Accountability systems

The national professional organization of journalists (AVBB/AGJPB) is the cradle of all initiatives to draw the lines of an ethical code for journalists. In Flanders, de Raad voor de Journalistiek (RvdJ) was founded in 2002. Its ethical framework was formalized in 2010 in the Code van de Raad voor de Journalistiek. The council involves representatives from the publishers and media companies, journalists, and experts outside of the media circles. The Council has an impressive track record and the self-regulatory body appears to sustain the quality of journalism. A large proportion of the complaints evaluated by the Council is related to invasion of privacy or perceived invasion of privacy, but there are also complaints relating to tabloidization or sensationalism.

For the French-speaking part of the country, the Conseil de Déontologie Journalistique (CDJ) was created in 2009 and its missions were defined by law, making it more co-regulatory (public authorities and the sector) than self-regulatory (the sector only). CDJ involves representatives from the publishers, journalists, editors-in-chief, and civil society. It established its own Code de déontologie journalistique in 2009, which was updated in 2013. CDJ works closely together with their Flemish counterpart as well as with the regulator for audio-visual media, the Conseil Supérieur de l’Audiovisuel (CSA). Together with the CSA, the CDJ publishes a report each year on the activities regarding complaints and specific cases with ethical characteristics (Raeymaeckers & Heinderyckx, 2017).