Acting on the assumption that journalists are best suited to know whether a report is in line with professional standards or not, the pilot project developed self-control mechanisms to identify and act on malpractice.
As a first step towards entrenching professional standards among journalists, a web portal on media law and media ethics was created. The website serves as a platform of exchange and contains different elements that will help journalists to assess whether an article or broadcast meets ethical and legal standards. It will thus enable the media to report on vital issues of national concern in a balanced and objective manner.
One instrument of self-regulation will be the so-called Media Checker, a monitoring tool to reveal cases of malpractice in the media. The Media Checker team consists of members of the Georgian Charter of Journalistic Ethics and NGO representatives. They received training on media law and media ethics and will do research, both on their own initiative and on request, to identify and report on cases where they consider legal or ethical rules have been breached. The results of the Media Checker will regularly be published in articles, news and blogs on the portal and presented to editors’ boards. Every month, the media monitors also choose a certain topic of public interest and invite public figures to express their opinion on media issues on the website blog.
The web portal will furthermore provide in-depth knowledge on media law and media ethics in the form of a database of laws and regulations, an electronic legal dictionary and case studies. It will interpret relevant regulations with a special focus on freedom of information and freedom of expression and explain those political expressions and terms in media law that are most relevant to journalists and the public when it comes to professional reporting.