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Lithuania – (E8) Level of self-regulation (performance)

Score in short:

Sophisticated means of media self-regulation do exist in some newsrooms; there are also examples of organized self-criticism in some media.

Score in detail:

The main self-regulatory tool for editorial policies in the media is the Code of Ethics for Journalists and Publishers, approved by the Lithuanian Journalists Union in 1996. The Code sets basic requirements for news reporting, ethical standards and protection of individual privacy. It also speaks about the relations between journalists and owners, and among journalists themselves. The Codex was updated in 2005.

Many of the leading news media organizations have requirements for journalists to follow the Ethics code in their job agreements. one exception is the Lietuvos rytas company, which follows its own codex (based on a foreign prototype that outlines 10 core principles of ethical professional conduct). overall, most of the respondents see the ethical rules as important principles for their professional conduct.

Independent journalist associations also play an important role in improving skills and raising ethical standards. In Lithuania, two such organizations exist: Lithuanian Journalists’ Union and Journalists’ Association. The figure for their membership is 800 and 100 journalists, respectively. Keeping in mind that there are generally between 3000 and 4000 journalists in Lithuania, members of these organizations form approximately one third (or one fourth) of all journalists. The Union also has different associations of sports journalists, photojournalists and others who discuss professional issues on a more specialized level. Respondents, however, had ambivalent opinions about the Journalists’ Union.