Joint Open Forum EBU, CoE, OSCE, UNESCO, WEF: Independent journalism on the Internet: how to protect and finance it and which role for the public service media

23 October 2013 - A Open Forum on Openness in Bali, Indonesia


In the last few years the number of correspondent offices of traditional media (newspapers, radio, television) all over the world has dramatically shrunk and the same for the number of special correspondents sent to cover big news events worldwide. This trend (determined by the shortage of resources and by the crisis of the business models of the news industry dominant in the last 100 years) risks affecting the quality and the reliability of the news offered to the citizens. In parallel, the increasing concerns for the safety of journalists, including citizen journalists, in zone of conflicts and in countries at risk, produce the same effects via another phenomenon: the reduction of the sources and of the witnesses on the field for security concerns. A third factor is that the Public Service Broadcasting role and stability is under attack in various countries for ideological motivations and for cost-saving policies. This trend also impacts upon reduction of the news sources and witnesses. On the other side of the panorama, new business models are emerging (crowd-funding, user generated content and citizen journalism, alliances between search engines and newspapers, etc.). But new problems about reliability, verification, and traceability of news sources arise in parallel. The phenomenon of massive leaks from internal whistleblowers (Wikileaks, PRISM, etc.) made possible by the digitalization of documents also creates new sources, but pose other kinds of questions and ethical problems. How can the good components of the analogue world model be preserved and eventually combined with the good of the new models in the online space? What are the roles for governments, regulatory institutions, for journalists and for news organizations ?