Accountability systems

There are many generally accepted mechanisms of mass media accountability to the public in Russia, including : the Public Board on Complaints About Mass Media (equivalent to media councils in European countries), as well as professional codes of ethics, media criticism in the printed press and through radio channels, a number of professional journals, online instruments encouraging openness and involving the public, the online ombudsmen and a developed network of higher educational institutions.  

The Public Board on Press Complaints was formed in 2005. The board is divided into two chambers – the chamber of the media community and the chamber of the media audience. The first includes journalists, editors, publishers, broadcasters, etc. The chamber of the media audience is composed of representatives of various organisations operating outside the sphere of the media: political parties, trade unions, religious and other commercial organisations, as well as non-profit organisations, the Public Chamber of the Russian Federation, the Council of Judges of the Russian Federation and other professional bodies. Both chambers include representatives from universities and researchers in the field of the mass media. Government officials are included in the chamber of the media community. The board operates on a continuous basis without any budget and on a voluntary basis. The largest numbers of cases examined by the Public Board are cases of inaccuracy, errors or incompleteness of information in the media coverage. In second place, there are cases of discrimination on various grounds (national, religious), as well as lack of respect for the honour and dignity of the citizens.  

The Russian Code of Professional Ethics of the Journalist was adopted in 1994, at the Congress of Journalists of Russia. In the same year Moscow journalists adopted the Moscow Charter of Journalists. The principles of both documents are based on similar international documents – like the International Declaration of Principles on the Conduct of Journalists (1954) and the International Principles of Professional Ethics of Journalists (1983). The Charter of Broadcasters Against Violence and Cruelty signed by the executives of six national TV channels (2005) is an extra ethical set of rules for radio and television journalists and it is also based on generally accepted standards of journalistic ethics