Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: December 16, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412972048 | Print ISBN: 9780761929574 | Online ISBN: 9781412972048| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
A news council is a nongovernmental body formed by journalists and/or news media owners, and which usually includes nonmedia members, created to adjudicate public complaints against media misbehavior. Its only means of punishment is the voluntary publication of its judgments by news media. Financing of council operation is normally provided by the organizers. In 2007, the total number of national and regional councils ranged (depending on definition) between 68 active, genuine press councils—83 if African “media observatories” are included—and 89, including several similar accountability systems. (See Table 1 .) The decision to establish a news council sometimes derives from the wish to enforce an accepted code of ethics. Yet relatively few news councils have been created voluntarily. Legislators first had to make threatening noises about establishing a council by law, usually under pressure from the public outraged by one or more media transgressions. Sweden initiated the concept in 1916, though ...