Journalism Trust Initiative: RSF welcomes the validation of Africa’s first media certifier
Côte d'Ivoire’s Audit Board, Bureau Norme Audit (BNA), has become the first African media certifier committed to the Journalism Trust Initiative (JTI) standard. This international standard, developed by Reporters Without Borders (RSF), is used to measure the trustworthiness of journalism.
This is a significant step forward in the development of the Journalism Trust Initiative (JTI) in Africa. Côte d'Ivoire’s Bureau norme audit (BNA) was validated by the West African Accreditation System (WAAS) in accordance with the Journalism Trust Initiative (JTI) standard.
JTI has been deployed in Africa since 2021. Following the example of Studio Kalangou in Niger, which was the first to receive JTI certification, more than 300 media outlets across the continent have committed to the process. In a time where it is increasingly difficult to distinguish between content shaped by vested interests and content produced by independent media professionals, media certification represents a guarantee for the general public that they have access to trusted information. The entire process is more credible when the certifier has their skills regularly assessed by an authorised accreditor, in particular WAAS, the dedicated West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) body.
The emergence of a certifier for Africa reinforces the development of JTI on the continent, in an area where it receives the greatest commitment from media outlets. We welcome this rollout, which is a positive step forward in promoting trustworthy journalism. The JTI team is keen to hear from media outlets wishing to join the process.
Several elements are checked during the certification audit using JTI standards: the identity of the media outlet, its owners and management team, the editorial mission and the location and contact details of the editorial staff. Professionalism, in particular compliance with ethical rules, and responsibility are also examined. The JTI team provides grants to support the implementation of these different elements, depending on the resources available.
BNA is honoured to become the first African media certifier and is committed to accomplishing this rigorously and to covering the entire region,” declared BNA director-general Olga Kouassi. “JTI’s goal of increasing journalistic transparency is in line with BNA’s mission to build trust in services throughout Africa via certification.
To accredit media outlet certifiers, WAAS uses two standards: ISO/IEC 17065:2012 “Conformity assessment — Requirements for bodies certifying products, processes and services”; and the JTI standard, which was approved by the European Committee for Standardization (CEN) as part of a workshop agreement entitled CEN - CWA 17493:2019, “Journalism Trust Initiative” for journalistic content distributed by media outlets.
“In opting for accreditation to validate the competency of media certifiers, RSF has made the wise choice of aligning itself with international best practices,” says Marcel Gbaguidi, representative residing in Côte d’Ivoire and director-general of WAAS.
Do you represent a media outlet? Would you like to evaluate your procedures according to the JTI standard? Reporters Without Borders has created this self-assessment platform for you: jti:app.