Management Role in Ensuring Editorial Freedom

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Responsibility, credibility and quality are key words for a large, serious media group. This applies in relation to the users of our media, customers, employees, shareholders and the societies in which we work. At the forefront, however, is the publishing responsibility: to safeguard editorial independence and freedom of speech in the media which we own. Free media are among the main contributors to strong, live democracies. A credible, strong media should defend important values such as religious freedom, tolerance, human rights and democratic principles. They must reflect a diversity of opinion. For this reason, they should also provide different ways of looking at issues and views on important questions in public debates. The management must facilitate editors in complying with the legislation and ethical regulations of the country where the operations take place. Editorial quality and credibility are the cornerstone of publishing activities and these, together with the individual medium’s articles of association, form the basis for the editors’ work. The editor-in-chief has full freedom and is personally and fully responsible for the content of the medium of which he or she is in charge. However, there are only few publications that allow their editors with total freedom. In reality, an independent press is a myth. Or at best, a glorified term. Most editors dare not write their honest comment/opinion. In other words, they are sometimes paid to keep their honest opinions out of the paper. And if they do defy the management, they would soon be out on the streets hunting for a new job. Most managements have vested interests – political, social and cultural in running the paper, which may not gel with the opinions held by the editors they employ. It is here that the editors have to either compromise with their editorial values or pay a price for standing up to them. In private, corporate media environments,...
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