03.05.2012 - UNESCO

UNESCO launches initiative on media self-regulation in Egypt

Ola Sigvardsson, Press Ombudsman from Sweden - © UNESCO

More than 70 representatives of the Egyptian media community and civil society gathered on 24 April 2012 in the Syndicate of Journalists (EJS) to attend a roundtable on media self-regulation and learn from the world’s best practices, presented by five international experts from Germany, Indonesia, Pakistan, Sweden and United Kingdom.

Aidan White, Director of the International Coalition for Ethical Journalism and the Rapporteur of the roundtable, started by reminding participants that a process of democratization cannot go without defining ethical principles for media. He also reiterated that only Egyptian journalists could build up their own model of self-regulation as well as define their own professional standards.

During the first panel, Azhar Abbas, Managing Director of Geo TV (Pakistan), and Manfred Protze, Chairman of the Department for complaints in the German Press Council, presented cases of Pakistan and Germany, as well as their personal experience, regarding the role and the functioning of an independent body for adjudicating complains.

During the second panel, Bambang Harymurti, CEO of the Tempo Group and Deputy Chairman of Indonesia's Press Council, discussed the principles of self-regulation and editorial independence according to international standards, before presenting the history of Indonesia's Press Council. Then Ola Sigvardsson, Press Ombudsman from Sweden, gave participants an insight of his profession and his responsibilities.

During the roundtable participants were given an opportunity to discuss, present their opinions, ask questions and learn more about the experience of other countries in the area of media regulation.

The main outcome of the event was the adoption of a statement on the reform of self-regulatory system of media in Egypt and the creation of a working group, which will continue the concrete work on the establishment of an independent body for complains adjudication.

This meeting was the first in a series, organized by UNESCO’s Cairo Office, aiming at revitalizing media self-regulatory system in Egypt, and strengthening professional ethics and editorial independence of journalists.

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