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The Netherlands – (E8) Level of self-regulation (performance)

Score in short:

The Press Council, examining complaints about media coverage, is an organization for self-regulation. The News Monitor, funded by grants from the Press Promotion Fund, provides empirical material for the evaluation of news coverage.

Score in detail:

The Press Council (Raad voor de Journalistiek) is an organization for self-regulation in the media. The Council examines complaints lodged by citizens about reports and articles in the media. The primary aim is to find a compromise between the two parties so that a lawsuit can be avoided. To this end, the Council has written down a code of conduct or guidelines in a Guidebook, which serves as the basis for highquality and objective journalistic practice that will not prejudice anyone’s rights. A second instrument to promote journalistic quality is the Nederlandse Nieuwsmonitor (‘Dutch News Monitor’). It is a research tool set up by the Stichting het Persinstituut (‘Foundation The Press Institute’) to check on and guarantee the quality of Dutch journalism, and results from the co-operation between Nederlandse Dagblad Pers (NDP, Dutch Newspaper Press), the Nederlandse Vereniging van Journalisten (NVJ, the Dutch Association of Journalists), the Radboud university of Nijmegen and the university of Amsterdam. The News Monitor is funded by grants from the Press Promotion Fund. The Press Institute Foundation, in its endeavor to guarantee journalistic quality, provides empirical material to the News Monitor,which can thus assess the quality of journalistic practice in the Netherlands. The Monitor analyzes and evaluates news articles and examines ways to improve quality of reporting and journalistic practice. The primary aim is not to make assessments on the basis of good/bad criteria, but rather to focus on the news process as a whole, for which an ongoing follow-up is of course essential. The reports of the News Monitor are published periodically. There are three types of reports: the Continue Monitor, the Event Monitor and the Issue Monitor. The Continue Monitor looks into general characteristics of content such as topic, news genre and sources. These characteristics are then checked in the national papers, a number of regional papers and a few news programs on television. The Event Monitor deals with controversial issues, scandals and sensational events that are highlighted in the media during a relatively short period of time. The event Monitor therefore focuses on cool, objective and reliable reporting; the media it examines are the same as in the Continue Monitor. Finally, the Issue Monitor studies major social issues that remain in the media limelight for a longer time (Nederlandse Nieuwsmonitor 2010).