The Evens Foundation has partnered with the Ethical Journalism Network (EJN) and the Fritt Ord Foundation to launch the 'Building Trust in Journalism' project. Its purpose is to explore the conditions and identify the needs of the media communities in Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, Ukraine and Georgia. With this initiative we aim to raise awareness of the importance of ethical professional journalism in building trust in the media and in facilitating the crucial role journalism can play in fostering democracies.
Looking at important questions such as ‘What role does the media play in enabling democracy?’, ‘How can we maintain ethical standards in the race for increasing views and clicks?’, ‘How can the media regain public trust?’ and ‘What are the strengths and struggles of the media communities in CEE?’, the partner organisations decided to carry out a series of reports, looking at the particular situation and media landscape in each of the focus countries.
For each report, we begin with research in order to develop an empirically-led needs assessment – conducting study visits, meetings and interviews with media stakeholders. We engage with representatives from traditional media outlets – print, TV, radio – but also online media and start-up owners. We are also interested in the academic perspective, as well as in NGOs dedicated to media development and media freedom. We aim to reach to the widest possible group and to hear voices coming from different, sometimes very polarised, sides of the public discourse, including academia and civil society. This allows us to understand the full spectrum and complexity of the media situation in each country and to identify core issues regarding professional ethics.
Following the development of each report, we had initially planned to organise a conference and dedicated workshop in each of the focus countries but, in the event, this was only possible in Poland before the pandemic forced a change in strategy. We focused energies on expanding the series, including Ukraine and Georgia, which had not been a part of the original scope, and are now in the process of exploring alternative strategies for disseminating and creating dialogue around the project’s research outcomes.
Our project has drawn the attention of several institutions and organisations working in the field of Central and Eastern European Media. These organisations are interested in joining forces to take our series findings and recommendations further, and exploring ways of collaborating to secure translation of the work done into practice. Follow our social media channels in order to stay up-to-date with upcoming project announcements.
If you are a journalist, media stakeholder, expert or activist interested in participation in the project and/or cooperation – please contact us.