Ethical and Responsible journalism: the EMAC project

The proliferation of mass media and new technologies has brought about decisive changes in and challenges to human communication processes and behaviour. The change in the media landscape has also impacted the role and social, professional and ethical responsibilities of journalists. These changes in the role that the media plays in the life of citizens have highlighted the importance of responsible media reporting.

Media communicators and audiences now face the task to separate facts from fiction in media texts. However, it is the responsibility of journalists and broadcasters in traditional and online media to consider the elements that they introduce in the content they are producing, the language that they use and the message they are trying to convene. There have been initiatives spearheaded by journalists and media organisations (BBC, The Guardian…) to go back to the essence of journalism by retaking the task of fact checking, and applying what is consider the five core principles of ethical journalism: truth and accuracy; independence; fairness and impartiality; humanity; and accountability. (see Ethical Journalist Network)

The Ethical Media for Active Citizenship (EMAC) project aims to develop a training course delivering media literacy tools while providing citizens and media activists with valuable competences to face very topical challenges presented to both, media producers and audiences (fake news/alternative facts, infomercials vs. information, freedom of speech and hate speech, diversity and pluralism in media, production values and content placement). The project is coordinated by NEAR FM (Ireland) and the partnership includes Radio Corax (Halle, Germany), Radio Wüste Welle (Tübingen, Germany), Commit (Austria), EMARTV (Andalucia, Spain) and AMARC Europe (Brussels, Belgium).

So far, the partners have put together a Guidelines and Terminology document, selected relevant activities that focus on the reinforcement of a diversity approach to journalistic and production skills. Some of the activities have been already trialled in pilot training workshops in Germany, Austria, Ireland and Spain. We are now facing the final stage of the project, where all the information and activities will be translated into the languages of the partnership (German, Spanish and English and then uploaded to an online training platform that will be accessible to the general public and that could be used as a e-learning tool or as a training resource.

As part of the project, partners will also produce eight radio programmes dealing with the issue of fact accuracy, fake news and ethical and responsible journalism that will be uploaded in the website and that could be used as training resources in each country.