Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Catching up with CIME: Spring 2015

As part of our new communications program, we'll be periodically publishing CIME news here on the blog, as well as our investigative and exploratory articles. Keep reading for an update on CIME's activities!

CIME Cofounder Melisande Middleton has returned to restructure CIME, following the departure of our former staff director, Csilla Szabó. Although we were sorry to see Csilla go,  a lot of great things are taking shape at CIME.

As part of this effort,  we've connected with an awesome team of media professionals to help us grow. We've added a new regional team to support & strengthen regional hubs, based in several countries including Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania, Pakistan, Nepal, India, and Uganda. Not to mention some new folks on our day-to-day team.

Also, early 2015 has seen a shift to focus on ethics workshops, due to past successes and increasing demand in many different countries. In addition to our annual IMED event in September, we've added a number of new workshop dates throughout the year. Check out the Workshops page of our website to see these.

One last thing--our monthly newsletter will now be a quarterly publication. Not subscribed? Easily fixed.

Thanks for your support. We're looking forward to stretching and growing with you, and we're incredibly excited about our new efforts to create dialogue about media ethics. Join the conversation!

Veengas: On Media Ethics

Pakistani reporter Kamran Khan explores the relationship between the media and ethics with esteemed Pakistani journalist and CIME affiliate Veengas.

Kamran Khan: What are the basics of journalistic ethics?
Veengas: Ethics are the soul of journalism. Though we, as journalists, have lists of ethics, I would say that journalism is a difficult job and can challenge them. Basic ethics like honesty should be used and we must be conscientious to not violate any law that endangers journalistic work. We are here to report and our reports must be ethical. Ethics are the foundation of our worknot only in journalism, but also at each step of life.

Kamran Khan: In your opinion, what is an ideal media?
Veengas: Well, to me, media is the voice of common people for common people and by common people; media gives a voice to a voiceless part of society.

Kamran Khan: How do you see Pakistani media on the subject of ethics?
Veengas: Electronic media has violated ethics. When you do not care about ethics, your work makes viewers or readers question where or not journalists are doing their job. Also, when media follows a numbers game by pandering to ratings, or employ biased approaches, ethics become obsolete. More and more this is occurring and ethics are being violated.

 Kamran Khan: What are the major problems in the way of ethical journalism?
Veengas:  There are no checks and balances. Media organizations are becoming part of such a large industry, so large that they no longer care about ethics. When institutions start to prefer business and playing political games, journalists do not look inside themselves to question what they are doing and what they should not do. There is a lack of self-regulation. This is true even in Pakistan, where organizations are working to empower journalists to use ethics, so they can raise their voices and do work to kindly ensure that ethical media practices are in place. No state institutions are self-regulated, so how can they ensure ethics? A controlled state is itself a basic problem that never allows for ethical journalism.
Khan: What steps are necessary to achieve ethical journalism?
Veengas: First we need to start as journalists and encourage the unification of journalism organizations across the country. Once we do that, we can build pressure to ensure media ethics exist at the state level and organizational level. Press clubs can play a role in promoting ethics. Also, we must have neutral watchdog organizations at each level, in small and big communities across country, which keep an eye on ethical journalism.
Kamran Khan: Who (organization, individual) is responsible for ensuring ethics in media?
Veengas: As I said, we should create a system of watchdog groups at each level of our country, not only in our capitol. All big cities should have two or three of these organizations as well. Once we have an institution to enforce ethics, we will be made accountable to such a degree that we will feel obligated to take responsibility for our actions. Again, as journalists, we must take responsibility and do justice while following media ethics.
Kamran Khan: What are the advantages to an ethical media organization?
Veengas: When the media adheres to ethics, it means it is leading the path of freedom of information. I think ethical behavior encourages freedom of expression and freedom of information, which empowers people.
Kamran Khan: When a media organization is not ethical, what are the implications for society?
Veengas: If a media organization is not ethical, it creates disruptions within society; when this happens, even journalism loses its credibility within society. Who will believe what is being said on TV or written in papers when ethics are violated? It is very important that ethics are not only academic words. They are the beauty and courage of every reporter.
Kamran Khan: Who can play a vital role while ensuring ethics in media?
Veengas: Journalists can play their role; journalists can build pressure on government and non-governmental organizations. It is very difficult but ultimately responsibility falls upon the shoulders of journalists and organizations that hold power over media conglomerates.
Kamran Khan: What are your recommendations and message for aspiring journalists?
Veengas: I would suggest that if journalism is your dream, you must fight for it. Remember that working as a journalist is like walking on the edge of a swordwe work to seek truth and information while operating under the tightest ethical constraints. I would say, please, always follow a path of honesty and ethics; if you violate ethics; you destroy what you wanted journalism to build. The world of journalism is laden with tough tasks that show that journalists are fighters.

About Veengas: Veengas obtained a Master's degree in history from Quaid-e-Azam University Islamabad, her country’s top institution. She has visited the U.S via the U.S Exchange Program in 2011, and participated in the CONTACT SAARC conference held in Nepal in 2013.Veengas currently works with the daily Ibrat as a sub editor, political interviewer and writes daily news reviews. She was also an honorary Assistant Editor for an English magazine, and a visiting faculty member with the Media Studies Department at Sindh Madressatul Islam University. She cites some of her major influences as Oriana Falaci Hala Gorani, and  Christiane Amanpour.

Monday, March 16, 2015

2015 Workshops open for registration!

CIME 2015 Workshops are now open for registration! Click here to register or check our CIME Workshops page for more information.

This year we've added new workshops dates to accommodate increasing demand. We look forward to another year of exciting progress in media ethics with partners & participants across the world. Any questions, please let us know and we'll be in touch!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

En Mexico se necesita una voz como la de periodista #CarmenAristegui una voz que lucha ante de corrupción y ocultamiento pero parece que hay fuerzas externas que le están impidiendo incluso los dueños de los medios que suelen apoyar mas a regímenes de gobierno que a periodistas contundentes

In Mexico a voice is needed like that of #CarmenAristegui a voice that fights against corruption and secrecy but it appears there are external forces standing in her way including media bosses who tend to be more beholden to government regimes than to hard-hitting investigative journalists

Thursday, March 12, 2015


CIME is growing! We’re currently developing our regional team, and are welcoming some very talented professionals from around the world. So far, we’ve added 8 new associates from Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania, Pakistan, Nepal, India, and Uganda.
We’d also like to welcome Vladimir Peric, our new IT Manager. Keep an eye out– we should be adding more members to our team soon!

Do please email us if you know anyone in your are who is interested in media ethics - we're always keen to have more people involved!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Cybervigilantism: new tumblr "racists getting fired (& getting racists fired)"

Photo credit: BuzzFeed
You may of heard of the recent internet tumblr sensation “racists getting fired (& getting racists fired)”. It operates by uploading screenshots of racist comments posted on social media, and “encourages people to track down where outspoken racists work and then post details of their hate speech to the employers’ social media accounts demanding punishment. In some instances, racists are “doxxed”, meaning they have their personal identity and contact information shared without consent.”

Many of the screenshots on “racists getting fired” pertain to the events occurring in Ferguson, Missouri. One twitter user, “VA Truck Driver,” issued a series of tweets about Ferguson (the complete sequence can be found here), but ended up issuing a public apology after social media users discovered his identity and he was suspended from work without pay. Other people featured in screenshots have issued similar apologies after internet users tracked them down and complained to their employers.

However, some people have also been innocently caught in the cross-fire of the tumblr, including one young woman whose ex-boyfriend framed her for several comments on Facebook. Unfortunately, “before the site [racists getting fired] realized the trick and issued something resembling a correction, the Brianna smear racked up tens of thousands of reblogs and notes and prompted readers to bombard the real Brianna’s workplace with phone calls and tweets. Probably because RGF provided instructions on doing this exactly."

The original moderator of the tumblr has also faced considerable backlash, posting recently “i began this blog much to publicly, with an excess of personal information bc i could not have forseen the skyrocketting of attention this blog has received. i was not prepared for the legal threats, nor for being hunted by 4chan doxxers and other anti-social justice websites. so it is too late for me.” (sic) The moderator has reported that within the first 8 hours of the tumblr’s existence they received 15,000 submissions.

Photo credit: TechCrunch
Is this type of cybervigilantism a good idea? Does it make people think twice about what they post online, and help curb those anonymous and hurtful comments the internet is known for? Or does it cause just as much harm as it hopes to resolve? One article, titled “Bullying the Bullies” states, “Humans haven’t quite gotten the hang of human rights, let alone social media. Combined ignorance of the two leads people to spew hate from the safety of an Internet connection, writing their bigotry into the public record. Now these moments are being put display [sic] for public shaming by a Tumblr seeking justice against racists. It’s a form of cybervigilantism...The question is whether cybervigilantism is ethical or productive for a society trying to overcome bigotry.”

- Kate Davidson

Business Insider
racists getting fired (and getting racists fired)
racists getting fired - Brianna correction

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Style over substance

Photo credit: Poor Richard's News
On November 20th from the Cross Hall of the White House, U.S President Barack Obama gave a speech on immigration. The primetime address laid out a series of executive actions proposing to take aim at fixing a “broken immigration system” in the United States. Like most presidential speeches this particular address has drawn substantial praise and criticism. In essence the speech has provided a platform and incentive for Americans and people around the world to engage in dialogue and debate about U.S immigration policy. The discussions and debates have occurred despite the fact that Obama's speech was not aired by the so-called “Big Three” American television networks: ABC, NBC, and CBS. According to some, the networks decided against airing the speech because it conflicted with a time slot that equates to peak ratings and vital advertising dollars. The decision not to broadcast Obama's speech is not surprising, considering that November TV ratings are especially important for the networks because they occur during what is called a “sweeps” period, which is when viewership ratings are used to determine future scheduling, programming, and advertising decisions. While the decision not to air the speech may make financial sense for the networks, does it also say something about our overall sense of values as a society?

When three large television networks are more concerned with ratings and advertising dollars than they are about the consciousness of the viewing public, should that be a cause for concern? What ever happened to the media’s responsibility to make journalistic decisions that were best for the universal needs of society? By choosing money and ratings (things that are seemingly perfunctory when compared to the pressing and controversial issue of immigration) did NBC, ABC, and CBS fulfill their moral obligation as stewards, purveyors, and promoters of ethical journalism?

One of the preeminent functions of the media is to provide the public with information and awareness. You can go back to the days of Julius Caesar or the Han Dynasty in China and one can find remnants of that same basic principle, that the public has a need and a right to be informed. Over time we have come to expect basic things from our media; in many instances we expect them to be exemplary in how they act and how they manage their part of the interdependent relationship that we share with them. In many instances they are our mentors, as they set many precedents and examples that we often follow, sometimes to such an extent that it mimics patterns of indoctrination. When they convey to us that dollars and Nielsen rating points are more important than keeping us informed, or providing us access to information that is relevant to many of our families, communities, and lives, what are they really telling us? If we want to stay informed perhaps it is incumbent for us to tell them what we are thinking, and not the other way around.

- William Korte