Fecha: Wednesday, 03 de November de 2021 a las 18:45h
As a university that offers the Degree in Journalism, we join the vindication of the importance of the Code of Ethics formulated by the Association of Journalists of Catalonia and the Information Council of Catalonia (CIC). They call for a “media ecosystem based on respect for the Code of Ethics and the system of self-regulation that guarantees compliance”. They have issued a joint statement on the matter.
The signatories of this text, including our university, note that, along with great opportunities for journalism, the digital environment has led to the proliferation of “fake news, rumours, prejudice, hate messages, manipulation campaigns and appeals to emotion over veracity”. This reality contributes to a “polarised society and limited critical thinking”. At the same time, it is the ideal breeding ground for the generation of “interest platforms in the guise of media” and the casualisation of journalism practices.
In this context, it is stressed that honest journalism is “more necessary than ever” and that the profession must rise to the challenge and take up an “active fight against disinformation”. The aim is to revive the values of journalism which, in short, are “the essence of the values of the Code of Ethics that the Association of Journalists of Catalonia approved in 1992 and further extended in 2006”, says the statement.
The role of the CIC
Given that the Code of Ethics is the “main tool” of the journalist profession to carry out its duty of service, the challenge now is to “guarantee compliance”. In pursuit of this goal, the statement calls for powers and resources to enable the CIC, the code’s enforcement body, to play its role to the full.
It also appeals to a commitment from universities teaching journalism and communication programmes to place the Code “at the heart” of the teaching. In this vein, they are encouraged to share with the profession the progress of their research on ethical issues and a conference on the challenges of journalism has been announced, which will be attended by academics and professionals.
Financial support focused on service to society
With regard to “legitimate public support” offered to the media, it states the need to avoid “non-transparent, partisan criteria or criteria that respond to interests that have nothing to do with journalism”. The statement calls for allocation criteria “based on service to society”. It warns that if “audience at any price” is taken as the ultimate goal, there is a risk of “encouraging clickbait, junk content and polarising discourse with public money”.