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Media responsibility and ethics in a changing media environment

“Self-regulation by the media is a means of reducing influence by the State and other sectors of society over media content,” said Volodymyr Ariev (Ukraine, EPP/DC) when presenting his report on “Media responsibility and ethics in a changing media environment” to the Committee on Culture, Science, Education and Media.

“In view of the exponential growth in Internet-based media and the related changes in the internal structure of media outlets, media outlets should be a primary factor for defining and upholding the professional standards of their staff as well as those contributing to their media content. Media outlets should establish corporate codes of ethics and media ombudspersons as well as mechanisms for complaints or other reactions by their readers, listeners or viewers with regard to compliance with such corporate codes”, he said.

The Culture Committee, which fully endorsed Mr Ariev’s report, thought that member states should strengthen practical activities aimed at raising self-regulatory ethical standards among journalists and the media, including support for the professional training of journalists and support for public service broadcasters to set ethical standards such as the Editorial Principles and Guidelines by the European Broadcasting Union.

The Committee called on member states’ to support media self-regulation nationally while respecting media freedom in accordance with the European Convention on Human Rights. “Limitations by public authorities to freedom of expression and information through the media must be prescribed by law, pursue a legitimate objective and be necessary in a democratic society” the Committee concluded.

The PACE will discuss Mr Ariev’s report at its summer session (Strasbourg, 22-26 June 2015).