By clicking on jti-rsf.org, everyone can comment on the proposed JTI indicators for trustworthy journalism. In addition, media outlets can test and self-assess their compliance through an online questionnaire.
The general public as well as professional communities are encouraged to participate to the Journalism Trust Initiative (JTI) launched by Reporters without Borders (RSF) with its partners. From 18 September, a dedicated online tool gives the possibility to all types of stakeholders to give their input and comments about the draft standards. The first phase of the initiative focuses indeed on the development of a consensus-based set of standards for journalism.
In the second phase of the Journalism Trust Initiative (JTI), news and media outlets will be able to implement the standards. The resulting datasets are supposed to inform better decision making of news distribution and consumption, both by humans and algorithms, but also of advertising spending, and thus reward journalism worthy of this name.
The digital tool is provided in addition to a feedback and comments form, already posted on the European Committee for Standardization (CEN) website. The three months’ public consultation is a mandatory feature of every standard setting procedure and closes on October 18th. Following CEN guidelines, all comments received will be evaluated by the JTI drafting committees and then fed into a final review of the Workshop Agreement and its release towards the end of the year.
A consensual process to define the final standards
Since May 2018, more than 120 experts, representing global, national and local media outlets, consumer associations, tech companies, regulators and NGOs have been working on developing professional standards in the frame of the Journalism Trust Initiative (JTI).
In early June of this year, an official Standards document that defines indicators for trustworthy journalism has been adopted. It includes a list of criteria on transparency, professionalism and ethical conduct that JTI stakeholders considered essential best practices for media outlets to be trusted.
In addition, the document provides a questionnaire translating the Standards clauses into a checklist, which is machine-readable in order to inform algorithmic distribution of news.
The public consultation, a critical feature
The public consultation of this draft is a critical feature to ensure the broadest possible support for the finally published document, and until the deadline on 18 October, the Journalism Trust Initiative is expecting feedback on its proposal. The general public as well as professional communities are invited to provide opinion and specific proposals for amendments of each of the 16 clauses, numerous sub-clauses and the checklist.
A final publication in early 2020
After final publication of the JTI document in early 2020 it will be made available to all types of media outlets for self-assessment and optional, additional audit, the so-called conformity assessment. The public consultation is intended to widen the range of participation in and, eventually, the legitimacy of the Journalism Trust Initiative.
Launched by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) with its partners the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), Agence France Presse (AFP) and the Global Editors Network (GEN), JTI aims at defining indicators for trustworthy journalism. Compliance with them is expected to provide tangible benefits for media outlets, big and small, and thus, support them to cater to a healthy information space at large.
Distinguishing itself from other projects around trust indicators, JTI focuses on the process – or the ‘manufacturing’ level of journalism – only, not on single pieces of content. Media outlets would be conforming with the standard as an entity, for example by providing transparency of ownership, sources of revenue and proof of a range of professional safeguards. For the first time, it adds a logic of rewarding compliance with already existing principles of journalism.
Selected participants in the development stage of the JTI Standard include, in no particular order, the BBC, RTL Group (Luxembourg), Gazeta Wyborcza (Poland), Tagesspiegel (Germany), Tamedia (Switzerland), Norsk Rikskringkasting (NRK, Norway), TT News Agency (Sweden), Associated Press (USA), Deutsche Presse Agentur (dpa, Germany), World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), Google, Facebook, City University of New York (CUNY, USA), Ethical Journalism Network (EJN), Swiss Press Council, Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ, USA), Association of Taiwanese Journalists, Journalists Association of South Korea, The Independent Monitor for the Press (IMPRESS, UK), All-Russia State Television and Radio Broadcasting Company (VGTRK, Russia), Autorità per le Garanzie nelle Comunicazioni (AGCOM, Italy), Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media (BKM, Germany), European Association for the Co-ordination of Consumer Representation in Standardisation (ANEC), Internews (UK), Thomson Foundation (UK), Free Press Unlimited (FPU, the Netherlands), Fondation Hirondelle (Switzerland), Civil (USA), NewsGuard, Global Disinformation Index (GDI), United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
This project is supported through a grant awarded by Craig Newmark Philanthropies.