Media accountability as an abstract idea?

Authored by: Olivier Baisnée , Ludivine Balland , Sandra Vera Zambrano

The European Handbook of Media Accountability

Print publication date:  November  2017
Online publication date:  November  2017

Print ISBN: 9781472457660
eBook ISBN: 9781315616353
Adobe ISBN:


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The question of journalistic deontology in France has been widely discussed, but the debate remains topical. For the last few years, many charters, reports and laws to ensure media accountability have been launched, with only some success. This chapter analyses why the attempts to establish an accountable model have not yet found real and general acceptance. This might be explained through three principal elements. First, the journalistic profession depends on actors external to its own professional space (e.g. the state, through unsuitable laws, or economic constraints through increasing job uncertainty) and this can go some way to explaining journalists’ reluctance. Second, contrary to the research and journalists’ discourses, it is mainly the professional space itself that produces the most efficient accountability instruments, leaving aside economic and political constraints. Third, this report discusses the importance of considering the position of the instruments within the journalistic field: most attempts to create effective accountability instruments are established by (and directed to) the most prestigious kinds of journalism, when they only represent a small part of the entire journalistic field.

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