Help Desk

FAQ for Everyone

What is the goal of the JTI?

The Journalism Trust Initiative helps build a healthier information space by:

  • Helping consumers, advertisers, distributors and regulators to identify and reward trustworthy journalism;
  • Incentivizing media outlets to perfect their internal processes;
  • Delivering a transparent, standards-based system to help defund and deplatform disinformation.
Who can use the JTI?

The main users of the JTI are news media outlets. They self-assess their editorial processes and increase their transparency. The general public also benefits from an improved news ecosystem. Other stakeholders, like regulators and the private sector (advertisers, distributors and digital platforms) might use the JTI to improve their own interaction with journalism.

Who is behind the JTI?

The JTI was started by, and is owned and operated by Reporters Without Borders (RSF), a non-governmental press-freedom watchdog and human rights advocacy group. The launch was supported by a number of key partners, such as the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) and Agence France Presse (AFP), plus numerous other contributors.

More information can be found in the 'About' section of this website.

How is JTI being funded?

The funding for the project development was provided through a grant of the French Ministry of Culture.

Craig Newmark Philanthropies made a substantial gift to cover the implementation of the JTI.

Additional co-funding was received from the European Commission and the International Organisation of the Francophonie.

Some features of the JTI web application are paid-for services on a subscription basis. These revenues are being used to support the operational cost, as the overall Initiative remains strictly not-for-profit.

More detailed information about the funding and funders is available on the 'About' page of this website.

Why did you chose the instrument of standard setting?

We believe that professional criteria for the trustworthiness of news media should be defined, governed and implemented by the journalistic community and no one else. Industry standards match that objective as their main principle is self-regulatory as opposed to a regulatory solution that comes via laws created by a government. Another reason is the widely tested and scalable nature of ISO-sanctioned standards, and the inclusiveness, authoritativeness and legitimacy associated with it.

Could the JTI have a negative impact or unintended consequences, for example limiting press freedom? How do you prevent that?

The purpose of the JTI is to support the freedoms of expression and the press by rewarding compliance with professional norms and best practices of journalism. We have conducted a thorough risk assessment in advance. You can find it in Annex A of the Standard document that includes guidelines for different types of users in order to prevent, detect and mitigate potential misuse. The 'JTI' brand is legally protected.

Is the JTI replacing existing editorial guidelines or self-regulatory structures, like Press Councils?

No. The JTI is fully complementary, as it adds a voluntary and independent compliance level to those existing processes. It can be used by Media Outlets internally as an additional diagnostic tool, and by external bodies such as Press Councils or Regulatory Authorities to support them in performing their duties.

How does the JTI fit into digital policies and the call for regulating big tech companies?

We believe that suppression of harmful or illegal content online, and the subsequent sanctioning of malicious actors, is not enough to secure the safe functioning of our common information space. In parallel, trustworthy journalism deserves to be rewarded with a competitive advantage in terms of discoverability, leading to elevated reach and revenues.

The JTI caters to this objective very practically by providing the relevant datasets in real time and a machine-readable way. Legal obligations for digital platforms (mostly search engines and social media) to facilitate 'due prominence' of trustworthy sources could be stipulated by law with a reference to self-regulatory standards such as the JTI as a benchmark.

How is JTI different from other initiatives in this space?

The uniqueness of the JTI lies in its combination of a robust, tested and scalable framework – including the option of third-party audits for elevated compliance – with its additional features of machine-readability and a self-regulatory, ISO-type, non-proprietary nature.

Is the JTI judging or ranking news content, and wouldn't that be a form of censorship?

The JTI criteria are not about content, like an individual article or story, but only about the editorial management systems of a newsroom or, in other words, the manufacturing level of journalism and the underlying processes.

FAQ for Media Outlets

Why do you distinguish between Media Outlet and Legal Entity?

In many cases, one Legal Entity owns more than just one Media Outlet, but maybe not all of them want to run the JTI at the same time. Therefore, the web application allows for more flexibility.

The second reason is data coordination. All information that relates to the Legal Entity needs to be entered only once – in the Legal Entity account. It is then automatically synchronized with all affiliated Media Outlets, and updated in case of changes.

Thirdly, if a media outlet changes ownership and the Legal Entity changes, the re-linking can happen more easily.

My Media Outlet and Legal Entity are identical. Do I still need to create two accounts?

Not immediately, but before you can publish any results of your work in the jti:app, yes.

One of the main features of this tool, the Self-assessment, can be accessed by a Media Outlet account without creating a Legal Entity account. However, in order to publish a Transparency Report or undergo an independent audit at a later stage, the Legal Entity needs to be registered separately, even if it runs only one media brand.

So, according to the JTI Standard definition, the Media Outlet and Legal Entity are not identical.

How do you define the Legal Entity?

According to Clause 1.1 of the JTI Standard document, the Legal Entity “usually is the body that would be held liable in a court case. It is the body that enters into transactions such as paying employees and suppliers or receiving funds from readers, viewers, customers, advertisers and other sources of funding.”

Is the Legal Entity what you mean by ownership?

In most cases yes. If a Media Outlet is operated by an organization (a company, association, etc.) that is owned by one or more natural persons, then this Legal Entity is what we mean by ownership.

If, however, your ownership structure is more complex with additional layers involved, then this distinction matters. The Legal Entity still remains the first of those layers as defined above.

By contrast, the definition in Clause 5. follows the concept of “beneficial ownership”, which means the person or group of persons that ultimately owns and controls the Media Outlet, and which may differ from the Legal Entity you are directly affiliated with.

Why is Clause no. 1 being disabled?

All information requested in the JTI Standard Clause no. 1 (except for sub-clause 1.3.) relates to the Legal Entity. Once your Media Outlet account is linked to a Legal Entity, this dataset will be synchronized and displayed automatically. You can proceed and fill out the other parts of  your Self-assessment without it.

How do I link my Media Outlet with its Legal Entity?

Once you want to publish your answers provided in the Self-assessment, you can activate your Transparency Report. This will prompt a request to link with a Legal Entity, which works two ways:

  • Either your Legal Entity is already registered with an account. In this case the name will appear in a dropdown list and you can select it there;
  • Or the Legal Entity is not registered yet. In this case, you can send an invitation to create an account via the tool.

In both cases, the Legal Entity will need to confirm your request. As soon as you’re linked your Transparency Report will become available. You made it to the second stage – congratulations!

I can’t or don’t want to answer all your questions but would still like to create and publish my Transparency Report. Is that possible?

Yes, you can move from stage one (Self-assessment) to stage two (Public Disclosure) in the process at any time, even if your Self-assessment is not complete. The Transparency Report will only include those questions and answers that you provided, but no blanks in between.

I would like to get my membership or oversight validated by a Group that’s not listed yet. What can I do?

You may want to contact this Group directly and suggest to create a jti:app account, in order to affiliate your Media Outlet.

If this takes some time, you can move on with your Self-assessment and add the affiliation later.

Why is Clause no. 18 being disabled?

Clause no. 18 recommends the publication of your Self-assessment, which requires the link to a Legal Entity and the subsequent publication of your Transparency Report (see pt. II.2. below). Once this has happened, Clause no. 18 will be unlocked and answered automatically with 'Yes' and the link to your Transparency Report. You can then edit it afterwards and, for example, add another designated URL to the one that we provide through this tool.

Is it possible to change or add information to my Self-assessment once I have entered stage two (Public disclosure)?

Yes, you can always access the questionnaire and add and amend entries as needed. The number of changes will be displayed in the header of the Transparency Report, as well as the dates of the first publication and the latest amendment.

Who will have access to my data once I am in stage two (Public disclosure)?

Everyone. The Transparency Reports are publicly available, for example via a searchable database on the JTI website. The publication is subject to the Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 3.0 (Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported) and the Terms of Service that you subscribe to.

Can I un-publish my Transparency Report as a Media Outlet?

Yes. You can deactivate your account via the account settings at any time. This will also deactivate the link to your Transparency Report and the display of your data on the JTI website. Of course, this action will not delete previously scraped or downloaded data by third-parties.

Deactivation means that we will store all content associated with your account, so that it can be reactivated – however, we cannot legally guarantee that your data can be restored.

If you want to permanently delete your account and all data associated with it, you need to deactivate it first, then please contact the Help Desk.

What happens if my Legal Entity deletes its account?

Basically deactivating or deleting a Legal Entity Account is the same as a Media Outlet account, however with one important difference. If your Legal Entity deactivates or deletes its account, all aligned Media Outlet accounts will be notified and automatically downgraded to stage one. You would then need to link your Media Outlet to another Legal Entity in order to regain access to your Transparency Report or Certification status.

How can I find a Certification Body?

Certification is, like tax audits, a competitive marketplace and the JTI team does not recommend Certification Bodies. However you may find a list of already registered ones in the web application. Access to that list is tightly regulated by international governance bodies and the relevant regulation, standards and guidelines, all together called accreditation. As a general rule, all Certifiers that are accredited according to ISO/IEC 17065:2012 (‘Conformity assessment – Requirements for bodies certifying products, processes and services’) are eligible.

How much does it cost and who pays for the external audit?

Typically, conforming entities, in this case the Media Outlet and its Legal Entity, commission the audit and pay for it. In some cases, subsidies from donors might be made available. The cost depends on the size and complexity of the specific task, but also the market environment.

How long is the Certificate valid and what happens then?

A Certificate automatically expires after two years and both the Media Outlet and its Certification Body will receive a notification prior to that date. Recertification is usually less burdensome and less expensive than the original assessment. Recertification might also become necessary when relevant data in the self-assessment changes. In that case, the Certification Body is automatically notified via the web application. External complaints could trigger a re-certification process as well.

Is it possible to change or add information to my Self-assessment once I am certified?

Yes. Any change will trigger a notification on the end of the Certification Body to assess the need for recertification. In this case, the certificate will be temporarily suspended or permanently deactivated, depending on the result of the assessment by the certifier.

I need a template or inspiration for Editorial Guidelines. Can you help?

Yes. We have added a reference document called 'Model Editorial Guidelines' to the JTI Standard, as well as some useful links in the Bibliography (Chapter VIII.). You can download the full document here.

FAQ for Legal Entities

How do you define the Legal Entity?

According to clause 1.1 of the JTI Standard document, the Legal Entity “usually is the body that would be held liable in a court case. It is the body that enters into transactions such as paying employees and suppliers or receiving funds from readers, viewers, customers, advertisers and other sources of funding.”

Can I change my plan within a subscription period?

Yes. If you upgrade your plan, it is valid immediately and a new one-year subscription term starts. A downgrade is also possible at any time, but it will become active only after the current subscription term expires.

The same applies for cancellations. Unfortunately, we cannot process any refunds.

How do I prove my eligibility for discounts?

The DAC list will be matched with your country of registration and applied automatically. No action is required on your end.

For the non-for-profit status we take the respective registration as a declaration of honour and will vet it in case of doubt. If discounts have been awarded based on false statements, sanctions might be applied.

Can I change my account data at a later point?

Yes. This is possible via the account settings. The datasets of all linked Media Outlets will be updated automatically.

However, please consider the following: If one or more of those Media Outlets have already been certified, and your account data relating to the identity of the Legal Entity changes, this might lead to a temporary deactivation of the Media Outlet’s Certificate as the Certification Body would first have to approve those changes.

Can I change the Self-assessment data of a linked Media Outlet?

No. The administrator of the Media Outlet account controls the questionnaire exclusively.

For any amendments you would need to contact them directly.

Who has access to the Media Outlet’s dataset?

During the Self-assessment only the Media Outlet has access to the questionnaire. Most typically, your accounts would not even be linked in this first stage.

Once the Media Outlet moves to stage two, the Transparency Reports becomes publicly available, for example via a searchable database on the JTI website. The publication is subject to the Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 3.0 (Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported) and the Terms of Service that you and the Media Outlet subscribed to.

Can I block or un-publish a Media Outlet’s Transparency Report?

Yes. You can revoke your link to a Media Outlet at any time. In that case, the Media Outlet will be notified and automatically downgraded to stage one, which disables the link to its Transparency Report or Certificate, and thus removes all data from public view.

Can I delete my account?

Yes, you can deactivate your account via the account settings at any time. Please be aware that in this case, all linked Media Outlet accounts will be notified and automatically downgraded to stage one, which will disable the link to its Transparency Report or Certificate, and remove all related data from public view.

Deactivation means that we will move content associated with your account to storage, so that it can possibly be reactivated – however, we cannot legally guarantee your data can be fully restored.

If you want to permanently delete your account and all data associated with it, you need to deactivate it first, then please contact the Help Desk.

FAQ for Groups

How do you define a Network in this context?

A Network is any corporate structure of co-branding, content sharing, syndication and/or franchise that does not necessarily involve ownership.

How do I prove my eligibility for discounts?

The DAC list will be matched with your country of registration and applied automatically. No action is required on your end.

For the non-for profit plus non-governmental plus self-regulatory status we take the respective registration as a declaration of honour and will vet it in case of doubt. If discounts have been awarded based on false statements, sanctions might be applied.

Is it possible to connect my account with a Media Outlet proactively?

No. This needs to be triggered by the Media Outlet. You might want to reach out directly to initiate the process.

Do I need to check and endorse the full JTI questionnaire of a Media Outlet before confirming its request?

No. You only validate your relationship as such, be it membership, oversight, or else, but not the Media Outlet's full questionnaire.

Your affiliation will only be displayed under Standard Clause no. 15 and nowhere else.

The Legal Entity is my member or subject to my supervisory role as a Group. Can I align my account with a Legal Entity as well?

No. It is always a Media Outlet that conforms with the JTI and to which the clauses apply, for example the one about 'External Accountability' (no. 15). If more than one Media Outlet under the same Legal Entity run the JTI and send requests for alignment with your Group, you have to confirm them one by one.

Can I delete my account?

Yes, you can deactivate your account via the account settings at any time. This means that your name will no longer be visible on the Transparency Report for any Media Outlet that previously linked to your organization.

Deactivation means that we will move content associated with your account to storage, so that it can possibly be reactivated – however, we cannot legally guarantee your data can be fully restored.

If you want to permanently delete your account and all data associated with it, you need to deactivate it first, then please contact the Help Desk.

FAQ for Certifiers

How do I get accredited as a Certification Body for the JTI?

Accreditation for Certification Bodies requires that you first get certified yourself according to the ISO/IEC Standard no. 17065:2012 (Conformity assessment – Requirements for bodies certifying products, processes and services) and then takes place in line with the JTI Certification and Accreditation Programme which is available upon request.

For more information please create a free account in this web application and refer to the Tutorial or contact the JTI team.

GLOSSARY

Accountability

The act of the media outlet declaring its governing principles and how it is to be held responsible for adhering to them. (see Preamble for more about the key principles of ethical journalism)

Advertiser

An entity paying a media outlet for publication of commercial messages designed to drive consumer activity.

Advertising

Any commercial messages provided by an advertiser designed to reach an audience to drive consumer activity.

Audience

Those people who do, or could potentially, read, watch, listen or otherwise consume the content of a media outlet.

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