The Journalism Trust Initiative (JTI) is an innovative media self-regulatory initiative designed to promote trustworthy journalism. The initiative has been launched by Reporters Without Borders (RSF), and its partners Agence France Presse (AFP), the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) and the Global Editors Network (GEN) on April 3rd 2018. JTI is designed to promote journalism by adherence to an agreed set of trust and transparency standards to be developed and implemented.
- A new logic to reward compliance with professional standards
- A definition of indicators for trustworthy sources of information
- A benchmark for ethical conduct and transparency
- A breakthrough self-regulatory solution elaborated by 120 experts
- A three months’ public consultation will feed into the final standards
An agreed set of trust and transparency standards for journalism
The resulting standards are expected to reflect transparency of media ownership and sources of revenues, as well as journalistic methods and the compliance with ethical norms and independence. They are intended to become a voluntary, leading benchmark of media self-regulation and good practices for all those who produce journalistic content, ranging from individual bloggers to international media groups. Adopting the standards will pave the way towards a certification process. This will happen by means of the so-called Workshop Agreement of the European CommitteeCentre of Standardization (CEN), which gatheredwas open on 3 April 2018 for participation of interested stakeholders, for example media outlets, professional associations and unions, self-regulatory entities like press councils and regulatory bodies, as well as digital platforms, advertisers and consumer interest representatives.
“It’s not rocket science to define the basic journalistic principles. Many ethical codes exist as long as journalism exists. The major problem is the algorithmic distribution of online content, because it does not include an “integrity factor” and amplifies everything that goes against these professional norms – sensationalism, rumours, falsehoods and hate. Therefore, existing best practices of the journalistic trade need to be translated to code of the Internet. This is a condition to reverse its logic, by rewarding and eventually re-monetizing compliance with these norms. JTI is the missing link between journalistic principles and methods on one side, and algorithms on the other.” Christophe Deloire - Secretary General, Reporters Without Borders (RSF)
Give concrete advantages to quality and independence of journalism
In the new public arena system, in which false information circulate faster than real news, the defence of journalism requires reversing this trend by giving a real advantage to all those who reliably produce news and information, whatever their status.
Benefits can be attached to the quality and independence of journalism through preferential distribution and treatment by algorithms of search engines and social media platforms, leading to better visibility, reach and advertising sales. Media outlets “white-listing” may also be of interest to representatives of advisers to help them decide where to channel their spending. In addition, this mechanism could also serve as a transparent instrument for the allocation of public funding for the media, as a tool for self-regulatory bodies, such as press councils, and regulatory authorities, as well as the basis of a trusted media label.