Building Trust in Media in South East Europe and Turkey


UNESCO supports new ethical guidelines and self-regulation for the media

Meeting in Sarajevo in November 2021, press councils from South East Europe and Turkey adopted the region’s first joint declaration calling for the strengthening of media ethics in the evolving digital information ecosystem.

The declaration stresses the critical importance of media self-regulation in promoting press freedom while combating online disinformation.

It is the outcome of a two-day conference organized within UNESCO’s EU-funded project ‘Building Trust in Media in South East Europe and Turkey – Phase 2 ’. Discussion focused on ways to enhance ethical standards within the media profession including new online media actors, and to increase membership of media in self-regulation systems.

The adoption of a Joint Declaration by all press councils of South East Europe and Turkey is a solid signal about the increased cooperation existing between self-regulatory mechanisms of the region. It is also a strong call for increased adherence of online media actors to ethical and professional media standards and a call to various stakeholders to strengthen the sustainability and effectiveness of media self-regulation.
Adeline Hulin, Project Officer at the UNESCO Liaison Office in Brussels

Along similar lines, 30 journalists from Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Sri Lanka gathered virtually in September 2021 to produce the ‘Code of Conduct to Improve Conflict Sensitive Reporting and Safety of Journalists in South Asia’. The reviewed and revised document was launched by UNESCO and the Public Media Alliance (PMA) in November 2021.

Code of conduct: improving conflict sensitive reporting and journalist safety in South Asia
Public Media Alliance

Conflict-sensitive reporting contributes to reconciliation and peace-building, which is at the heart of UNESCO’s mandate. The Code of Conduct aims to make reporting on conflict more comprehensive, insightful and trustworthy. It covers minimizing risks to communal harmony through impartial journalism, human rights and gendered approaches to reporting, and ensuring reliability and confidentiality of sources, among other areas.