The role of media actors in confronting terrorism

On July 19 the Ethical Journalism Network played an active role in a Council of Europe colloquium in Strasbourg on the ethical challenges for journalism and digital media when reporting on terrorism. Here are the highlights.

  1. The colloquium on reporting terrorism was opened by Jan Kleijssen, Director of the Information Society and Action against Crime Directorate, Council of Europe.
  2. Chris Banatvala, formerly of Ofcom, spoke of how the media deal with these challenges when reporting on the terror attacks and its effects on society.
  3. Challenges and responsibilities of journalists and other media actors in their professional practice

  4. The first panel "Reporting on terrorism acts and violence: dilemmas and challenges" was moderated by EJN adviser Jean-Paul Marthoz who has recently authored a handbook for journalists published by UNESCO on how to cover terrorism.
  5. EJN Board Member, Chris Elliott, spoke about the challenges to journalism such as respect of human dignity, use and verification of sources of information, public interest journalism and the threat posed by sensationalist coverage of terrorism.
  6. Chris called for journalism to better communicate the need and value of encrypted communication otherwise governments will be able to argue for erosion of the tools journalist use to communicate with sources and receive information.
  7. For more on the ethics of terrorism coverage read the recent blog by EJN director Aidan White.
  8. Nasreddine Louati, Program editor, Al Jazeera
  9. John Battle, Head of Compliance at ITN
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