THE PRESS COUNCIL IN BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA
in cooperation with UNESCO and the European Union
organized the regional educational assembly
“Challenges for Media Self-Regulation and Online Journalism”
June 9 – 10, 2016, Konjic
The Press Council in BiH successfully realized the regional educational assembly “Challenges for Media Self-Regulation and Online Journalism”, in Konjic, from the 9thto the 10thof June 2016, for representatives of self-regulatory bodies from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania, Montenegro, Kosovo, Macedonia, Serbia and Turkey. The two-day assembly was realized by the Press Council in BiH with financial support of UNESCO and the European Union.
Digital technologies are dramatically changing media eco-systems and the ways in which news and information are gathered, exchanged and consumed. These changes have challenged and redefined the nature and practices of traditional journalism, as well as the relation between the media and its readers. Professional journalists and traditional media now have to share the scene with twitterists, bloggers, citizens – journalists and social network users. Furthermore, the transition from offline to online journalism has caused a number of professional, legal and ethical challenges for journalists.
The two-day educational assembly presented an opportunity for participants from the region and Turkey to discuss about online media ethics, the position of traditional media in relation to new media, as well as the possibilities of solving the problems of web portals without visible contact information and the abuse of the freedom of expression through hate speech and discriminatory contents in comments of internet portal visitors.
With welcoming words, the assembly was opened by Ms. Ljiljana Zurovac, Executive Director of the Press Council in BiH and Mr. Dario Novalic, President of the Board of Directors of the Press Council in BiH.
“We hope that this assembly will assist you in resolving everyday problems. We have exceptional lecturers who came to share insights on ethics of new media. We will also get to know colleagues and discuss about the problems and dilemmas we face,” said Ms. Zurovac, Executive Director of the Council to the attendees.
Ms. Adeline Hulin, UNESCO Program Consultant at the Department for Freedom of Expression and Media Development, introduced the project “Building Trust in media in South East Europe and Turkey”, which is being realized in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania, Montenegro, Kosovo, Macedonia, Serbia and Turkey. The leader of the project is the Press Council in BiH, the firs self-regulatory body for press and online media in the Western Balkans and Southeast Europe. The aim of the project is to strengthen freedom of expression, free and current access to information, as well as to strengthen the capacity of free, professional media and media pluralism. This is the foundation by which journalists and media organizations in Southeast Europe and Turkey should be recognized as key movers of democratic, sustainable and peaceful development in the region.
The assembly gathered representatives of the Press Council in BiH, the Press Council of Serbia, the Media Council for Self-regulation of Montenegro, the Press Council of Kosovo, the Council for Media Ethics of Macedonia, the Press Council of Turkey, the Ombudsman for “News” of Montenegro, as well as representatives from the newly founded Press Council of Albania, who shared the problems they face and future plans with their more experienced colleagues.
“Self-regulation is a lengthy, but secure process. We have to be patient because we are changing the consciousness in the profession, rather than imposing rules. A journalist must be aware that acceptance of ethical rules is the basis of the journalism profession,” said Ms. Zurovac.
The topics of foundations of digital journalism, legal, regulatory and ethical aspects of journalism in the digital age, the legal issues and legal definitions of journalism, the responsibility of mediators as well as key ethical issues in the digital age were addressed by Ms. Gillian Phillips, Director of the Editorial-Legal Services of the daily Guardian, United Kingdom; Mr. Dean Starkman, Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Investigatory Journalism and Former Editor of the Columbia News Review, Hungary; Ms. Nevena Krivokapic, Member of the Complaints Commission of the Press Council of Serbia and Ms. Amy Brouillette, Director of the European Media Project, Center for Media and Society, CEU, Hungary.
Within the panel “Regional Cooperation – advancing professionalism in the media”, the participants spoke about the following topics: “What can we do together to improve media ethics in our countries,” “Guidelines for online media – needs, problems and ideas,” New media – new ethics.” The panelists were Ms. Gordana Novakovic, Secretary General of the Press Council of Serbia, Prof. Dejan Donev from Macedonia, as well as members of Media NEThics – the Regional Network of Self-Regulatory bodies.
The program also consisted of practical work – simulation of the work of the Complaints Commission of the Press Council, through analysis of citizen’s complaints regarding coverage of the press and online media. The last day of the education assembly included a visit to the Tito’s Bunker Museum.
The participants concluded that it is necessary to continue with the exchange of experiences in order to find solutions for all major challenges created by digital technology, such as moderating internet portal visitors’ comments, correcting articles published online, “the right to forget”, usage of content from social networks, protection of copyrights, audio-video content published by online media as well as the application and adaptation of existing professional Codices to new media.
The educational assembly was realized within the UNESCO/EU project – “Building Trust in media in South East Europe and Turkey”.