I wasn’t even out of the awestruck feeling when I landed in Finland that there was another surprise waiting. I was surprised to hear the way the concept of Self regulation of media works in Finland.
I have always wondered , why do we even have the concept of Self regulation of media because back in India we have exactly the same concept of self regulation which involves a documented code of ethics for media but no legal jurisdiction. And the debate goes on because any effective step to ensure the execution of the self regulation’s concept attracts arguments of curbing the Freedom of press. But I was compelled to give the concept another thought after I met Mr Risto Uimonen as part of the FCP 2013. He is the chairman for Council for Mass Media (CMM) in Finland.
In the beginning he said ” CMM is to ensure the line between good an bad journalism” and by the end of the lecture I was convinced by the statement.
Finland has a code book for journalism ethics and the CMM ensures that it is followed. The codes are somewhat similar to what we have in other countries, following the concept of self regulation, but what makes this concept effective in Finland is execution of ‘PUBLIC SHAME’ as a punishment.
So, if you are not following the self regulation as a media person in Finland, you cannot get away with any financial punishment, you will have to publish the decision of the CMM taken against you in your concerned media. Sounds perfect.
Anybody can get away with financial punishment in some way or the other but the damage caused to the brand reputation takes much more to be back at the same position. That stands for a perfectly balanced solution to the argument of “strict execution of self regulation leads to curbing the freedom of Press”.
The presence of a council and the way it functions ensures that there is a regulation on derogatory or inappropriate content at the same time ensuring that the Freedom of Press and Freedom of Speech and expression remains unhampered. Isn’t the public shame the best idea to deal with the mentioned debate? Well, that’s what it takes to be at the top of the Freedom Press Index.