July 8, 2020

European Commission awards grant to support Reporters without borders’ Journalism Trust Initiative in Europe

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is pleased to announce the signature of a grant agreement with the European Commission to support the implementation of its ‘Journalism Trust Initiative’ (JTI) in Europe. The supported pilot project is aimed at “fostering qualitative media by rewarding reliable sources”.

Reporters Without Borders, also known internationally as Reporters sans frontières (RSF), is pleased to receive a grant worth EUR 422 179 from the European Commission. As an action of the call for proposals to support investigative journalism and media freedom in the EU it is aimed at implementing JTI and thus, provide a competitive advantage for trustworthy journalism to be considered even more critically important during an era of online disinformation, propaganda and implications of the Corona pandemic, where reliable information can save lives. 

JTI provides a voluntary, self-regulatory mechanism for news media to assess and show its compliance with professional norms. Criteria include transparency of ownership, verification and correction policies, editorial independence and ethical conduct. In addition to self-assessment and disclosure, the JTI Standard is also certifiable through a third-party audit and thus, offers an additional level of external accountability in order to build and sustain trust. 

The JTI standard-setting phase was launched by Reporters Without Borders (RSF), supported by its partners the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), Agence France Presse (AFP), and the Global Editors Network (GEN) in 2018. Over 130 participants, representing media outlets, regulatory and self-regulatory bodies, NGOs and consumer groups, academia, the media development community and technology firms from around the world, contributed to the drafting process. Following a public consultation the final document was adopted by consensus and officially published as Workshop Agreement No. 17493 by the European Committee for Standardization (CEN) in December 2019. 

From 2020 onwards, the JTI Standard is now available for usage by media outlets, but also for other stakeholders like advertisers, platforms and distributors, as well as regulators to provide an enabling environment for authoritative sources of information. The grant provided by the European Commission will propel efforts to develop the tools and instruments needed to support its implementation. These will include an online portal for self-assessment according to the JTI Standard, tutorials and outreach for capacity building of news media across Member States, but also the fostering and stimulation of a certification market. The provision of a machine-readable JTI data-channel for consumers and citizens but also for the private sector and all intermediaries is designed to re-align attention and spending to compliance with professional norms in journalism and thus, reward and remonetize it - in times of crisis even more needed than ever before.

We are very proud to announce this major support from the European Commission, that is highly active in the defense of trustworthy journalism and the fight against disinformation in Europe," said Christophe Deloire, Secretary General of RSF. "This happens at a critical point in time with the inception of the Digital Services Act, where we expect affirmative action and clear responsibilities for platforms also in respect of due prominence of authoritative sources of information. The JTI signal is a custom-made solution fitting for a co-regulatory approach to the issue!”

JTI project page online

JTI Standard document for download