The Red House, Lyuben Karavelov street 15, 1142 Sofia
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Table discussions: issues to be debated and introduction to the key proposals
The proposals numbered below were elaborated through discussions using the World Café methodology. They reflect the opinions held by the majority of those who participated in the public consultation, even though their opinions and ideas often displayed a variety of positions. Some of the proposals were developed on several discussion tables, but for the sake of clarity, similar concerns have been merged together. If you wish to react to or comment on a proposal – or even suggest new ideas – please use the “comments” box at the bottom of the page.
Moderated by Ivan Radev, Association of European Journalists in Bulgaria
Audience of media outlets is likely to alter once the real owners of the outlet become public: however, often media tycoons are hidden behind a countless set of proxies that stand as the legal representatives and have their names in all company registers. Ensuring transparency requires appropriate measures and over-regulation of the market is commonly feared. Excessive legislation may be avoided (as well as the contingent concerns that it might be abused by interested economic/political powers) and one of the good models among many around the world may include assigning journalists with a share in the media outlet.
How could we identify who really stand behind a media outlet? What can substitute for additional legislative measures in the media sector? May journalists play a role within their employing company as well?
2. Best practices toolbox: as a combination of examples from the national legislation and soft-law (ethic codes, intra-media compliance measures), it will be offered publicly as a model for inspiration as well as grounds for advocacy work.
3. Journalists become shareholders: assigning a share in the media outlet to journalists or a representative of the body of journalists in a media will allow them to have complete access to all the information but also influence the strategic decisions, for example, the introduction of further accountability measures within the media outlet.
Moderated by Venelina Popova, independent journalist, awarded with the Panitsa Award for her whistleblowingCourageous journalists risk their jobs (and lives) for their professional pledges and for sticking to the standards of providing accurate information to the audience of their pieces. Mishaps happen after they disclose the tricks of their editors/employers in manipulating the public with forged information.
What can whistleblower journalists do after they disclose the true information and their boss’s misconduct? Who can be involved in their support strategies and what could those consist of?
5. Solidarity Fund for the Circle of Supporters: run by the Circle of Supporters, the fund will consist of in-kind and pecuniary contributions. The in-kind side might include basic things collected ad hoc as a place to live, food, clothes/shoes, while the pecuniary part might be used for legal aid, for example.
6. Supporting whistleblowers to continue working: the Circle of Supporters/fellow journalists shall ask (their) media outlets if the whistleblower may be hired even on a temporary/freelance/part-time basis. They shall put the whistleblowers in touch with associations/media outlets of independent journalists so that the whistleblower will be able to continue their profession and make a living.
Moderated by Vesislava Antonova, journalist at the Capital NewspaperJournalists are sometimes prevented from publishing complete and accurate stories: it might be a superior (the employer/the media outlet owner) or the journalists themselves that is to blame. Other means of covering and giving publicity to the story might be conceived and employed.
What are the alternative ways of giving publicity to a (self-) censored piece? How can the author publish their piece without any threat and self-restraint?
8. Providing other perspectives: fellow journalists, human rights activists or the author (under a fake name) to publish censored publications in their original and uncensored form on forums, FB, etc., along with a copy (scanned, transcribed, etc.) of the censored publication. It may take form of a comment underneath an article in the electronic version of the censored article.
|Freedom through alternative media
Moderated: by Imir Rashid, Westminister University PhD Student in Communication Sciences, bloggerMainstream media do not provide a platform for information produced and published fully independently from any interest. Citizens and freelance journalists need a space for diverse perspectives: alternatives to the conventional outlets are out there and require collaborative efforts of the wider public.
What sources of news may one resort to instead of conventional media? May citizens and freelance journalists play a role and to what extend their independent work per se is self-sustained?
10. Independent journalists: The European Initiative for Media Pluralism Coalition (partners and the website) should give publicity to reports by independent journalists and links to their blogs shall be promoted. NGOs shall be encouraged to provide independent journalists with a space and equipment (use only). A map of friendly NGOs around the country shall be drawn and distributed widely through mailing groups, FB, websites, etc.