Plans and measures from the Journalist Ethics Commission Congress
The Congress of the Journalist Ethics Commission Congress held on 19 November in Kyiv gathered more than 100 journalists from around the country.
The Commission has existed for over 5 years, created initially by 80 journalists. Since then around one thousand journalists have adopted the Code of Ethics.
The Congress decided unanimously to not have owners of media outlets or public figures on the Commission, the number of whose members was reduced to 15.
Serhiy Huz, Head of the Independent Media Trade Union talks of the Commissions work: “We have tried to broaden the number of editorial offices with editorial agreements. We were able to hold negotiations and agree with such offices that the Commission would act as an arbitration court. That was difficult, but we achieved it. We have worked in 5 regions. I think that the work of the Commission can be improved most simply by publishing its details in the mass media. The Commission has already been recognized by the authorities. The next step is that journalists and media owners recognize it.”
It was also decided that an expert council would be formed, with a consultative, but non-voting role.
On the Commissions initiative a textbook has been published: “Journalist ethnic” [authors – Valery Ivanov and Volodymyr Serdyuk]. With the textbook as a base, a number of seminars are planned for lecturers in journalist ethics.
“I hope that our textbook will be of use”, Valery Ivanov, President of the Ukrainian Press Academy said. “We have already held two seminars for lecturers. Students need to become familiar with issues of professional ethics from the very outset, and not in their fourth year when the subject is now taught. By then theyre not studying, theyre already journalists doing their practice. These days, young people are excessively cynical and when they arrive in an editorial office, for them the main thing is the objective, how they achieve this is not seen as important. That is terrible. An older person feels that and if they have done or said something bad, they feel guilty, whereas with young people thats missing. Therefore I believe that courses in ethics need to be taught in the first years and with a larger number of hours”.
Tetyana Kotyuzhynska, IREX: “I look at the issue of journalist ethics from the point of view of courts and judges. At the beginning of the Commissions work the amounts in compensation were much bigger, as were the number of actual appeals. In 2006 there have only been 400 suits lodged by media outlets or journalists. Thats not much
Many journalists say that they would prefer to turn to another body than to the courts. We need to help them in this. And Ive also noticed that the authority of the Commission depends on the authority of the Commission members, and therefore I think its important that those people are elected who can represent the Commission in any region of Ukraine.”