Imagine if Journalists followed the guidelines in this fictional handbook

Imagine the fuss there would be if journalists followed the guidelines in my fictional handbook below:

Title: Reporting on Conservatism and majority groups ( approach and guidelines)

PREAMBLE: Under the theme ” Ethical journalism against conservative speech” the RESPECT WORDS project focuses on the need to rethink the way in which media outlets and journalists cover issues related to right-wing speech and majority groups.

Amid a troubling global context- the dehumanisation of social policy, a rise in conservative and right-wing speech and the commercialisation of journalism- more than 150 European radio outlets and nearly 1300 journalists from the eight RESPECT partner cautries ( Austria, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Slovenia and Spain) have joined together to help weaken media coverage of capitalism and majority groups.

If you haven’t already guessed by now my fictitious handbook is actually a slightly changed version of a real handbook that almost 1300 journalists are currently using to guide what they report and how they report it.

The handbook focusses on how to report on three ethnic and religious minority communities.

screenshot-Whaleoil Reporting on Migration and Minorities approach and guidelines handbook

The “Reporting on Migration and Minorities: Approach and Guidelines handbook is written evidence that more than one thousand organised propaganda merchants are currently working in journalism today. The handbook though is not the only evidence of journalists working together to control how the news is presented.

The European Federation of Journalists (EJF), “the largest organization of journalists in Europe, represents over 320,000 journalists in 71 journalists’ organizations across 43 countries,” […] The EJF, a powerful player, also leads a Europe-wide campaign called “Media against Hate.”

The “Media against Hate” campaign aims to:

According to the guidelines, journalists should, among other things, “Provide an appropriate range of opinions, including those belonging to migrants and members of minorities, but… not… extremist perspectives just to ‘show the other side’…. Don’t allow extremists’ claims about acting ‘in the name of Islam’ to stand unchallenged…. where it is necessary and newsworthy to report hateful comments against Muslims, mediate the information.”

Gone is all pretense that journalism is about reporting the facts. These are the aims of a political actor.

A very large political actor is, in fact, involved in the “Media against Hate” campaign. The campaign is one of several media programs supported by the EU under its Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme (REC). In the REC program for 2017, the EU Commission, the EU’s executive body, writes:

“DG Justice and Consumers [the EU Commission’s justice department] will address the worrying increase of hate crime and hate speech by allocating funding to actions aiming at preventing and combating racism, xenophobia and other forms of intolerance… including dedicated work in the area of countering online hate speech (implementation of the Code of Conduct on countering illegal hate speech online)… DG Justice also funds civil society organisations combatting racism, xenophobia and other forms of intolerance”.

Ideally, journalism should be about reporting the facts. Knowing that there are organisations dedicated to helping journalists around the world control the narrative about migration and minorities reminds us that as readers we should always question what we are told and do our own research. We cannot be confident that we are always being given both sides of the story.

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