Latvian ministry plans to form Media Ethics Council and develop Latvian Media Ethics Code

Culture Ministry has proposed forming Media Ethics Council. The majority of institutions of the media industry have started working on a self-regulatory council and development of a Single Latvian Media Ethics Code, as reported by the ministry’s public relations office manager Lita Kokale.

The ministry adds that formation of a council has received support from the majority of people working in the media sector.

Kokale explains that in accordance with the direction detailed in the basic guidelines of the Media Policy – self-regulation of the industry using a single ethics code and supervisory council – Culture Ministry has developed a conceptual report on formation of a media council, its composition, work guidelines and field of expertise.

In a conceptual report detailing experience of other countries, international human rights documents, legal and media ecosystem in Latvia, the ministry explains three different solutions for the formation of a media ethics supervisory system in the country. One such solution is called Media Ombudsman – a constitutional institution consisting of one Saeima-approved official and two media sector’s self-regulation mechanisms. It is either a Media Ombudsman (one state-approved person) or a Media Ethics Council – several council members approved by the sector.

«Compliance with media and journalistic ethics, as well as society’s trust in the media is first of all the responsibility of the media industry. I am satisfied with this historic step – the majority of the media sector has decided to form the Media Ethics Council. This way we will join the family of democratic countries whose media industry works in accordance with unified ethics principles,» said Culture Minister Dace Melbārde.

An initiative group has been formed. It has begun working on forming a self-regulatory council for the media industry. Participants include Latvian Association of Journalists, Latvian Press Publishers Association, Latvian Association of Broadcasters, Latvian Advertising Association, National Information Agency LETA, AS Delfi and AS Latvijas Mediji.

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