This page brings together the CDJ’s activities developed under the European “Media Councils in the Digital Age” (MCDA) project, which began in October 2019. The main aim of the project is to strengthen the European model of media self-regulation in order to protect media freedom and encourage professionalism in journalistic content.
Now in its fourth edition (2023-2025), the project is supported by the European Commission (DG CONNECT) and led by a European consortium that brings together several European press councils (currently from Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands and North Macedonia), as well as universities (ULB and UGent in Belgium, Ramon Llull-Blanquerna in Spain) and the European Federation of Journalists.
The PressCouncils.eu website, which presents itself as the portal for discovering European press councils, offers all the productions linked to the MCDA project, bringing together research, press releases, databases, media literacy tools and press reviews.
At a time when Europe is sharpening its approach to online content moderation, the CDJ explores in a research report the relations between journalistic self-regulation and media regulation in the EU. After discussion with stakeholders, 10 recommendations emerge that stress the need for dialogue and cooperation on an equal footing between both bodies, so as to best protect freedom of the press and the right to information.
As part of the third edition of “MCDA”, the CDJ supervised the development, by its French counterpart (CDJM), of a curation tool dedicated to journalistic ethics. Its goal is to provide quality follow-up to the best online resources on the subject, as well as to promote journalistic self-regulation and the work of press councils. The press review, currently available in two separate versions (ENG/FR), is also aimed at the media, journalists and the general public. Subscription to an associated newsletter is accessible via the link to access the tool.
27 journalists and journalism students from 20 EU countries were trained in digital journalism practices – and related ethical issues – during a Master Class organised in Brussels by the Belgian press councils (CDJ and Raad voor de Journalistiek), the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) and the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) as part of “Media Councils in the Digital Age”.
A #PressCouncilsEU roundtable coordinated by the CDJ took place at the UNESCO HQ in Paris as part of its annual conference (“Internet for Trust”). This session on the crucial role of journalistic self-regulation in moderating online content brought together speakers from the German, Belgian (CDJ), Finnish, French and UK (Impress) press councils as well as participants from different backgrounds (civil society, other press councils, media and journalists, regulators, academics, etc.).
The CDJ coordinated, during the first edition of the European Journalism Symposium in Brussels, a roundtable entitled “Information, propaganda, fake news: how can journalistic ethics and press councils make a difference to better inform citizens?” and bringing together speakers from the German (Presserat), Belgian (CDJ) and French (CDJM) press councils, a researcher from the University of Blanquerna (partner of the PressCouncils.eu consortium) and about thirty participants. The Covid-19 crisis and loss of trust in the media, increasingly blurred lines between journalism and propaganda, the crucial role of self-regulation in the face of growing regulation of online content… All of these topics of discussion confirmed that journalistic ethics and press councils do indeed have a role to play in better informing citizens.
“THE media councils debates –
facing the challenges of the digital age”
Taken by their daily work, media and press councils rarely have the opportunity to reflect on their role, organisation, and future. For the second edition of the Media Councils in the Digital Age (MCDA) project, the French-speaking Belgian journalistic self-regulatory body (CDJ) decided to host the Media Councils Debates, a series of six webinars focusing on the transition of press and media councils towards the digital age. A new publication by the CDJ summarises these sessions, which helped to lay strong foundations for future dialogue between media councils and all stakeholders involved in the news media debate.
This report published by the CDJ presents the first results of a collective research on the relationship to journalistic ethics of journalism students. This qualitative study was carried out on the basis of focus groups conducted with 33 students of the main journalism schools in French-speaking Belgium (the Masters of UCLouvain, ULB, ULiège and IHECS) between September and November 2019.
What can a press council (or journalistic ethics council) be useful for? A promotional video for the general public co-financed by the European Commission and supported by the CDJ, launched today by all European press councils and their partners, recalls the role and assets of this body still unknown to the public around a central message: if you want information of ethical quality, work with us!
On the occasion of its 10th anniversary and in the framework of the MCDA project, the CDJ organised a European Forum on the challenges of journalistic self-regulation in the digital age addressing media (old and new), journalists and media workers, members of existing or established press councils, stakeholders and the general public, all anxious to advance a European model of self-regulation of the press and media.