2/JP/1648   Media-Serb 2 - To support the establishment of a regulatory framework for freedom of expression and for the media
Expected Result 1.3 - R.3 Media professionals are informed of and trained in their rights and responsibilities
Council of Europe Programme of Activities
I – Human Rights
Line of Action ⇒ I.3 – Human Rights in public policy
Programme ☆ I.3.4  Freedom of expression and information
Project 2004/DG2/41 Legislative assistance, training, awareness raising
Expected Result 2 Authorities are informed of and trained in CoE standards on freedom of expression and information, the media and information society issues, and exchange information at regional level on the implementation of those standards

Working Method

Organisation of meetings - Round Table 
Directorate (Service) DG II Human Rights (Media Division)
CoE Contact DERVISAGIC, Lejla   email
Web Pages
Documents & links
1 http://www.coe.int/T/E/human_rights/media/Agenda_15496.asp  
Last Modified 09/04/2008 

Activity Synopsis (ID# 15496) (Hide Synopsis)

Objective(s) The event was organized with aim to present basic professional standards which should be applied in the work of journalists. In accordance with ethical standards journalists are obliged to respect facts and the right of public to know. Still, in practice there are many problems. Existence of laws is not enough by itself. Beside laws and postive legislation it is also important to develop mechanisms of self-regulation in media 
Output/Results During the seminar, participants had a opportunity to learn more about role and importance of ethical standards in Europe today. The most important issue is to publish verifiable information. Some media have their specific and very detailed code of conduct and some media companies are having mediators, which are supervising work of journalist in editorial office. Role of mediator is useful and it presents positive example since mediator can help in better understanding between journalists and readers/viewers. In that way it is possible to find out opinion of people which are consumers of media and from the other side it can improve credibility of media in each particular society.

Also, participants had opportunity to hear more about experience of neighbouring country, Bosnia and Herzegovina which has established the Press Council in 2000. Bosnian Press Council has given citizens opportunity to apply against non-professional reporting and has mediation role between press and public. All disputes are solved only with journalistic tools: right to answer, publication of reclamation, apologise and official denial. The Council dealt with different obstacles such were financing and explanation that this kind of intervention is useful both for media and readers. In that point it is of high importance editors to understand benefits of self-regulation. Self-regulation and respect for professional code of conduct brings more professional media, higher credibility in media and better quality of information in society.

Speakers and participants agreed that journalists have to be responsible and should avoid discrimination based on race, sex, religion, language, ethnical and social origins. There is a right to have different editorial concepts but journalists and editors are obliged to make difference between facts and assumptions and guesses.

Serbian practice regarding some ethical standards was also presented and discussed.
Protection of sources of information is basic precondition for journalists work and the freedom of expression. On the other side it might be a dangerous tool since in practice, in Serbia there are more and more articles which are based on anonymous sources and can be used for manipulation, promotion of some fake information on some events and persons and can make significant influence on public opinion. Media which are using anonymous sources often can put in question its own credibility.

The standard which is one of the most frequent violated both in printed and electronic media is presumption of innocence. Media should not be judges and have to pay attention to use right terms when reporting on some police and judicial investigations and releases and to make difference within terms «accused person» and «convicted».

Countries in transition are also dealing with a problem of reporting which is not using proper language or truth, verifiable facts and their work can be described as call for violence and discrimination of some persons or groups. This situation can become a real campaign provoked by publication of fake and non-certified information.
Conclusions/Follow Up Conclusion of this seminar was that journalist should respect privacy and integrity of people and apply professional standards in their work. There are many traps which should be avoided and beside journalists and editors it is useful to have some professional associations which could follow those issues (such as press Council, Trade Unions). Participant agreed that this kind of trainings are useful for journalists to better understand their rights and responsibilities and to improve quality of their professional work. 
Participants Participants of the semianr were editors, journalist and media professionals 
Consultants/Experts • Mr Dragan Janjic, Assistant Minister, Ministry of Culture, Serbia – opening statements
• Mr Jean-Claude Allanic, editor, mediator of the TV channel France 2, from 2000 to 2005 - Role and importance of ethical standards, Role of Media in Democratic Societies; Benefits of Self-Regulation; Media Ethics and Accountability Systems
• Mr Nermin Durmo, Sale Manager of the Public Broadcasting Service of Bosnia and Herzegovina, former Director of the Press Council of Bosnia and Herzegovina - Role and importance of ethical standards, Experience of Bosnia and Herzegovina
• Mr Dejan Milenkovic, The Lawyers Committee For Human Rights (YUCOM) - Ethical standards of the media in Serbia: anonymous sources, the principle of truthfulness – media campaigns, presumption of innocence
CoE Secretariat  
Total No. Participants 20 
Last Modified


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