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AIPCE Conference 2022: 5 key takeaways

Representatives from IMPRESS recently attended the Alliance of Independent Press Councils of Europe (AIPCE) 2022 Annual Conference. Back in person for the first time post-pandemic, this year’s event took place in Cyprus, hosted by the Cypriot press council, and saw press councils and regulators from across Europe gather to discuss issues of press ethics and standards in the digital age.

Here’s our five key takeaways from the event:

  1. Press councils in Europe are working to meet the challenges posed by a continually evolving digital landscape

Six press councils joined together in 2019 to launch the ‘Media Councils in the Digital Age’ project, with the objective of examining the new challenges presented by digital media which have emerged in recent years. As part of this ongoing project, the French-speaking Belgian press council (CDJ) for example is currently undertaking a qualitative comparative review of legal regulation and self-regulation in relation to journalism in Europe. The purpose of this research is to assess whether high professional standards in journalism are being upheld, and the CDJ will be seeking contributions from all European press councils to gain a deeper insight into how press regulation operates in different countries across Europe.

IMPRESS presented its vision for a modern code of ethics that addresses online challenges in journalism, showcasing the key changes proposed for its Standards Code. IMPRESS went on to highlight the importance of addressing the growing use of artificial intelligence in news content, as well as some important nuances of privacy settings when a journalist uses information found on social media.

  1. Social media content is a primary concern

Finland’s Council for Mass Media explored the digital challenges to ethical standards of journalism, with a particular focus on social media. It has undertaken a project to collate and compare the various approaches taken by European press councils in relation to social media content, such as journalist posts and user-generated content. This project will involve an assessment of what is considered best practice on social media and how this should be reflected in modern codes of conduct. The Council for Mass Media has also hinted at potentially conducting a comprehensive review of its code in the near future.

  1. Progress is being made with media literacy initiatives

The Austrian Press Council presented their media literacy project, developed in collaboration with the German Press Council. They have created a Media Literacy Toolkit for teachers and students, which includes educational videos and case studies on a number of topics such as privacy and discrimination. The Toolkit is designed to help young people navigate the modern news landscape, recognise good standards of journalism, and understand the importance of press regulation.

  1. Hate speech in journalism is a prevalent issue in Europe

There were further interesting presentations concerning hate speech and other ethical challenges in Europe. For example, Dr Natalie Alkiviadou (from Danish think tank Justitia) covered anti-migrant rhetoric through exploration of European case law such as Jersild v Denmark, and Professor Miranda Christou (University of Cyprus) examined reporting on gender-based violence in Cypriot media, raising issues such as the romanticisation of male perpetrators of crime and the objectification of female victims.

  1.  And finally...Cypriot cuisine is delicious!

From Cypriot salads and fresh halloumi, to lamb kleftiko and even snails, there were plenty of authentic ‘mezedes’ to sample, and they were all delicious! Members of the IMPRESS team thoroughly enjoyed soaking up the local culture and cuisine and being back together with our European counterparts. Roll on next year!