The Alliance of Independent Press Councils of Europe was established in 1999 in London. AIPCE is a network of independent Press and Media Councils in Europe to enhance cooperation and exchange of information.
AIPCE has met each year since then – in Germany, Ireland, Malta, Sweden, Cyprus, Luxembourg, Bulgaria, Scotland, Germany again, Norway, the Netherlands, Russia, Belgium and Israel.
AIPCE is a loose network of independent content regulators for both press and broadcast media. Its annual conferences provide a forum for Media and Press Council representatives to discuss topical issues, to exchange ideas and to offer and receive advice. There is no formal membership and no central secretariat.
Statement of Aims
This statement of aims, drawn up at the Alliance’s foundation, sets out the core beliefs of the participating organisations:
- that the regulation of editorial content in the media should be independent of government;
- that media content regulation, whether national or regional in its coverage, should be based on nations differing cultures;
- that the writing of Codes of journalistic ethics and their administration is the business of journalists and publishers, who take into account public feelings, and not the business of governments;
- that it is not possible to operate a universal Code of ethics, and that the imposition of supra national Codes and regulatory organisations, either at the European or global level, should be opposed.
While maintaining a European focus, AIPCE has welcomed to its meetings and activities representatives from other regulatory authorities. Details of those other regulatory authorities can be found on the Members page of this website.
What is a Press Council?
Press Councils (or Media Councils) generally have two primary functions.
The first is the administration of an agreed Code of Practice and the investigation of complaints from members of the public about editorial content in the media. The second is the defence of press freedom. Some Press Councils fulfil explicitly only the first function – but in doing so must balance the rights of the individual and the rights of the press to freedom of expression.
Press Councils are self-regulatory bodies set up by the media themselves – although they are normally given a high degree of operational independence in order to maintain public confidence. They oversee Codes of Practice which set out both professional standards for journalists, and a set of rules under which people featured in the news media can complain if something is inaccurate or intrusive.
These Codes generally contain ethical rules that are over and above legal requirements.
Press Councils represent a form of corporate responsibility which allow people to complain for free and without legal representation, and can help generate trust in the quality of news.
- The General Assembly consists of representatives of all Press or Media Councils that are Members of the AIPCE. Every Press or Media Council represented has one vote in the General Assembly.
- The General Assembly is held at the annual conference.
- The General Assembly
- decides which Member hosts the annual conference,
- elects a third Member of the Coordination Committee (see Coordination Committee below),
- decides on appeals against decisions of the Coordination Committee about new applications for becoming a Member or an Observer,
- decides on all issues concerning the AIPCE as long as it is not assigned to the Coordination Committee.
- The General Assembly decides with a two-third majority, if not stated otherwise.
- The Coordination Committee consists of three Members:
- a representative of the former host of the annual conference,
- a representative of the current host of the annual conference and
- a third Member elected for a term of one year by the General Assembly.
- The Coordination Committee decides on applications for membership and on applications as Observer. An appeal against this decision to the General Assembly is possible.
- The Coordination Committee liaises with European and International organizations.
- The Coordination Committee decides with a two-thirds majority, if not stated otherwise.
In order to become a Member of AIPCE, a Press or Media Council has to be recognized by as well as representative for the media in a country which is geographically located in Europe or a Member state of the Council of Europe.
Procedure to Become a Member
In order to register as a Member of the AIPCE, a Press or Media Council should comply with the following procedure:
- File a written application to the Coordination Committee. The application should be signed by an authorized representative of the Press or Media Council and has to outline how the Membership criteria (see Membership above) are satisfied. The request has to be written in English.
- The Coordination Committee decides on the application within two months. To accept a new Member, the decision must be unanimous.
- Where the Coordination Committee accepts a new Member, the existing Members can appeal the decision within one month of the Coordination Committee informing them of the decision. In the event of an appeal, the final decision will be that of the General Assembly.
- Where the Coordination Committee declines the application, the affected Press or Media Council has the right to appeal to the General Assembly within one month of the refusal.
- If the General Assembly is to decide on an application or appeal, the affected Press or Media Council has the right to be heard by the General Assembly.
- The decision of the General Assembly on membership is final.
Rights and Responsibilities of Members
- Members should uphold the ethics of journalism and free access to and distribution of information as well as promote freedom of expression.
- Each Member has one vote in the General Assembly.
- Members have the right to participate in the annual conference.
- Members have the right to choose who hosts the annual conference.
- Members have the right to participate in elections to be a Member of the Coordination Committee.
- Members have the right to participate in the internal communication of the AIPCE.
- Members are expected to contribute their expertise and knowledge in the network in favour of the AIPCE.
The Coordination Committee and the General Assembly can accept organizations from the Media sector and/or dealing with Media policies as Observers. The procedure for applications as an Observer is the same as for applications for Membership.
Rights and Responsibilities of Observers
- Observers should uphold the ethics of journalism and free access to and distribution of information as well as promote freedom of expression.
- Observers have the right to participate in AIPCE annual conferences.
- Observers are expected to contribute with their expertise and knowledge in the network in favour of the AIPCE.
Ending of membership
If a Member or an Observer resigns or is dissolved, its Membership to the AIPCE ends. If a Member or an Observer harms the good standing of the AIPCE or no longer fulfils the criteria for being a Member or an Observer, the General Assembly is able to expel the Member or Observer.
Vienna, 9th of October 2015.