The current functioning of press councils in Europe is not well understood and there is a lack of international public information available about them.
This database, the first of its kind, covers analysis of selected themes such as the media councils history, funding and staff, the purpose and complaints-handling work, membership and scope, decision-making, code of ethics, public engagement, and the main challenges of established media councils. It helps map out similarities and differences of media councils regarding their mission, their structure, their proceedings, their responsibilities and their methods.
The database has been developed by the Vereniging van de Raad voor de Journalistiek – Belgium.
We use the term media council to refer to the organisations or entities that we studied. This means the organisation as a whole, including the executive office (its day-to-day staff), the complaints-handling body, its board, and all other parts that the organisation may consist of.
We use the word commission to refer to the group of people who decide whether or not complaints should be upheld (i.e., the media breached the Ethical Code) or not.
We use the term commission members to refer to the people who decide about complaints.
We use the term members of the media council to refer to the constituents of the organisation itself – the (umbrella organisations of) media companies, individual media outlets, journalist/editor’s associations or unions, and/or individual journalists.