18 April 2019

EJN Annual report 2018/19: Ethics and the Fight for the Future of Journalism

Our year in numbers:

Over the last year, the EJN reached far more than the participants through our core activities than ever before. 

We carried out 166 programme-related actions (50 more than the same period last year) where the EJN had direct contact with our target groups – journalists and media executives; media academics and students of journalism; policymakers and civil society groups totalling over 7,100 individuals.


Summary of EJN Activities 2018-2019

The major EJN achievements during the past year include:

  1. Establishing with Turkish media partners the ground-breaking Coalition for Ethical Journalism in Turkey, proving that even in hostile conditions ethical journalism is a source of solidarity for news media;
  2. Supporting and preparing policy on media ethics as a bulwark for democracy through the Declaration for Information and Democracy launched at the Paris Peace Forum (November 2018) and endorsed by a number of governments;
  3. Preparing a blueprint for future journalistic work through a course on Ethics and Data Journalism that will bring artificial intelligence and the social intelligence of journalists together in a new values-based framework for media work;
  4. Helping to frame the Council of Europe’s declaration of financial journalism (February 2019) and a recommendation on creating an environment for quality journalism that will be published later this year;
  5. Working with media across the Western Balkans to identify trustworthy and ethical media leading, in March, 2019, to the Launch of the Balkan Network of Trusted Media, supported by more than 40 leading news media;
  6. Continuing to lead the media campaign against hate speech with support for published glossaries on hate speech for journalists in Cyprus, Turkey, Jordan and Palestine;
  7. In the UK submitting evidence to the high-profile, government-commissioned Cairncross Review, which proposes a radical rethinking of how to fund journalism – particularly at a local level – and points the way to a sustainable future for journalism;
  8. Working with Chinese media, journalists and media academics to develop practical tools to raise awareness of ethics and self-regulation;
  9. Developing a course on Copyright and Author’s rights for African journalists;
  10. Successfully launching the EJN’s Ethical Media Audits – a tool to improve transparency and governance in the ownership and administration of media – with an independent news leader in Jordan;
  11. Opening the first phase of a two-year project to promote independent journalism in Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic and Slovakia in partnership with the Evens Foundation.

Ongoing Programmes

  1. The strengthening of our programme with UNESCO and the European Federation of Journalists to support independent media in the Western Balkans targeting self-regulation and good governance. This year activities were focused on Albania, Bosnia, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey;
  2. The completion of the labour migration fellowship scheme for journalists in Jordan, Lebanon and Gulf states with the International Labour Organization (ILO);
  3. The EJN hate speech test is now available in over 25 languages, with new glossaries in development in Jordan and Palestine; this year the campaign reached the Caribbean for the first time;
  4. Published two new versions of the EJN Annual Magazine on ethics in the news Trust in Ethical Journalism: The Key to Media Futures (2018) and Saving the News: Ethics and the Fight for the Future of Journalism (2019);
  5. The completion of the EJN’s EU-funded project in Montenegro on ethical standards in journalism and media literacy;
  6. The world’s first searchable database of media codes, press councils and standards, to which new codes are added on a continuing basis. (

The President’s Notebook: Ethical Lessons for Media in Coverage of the Terror Attacks in Christchurch

The President’s Notebook is Aidan Whites blog about media ethics,  the future of journalism.

One month after the mass killing of 50 people at two mosques in the New Zealand city of Christchurch, media are still considering the major ethical challenges facing journalists trying to cover terrorist violence in the age of the Internet.

The killer, in this case, was tech savvy. This self-confessed white supremacist chose to spread his message rapidly and deployed the full range of online tools for this purpose by live streaming the attack itself on Facebook and by circulating online an incendiary 74-page manifesto of hate.

Media covering the incident had to make sure they did their jobs as journalists and told the story of what was happening, but did not amplify the message of hate or assist the circulation of propaganda.

In Britain, some media woefully failed this test of their professionalism.


For more on this subject read 'New Zealand’s news media entered uncharted territory on March 15 by Paul Thompson, CEO & Editor in Chief, Radio New Zealand for the Public Media Alliance.

Saving the News: Ethics and the Fight for the Future of Journalism

The EJN’s latest magazine on international media ethics “SAVING THE NEWS: Ethics and the fight for the future of journalism” is now available online.

It features 20 articles by journalists in countries including Honduras, Kenya, Kosovo, Mexico, the Philippines, Spain, and South Sudan. 

Among many subjects, it covers hate speech in Arabic media, putting gender on the agenda and the relationship between big tech and journalism. 


Alan Rusbridger launches the magazine at the International Journalism Festival Perugia

Watch the Ethical Journalism Network’s CEO Hannah Storm talk to contributors to the magazine, Lina Ejeilat, James Ball and Alan Rusbridger, at the International Journalism Festival in Perugia. 


Dorothy Byrne chairs debate at the Frontline Club to launch the magazine in London

In the seventh of our series of ‘Ethics in the News’ events at the Frontline Club in London, we brought together authors from the EJN’s latest report to discuss ethics and the key challenges in fighting for the future of journalism.

Chaired by Dorothy Byrne, Head of News and Current Affairs at Channel 4, the discussion featured Salim AminAidan WhiteChris Elliott and Hannah Storm.


RSF index 2019: regional analysis

China is using Facebook to build a huge audience around the world - But its methods look fishy (The Economist)

- Information wars: Ukraine’s Election Is an All-Out Disinformation Battle (The Atlantic)

- Photojournalism: World Press Photo disinvites photographer to industry awards (CJR)  

- Newsroom ethics: Newsweek engages Poynter Institute to reinforce newsroom standards, ethics & best practices (Poynter)  

- Youtube: The Most Measured Person in Tech Is Running the Most Chaotic Place on the Internet (NYT)

- European elections 2019: EFJ Manifesto calls to endorse 8 principles for free media (EFJ)

- Bias: The patronising interviewer, who is a landlord, demonstrated the contempt with which many landlords view renters (Guardian)


The ICFJ has just launched a new survey to expand on their 2017 study on the State of Tech in Global Newsrooms.

The survey is available in 14 
languages and can be accessed here:


Reporters in the Field - The grant for your cross-border research (Robert Bosch Stiftung)
Reporting on Vulnerable Children in Care (Thomson Reuters Foundation)
Call for proposals: Media and Information Literacy for Civil Society Organisations in 5 Western Balkan Countries (SEENPM)
Global Conference: Call for Research Papers/Abstracts (GIJN)


Visit the Accountable Journalism database of codes of media ethics
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