SEOUL (June 22, 2012) — A council of distinguished journalists, academics and media entrepreneurs affiliated with the World Economic Forum unveiled a new code of digital conduct for government leaders Friday at the East-West Center’s International Media Conference in Seoul, South Korea. The code calls on governments to use the power of the Internet to create informed and open societies
Yuen-Ying Chan, chair of the Global Agenda Council on Informed Societies, and WEF media director Fon Mathuros said that for the new rules to have teeth, media leaders and civil society need to get on board. The code of conduct is distilled into four dimensions: transparency, media literacy, privacy and empowerment of citizens.
One of the aspects the council outlined says, “Governments should adopt policies that foster competitive markets.” Asked about implications of this for the concentrated corporate ownership of many of America’s mainstream media, Chan stopped short of saying the U.S. should break up media conglomerates “I can’t say what specific action a government should take, but definitely there should be a framework of competitiveness, promoting independent media, providing the conditions for independent media to thrive.”
When asked what the council would do if governments decline to adopt the code of conduct, Chan said, “They may well do that.” She explained the way to pressure governments to behave was to persuade the citizens and media first.
Chan said the code should serve as a metric of media freedom. “We are working on an index that will measure a society’s level of living up to the code,” she said.
— Reporting by Adam Aton, Missouri School of Journalism