Albanian media met to discuss self-regulation
The second national roundtable on media self-regulation took place last month in Tirana, Albania, to discuss professional standards and ethical norms for new media. Participants expressed the need for a stronger role of moderators in online media and stressed the vulnerable position of journalists vis-à-vis media owners and editors, a significant problem impacting on media ethics.
Communication and Information news 17-11-2010 (Tirana)
The roundtable in Tirana was attended by journalists from mainstream media, academics, editors and representatives of the civil society. Albanian speakers described the main trends of new-media development and the primary ethical concerns in this area.
Aleksander Cipa, Editor-in-chief of Shqip daily and Chairman of the Albanian Trade Union of Journalists, focused on the main media development trends in the recent years. He particularly stressed the link between the economic and political interests of media owners, and the situation of journalists in terms of contractual arrangements. According to him, the situation is not favourable to achieving higher professional standards and causes ethical problems.
Ilda Londo, from the Albanian Media Institute, gave an overview of the development of online media in the country. She said that, due to the slow and late spread of the Internet access in Albania, the new media are far from being influential players in the media landscape and market. Although the Albanian online media and blogosphere are slowly gaining ground, they need to do more in terms of distinguishing themselves from traditional media and exploiting their nature (e.g. interactivity) for a better interaction with the public.
Rrapo Zguri, Professor at the Journalism Department of the University of Tirana, focused on the main ethical problems observed in new media. He mentioned, among other things, the language used in forums, blogs and other spaces, the cases of hate speech, breaches of privacy, copyright issues, stereotyping and prejudices.
Yavuz Baydar, ombudsman in the Turkish daily Sabah, provided a broad description of the media landscape in Turkey, including the relevant regulation, the media market, freedom of expression issues and main ethical violations known so far. He also focused on his work of ombudsman at the daily newspaper, describing the public interest for his duty, the interaction between readers and the newspaper, as well as the impact his position had on the work of journalists.
Participants showed a great interest for the ombudsman function in Turkey and stressed the problems and challenges that Albania is currently facing in this area. They expressed the need for a stronger role of moderators in online media, forums and blogs to screen the appropriateness of language and comments. The vulnerable position of journalists vis-à-vis editors and media owners was underlined as a significant problem impacting on media ethics. Another issue raised at the meeting was the government’s influence on the public administration to avoid suing journalists for defamation.
The roundtable was organized in the framework of the project, Alignment to International Standards in the Media Sector of South-East European Countries. Funded by the European Commission and implemented by UNESCO, this project aims at encouraging, assisting and accelerating media reforms in the South-East European countries.
Contact : Tarja Turtia, Division for Freedom of Expression, Democracy and Peace at t.turtia(at)unesco.org
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