Media self-regulation and gender training for news editors and journalists
Application of the UNESCO Media Development Indicators (MDI) in Ecuador has revealed that media self-regulation mechanisms, such as using codes of ethics or editorial guidelines, are not fully practiced. The study also showed that only one print medium has a Public Ombudsman to receive readers’ complaints, and in the entire country there are no Press Councils or Commissions for complaints that might ensure good journalism practices in day-to-day work. In turn, citizens’ perception of the media is not positive: 51.74% consider the media corrupt. Media self-regulation must therefore be reinforced to recover public credibility and the rigor of journalistic practice. This will require both journalists and media owners/management to understand the usefulness and benefits of self-regulation and make a genuine commitment to adopting codes of ethics, using them in daily activities.
To address this issue, the Guild of Journalists of Pichincha (CPP) and the Association of Newspaper Editors of Ecuador (AEDEP) will implement clear self-regulation standards and best practices at all hierarchical levels of the media industry, from reporters up to media management. This will make results more effective and this commitment will become media policy at all levels. Another of the most common criticisms about the content of media in Ecuador is their treatment of women, reproducing sexist stereotypes or limiting women to household roles or as the weaker sex. Therefore, the training will include a component of gender training, in order to reflect the fact that gender equality is a fundamental human right and portray a balanced image in media contents, using appropriate, non-sexist language.
To meet these aims, AEDEP and CPP will provide training workshops for management, editors and journalists about self-regulation and gender, as well as making the workshop contents into a complete self-regulation guide for Ecuador’s print media, based on the Professional Journalist’s Ethics of Ecuador and current media codes in this country. The document will include a specific chapter on gender, based on the manual “Getting the Balance Right: Gender Equality in Journalism” published by the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) in collaboration with UNESCO. This guide will concentrate on the principles of self-regulation and promotion of gender equality, as well as looking at appropriate mechanisms to put them into practice, including recommendations and an action plan for implementation. This output will be publicized in the print media nationwide and discussed in schools of journalism/communication, to generate a culture of media self-regulation right from university training.