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Regulating the freedom of the press

Thursday, 30 October, 2014 - 12:30
Committee of the regions
Jacques Delors building (JDE 51)
Brussels Journalism Platform
International Conference; workshop
Regulating the freedom of the press - Issues and best practices in the regulation and self-regulation of journalism - a conference with academics, journalists, regulators, and ombudsmen 
Committee of the Regions 
Jacques Delorsbuilding, JDE 51 
Brussels, 30 October 2014

In the past years Europe has witnessed a lively and recurring debate about the accountability of the press, undoubtedly culminating in the 2012 Leveson inquiry in the wake of the phone hacking scandal surrounding Rupert Murdoch’s News of the World.

The debate on journalistic accountability has proven to be very animated. On the one hand, the freedom of the press still counts as one of the most fundamental rights in a democratic society. On the other hand, many feel that the freedom of journalists ends where the fundamental rights of the people they report about are breached and that the freedom of the press cannot be invoked to justify certain problematic journalistic practices. The question then arises where the limits of press freedom lie and how media corporations can and should be held accountable.

The Brussels Platform for Journalism invites journalists, representatives of regulatory and self-regulatory bodies, ombudsmen, and academics to discuss how accountability and freedom of the press relate to each other.

More specifically, we invite the participants to exchange opinions and compare best practices on the following questions:
  • What mechanisms exist to govern the balance between press freedom and the rights of citizens?
  • What are the limits of deontology and self-regulation in a competitive commercial context?
  • Do we need government or other bodies to regulate the media sector? And which issues arise when the press is externally regulated?
  • What new forms of press accountability can be envisioned (ombudsmen, audience participation via social media, …)?
  • Should we rethink the accountability of the press in light of the evolutions within the media system such as digitization, the precarization of journalists, and citizen journalism? 

By way of introduction, three (sets of) speakers set the scene:
  • Aidan White (The Ethical Journalism Network) 
  • Sally Broughton Micova (London School of Economics) and Flip Voets (Raad voor de Journalistiek) on regulatory authorities and media
  • Yael De Haan ((JournalismLab Hogeschool Utrecht, Nederlandse Raad voor de Journalistiek) and Tom Naegels (ombudsman De Standaard) on limits to press freedom 
  • 12.30-13.00: Registration
  • 13.00-13:15: Welcome by Caroline Pauwels (Vrije Universiteit Brussel/Brussels Platform for Journalism)
  • 13.15-13.30: Introduction to the theme: François Heinderyckx (Université Libre de Bruxelles/Brussels Platform for journalism)
  • 13:30-13:50: Opening presentation by Aidan White
  • 13:50-15:15: Sally Broughton Micova and Flip Voets + discussion
  • 15:15-15:45: Coffee break
  • 15:45–17:10: Yael de Haan and Tom Naegels + discussion
  • 17:10-17:30: Concluding remarks by Nico Carpentier (Vrije Universiteit Brussel/Brussels Platform for Journalism)
The panel includes among others (in alphabetical order): Anne Brumagne, Pol Deltour, Jean-Jacques Jespers, …

Chair: François Heinderyckx.
The conference language is English. 
The round-table will be held at the Committee of the Regions, Jacques Delors building (JDE 51), Rue Belliardstraat 99-101, 1000 Brussel.

An identity document as well as the printout of your registration confirmation is needed in order to access the building.
How to register?
Registration is required before 20 October. The event is free. Please note that the number of participants is limited and that registration is granted on a first come first served basis.