Senegal: Jury of Peers Inaugurated to Promote Professionalism

On August 27, 2014, Senegal President Macky Sall inaugurated members of the Jury of Peers of the ‘Council for the Observation of Ethics and Rules in the Media’ (Conseil pour l’observation des règles d’éthique et de déontologie dans les medias-CORED).

Considered an independent self-regulatory media organ, CORED consists of ten members chosen from preeminent Senegalese journalists. It has been tasked with reviewing journalistic practices and taking disciplinary actions against offenders.

President Sall chaired the inauguration event and promised to refer disputes only to the Jury of Peers. “The right to information is a right I will defend,” he said. “I can assure you that the profession can make great progress; where freedom is concerned, I have decided that henceforth, the State will work with you to ensure the running of this Jury of Peers.”

The CORED is expected to adjudicate cases of media violations referred to it by members of the general public and journalists themselves. Through the Jury of Peers, CORED will organise regular meetings to educate the media and help prevent abuses and acts of media unprofessionalism, which have discredited the profession in the past.

The CORED was initially inaugurated in the early 2000s under the name ‘Council for the Compliance of Ethics and Deontology’ (Conseil pour le respect de l’éthique et de la déontologie-CRED). It aimed to help journalists avoid lawsuits by referring cases to a Jury of Peers, which would impose sanctions, thus preventing penal sanctions from courts. In this manner, CRED hoped to handle the various disputes that set media houses against each other regarding matters of ethics and professional conduct.
However, CRED did not make the expected impact because it was not unanimously accepted within the media community. In fact, media houses and journalists even challenged its authority and decisions.

A series of meetings held between 2007 and 2009 led to the reformation of CRED, which was then renamed and re-conceptualized as CORED.
With the re-launching of and improvements made to CORED, journalists and social communication persons have acknowledged the right of the public and institutions to scrutinize the news and to hold media personnel to a high standard of professionalism and ethics.

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