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NEWS & EVENTSMEDIA ETHICS AND SELF-REGULATION WORKSHOP.
UNESCO’s Communication and Information Sector together with IPDC National Committee organized a one-day workshop focused on journalism ethics and self-regulation in Tanzania, held at the Ministry of Education, Science, Technology and Vocational Training venue on 01st March, 2018 in Dar es salaam. The IPDC is the only multilateral forum in the UN system designed to mobilize the international community to discuss and promote media development in developing countries. The Programme not only provides support for media projects but also seeks an accord to secure a healthy environment for the growth of free and pluralistic media in developing countries. This initiative is part of UNESCO’s ongoing promotion of media accountability through the establishment of voluntary self-regulation mechanisms, in the understanding that they are one of the pillars of an environment facilitating media’s role in advancing freedom of expression, democracy and development. Ethics refers to Moral rules of conduct that guide one’s decisions. Media ethics is the subdivision of applied ethics dealing with the specific ethical principles and standards of media, including broadcast media, film, theatre, the arts, print media and the internet. Media self-regulation is a joint endeavor by media professionals to set up voluntary editorial guidelines and abide by them in a learning process open to the public. By doing so, the independent media accept their share of responsibility for the quality of public discourse in the nation while fully preserving their editorial autonomy in shaping it. In recent years we have seen an increase in the number of complaints raising questions about journalistic ethics & sensitivity. Hence it is vital to promote self-regulation & educate journalists about a code of ethics that encourages sensitivity & self-regulation. Why is media self-regulation good for the press? By promoting standards, self-regulation helps maintain the media’s credibility with the public. This is particularly welcome in new democracies, most of which are also new to an independent press. Media self-regulation helps convince the public that the free media are not irresponsible. At the same time, self-regulation protects the right of journalists to be independent, and to be judged for professional mistakes not by those in power but by their colleagues. When it comes to correcting factual errors or violations of personal rights by the press, satisfaction over the judgments of self-regulatory bodies lessens pressure on the judiciary system to sanction journalists. Media Ethics and Self-Regulation looks closely at the moral dilemmas facing journalists in their day-to-day working lives and examines the self-regulatory bodies that police the various codes of practice. The objectives of the workshop were: ⎫To build awareness and educate journalists about media ethics, the Code of Professional Practice for Journalists and the mechanism of self-regulation in order to build the capacity of the media for more ethical, sensitive and accurate reporting. ⎫To strengthen the environment for press freedom, journalistic safety and/or self-regulation, for on-line and/or off-line media, through favorable policies and/or practices. ⎫To strengthen the partnership between UNESCO Natcom and IPDC National Committee activities Ms. Christina Musaroche, the Head of Communication and Information sector at UNESCO National Commission of the United Republic of Tanzania officially opened the workshop. In her opening speech, she thanked the IPDC Committee members, facilitators and participants for attending this workshop on Promoting Media Ethics and Self-regulation to the media practitioners and journalists. She also gave a nutshell introduction about IPDC National Committee and objectives for implementing this workshop. Four principles of ethical journalism 1. Seek Truth and Report It Ethical journalism should be accurate and fair. Journalists should be honest and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting information. ¥Take responsibility for the accuracy of their work. ¥Verify information before releasing it. ¥Use original sources whenever possible. ¥Remember that neither speed nor format excuses inaccuracy. 2. Minimize Harm ¥Ethical journalism treats sources, subjects, colleagues and members of the public as human beings deserving of respect. ¥Balance the public’s need for information against potential harm or discomfort. ¥Show compassion for those who may be affected by news coverage. 3. Act Independently ¥The highest and primary obligation of ethical journalism is to serve the public. Journalists should: ¥Avoid conflicts of interest, real or perceived. Disclose unavoidable conflicts. ¥Refuse gifts, favors, fees, free travel and special treatment, and avoid political and other outside activities that may compromise integrity or impartiality, or may damage credibility. 4. Be Accountable and Transparent ¥Ethical journalism means taking responsibility for one’s work and explaining one’s decisions to the public.
UNESCO Global Report