OSCE - Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe

03/04/2019 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 03/04/2019 11:36

OSCE-supported guidelines for moderating readers’ comments on internet portals presented in Podgorica

A set of guidelines, developed with OSCE support, that elaborates rules, ethical standards and guidance on how to moderate readers' comments on internet portals was presented to the Montenegrin public on 4 March 2019 in Podgorica.

The Guidelines for Applying Section 2.8 of Montenegrin Journalists' Code of Ethics were drafted by the Technical Working Group on Self-Regulation, composed of representatives of the Media Council for Self-Regulation and representatives and ombudspersons of Dan, Vijesti and Monitor, under the auspices of the OSCE Mission to Montenegro.

The Head of the OSCE Mission Maryse Daviet said that only in Montenegro have representatives of various self-regulatory bodies teamed up and worked together on a document of this kind.

'The Guidelines are relevant for moderators of portals, as well as for editors and readers, and further clarify Section 2.8 of the Journalists Code of Ethics. They were presented to the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media in Vienna in July 2018, who acknowledged the importance of the document,' said Daviet.

Paula Petričević, Ombudswoman of Daily Vijesti and Weekly Monitor, explained that the Guidelines are structured in four basic segments: rules for commenting, moderation, procedures and sanctions. 'The idea of the document is to provide rules for an argumentative, decent, engaging discussion and a space for freedom of expression, not its abuses,' said Petričević.

Aneta Spaić, Member of Montenegrin Media Council for Self-Regulation said that guidelines by the BBC and the British media outlet The Guardian were used as a basis, and that some solutions were taken from the judgments of the European Court of Human Rights. 'Internet portals are obliged to use software for the automatic filtering of inappropriate expressions. This means that everything that automated filtering finds to be an inappropriate expression will be placed in quarantine that will be subject to moderation,' said Spajić.

The Guidelines for Applying Section 2.8 of Montenegrin Journalists' Code of Ethics are available here in English, Montenegrin and Albanian.