Media Strategies for Stability and Peace (the Royaumont Process 1999)

A Media Project for Countries of The Royaumont Process 1999

INTRODUCTION

The vision of peace, stability and good neighbourliness which underpins the Royaumont process is a response to the experience of the past decade in which conflict and political tension have characterised relations within the region.

During this time the International Federation of Journalists - which represents more than 200,000 journalists working in media in 40 European countries - has been closely engaged in extensive programmes of activity designed to promote, sustain and develop the exercise of free and independent journalism.

We believe strongly that the exercise of journalism and the role of media in which journalists work are key elements in any strategy designed to promote tolerance and peaceful co-existence in this region.

In preparing this programme of action, which is set out in two distinct phases of activity, the International Federation of Journalists, believes that the media strategy for The Royaumont Process must be based upon the following principles:

That journalists and media within the region must not be subject to external or internal pressure in their work;

That all obstacles to press freedom in South-eastern Europe should be removed and that, in particular, journalists must be guaranteed freedom of movement.

That journalists must be free to follow their mission of providing accurate, comprehensive and timely information to all. To do this journalists must

  • maintain their duty to the truth, to journalistic independence, and to the defence of fundamental human rights

  • respect the diversity of religious, social and cultural values within communities and be aware of the consequences of any reporting or media activity which might encourage social division or discord,

  • observe the cardinal ethical principles of journalism which include professional secrecy, the rejection of any personal advantage, and all actions which violate citizen's rights.

In order for journalism and independent media to play a role in the process of confidence-building for peace and stability, the IFJ believes that an extensive action plan of practical activities is required. The IFJ has consulted extensively with its member organisations in all countries of the region and has helped to sponsor an initial meeting of media professionals from 18 countries and government representatives of the Royaumont process in March 1998.

At that time it was agreed that a Media Action Plan for the countries of the region should include the following lines of activity:

  • to support editorial independence, self-regulation and ethical conduct

  • to promote diversity within media and to enhance sources of information

  • to encourage co-operation and solidarity among journalists

  • to raise awareness of principles of tolerance

  • to enhance the social status of journalists by safeguarding trade union and professional rights

  • to strengthen and reinforce training

  • to defend and expand independent public service broadcasting and ensure media pluralism