Wednesday, August 28, 2002

The European Business Ethics Network (EBEN) invited the International Communications Forum to take part in a Debate on the Ethical Responsibility of the Media held today in Brussels at the Royal Military Academy. The occasion was presented by Professor Heidi von Weltzien Hoivik, President of EBEN and a former Dean of the Norwegian Business School and a member of the Caux Round Table for Business and Industry. The debating panel was made up of Belgian and Dutch academics and journalists.

The subjects debated were:

1) the effect on quality brought about by the intensified and globalised competition between media groups;

2) the consequences of tighter financial conditions and shareholder pressure on employment levels and the rep1acement of salaried staff by free-lance reporters;

3) preserving media independence in spite of complex ownership schemes and the influence of political and indusLrial lobbies; and

4) Is the neutrality of media organs possible or even desirable?

The ICF was represented by Bill Porter, the Founder President, who came over from his home in Le Touquet, France and Alick Sytor a Brussels based Information Technology Consultant. They were able to introduce a more positive note into a debate that was largely pessimistic about the ability of the media to deal with their own weaknesses, by citing the effective changes brought about in media situations by journalists broadcasters and editors who applied ethical practices.