What is the Council for Mass Media in Finland The Council is self-regulated
The Council for Mass Media (CMM) is a self-regulating committee established in 1968 for publishers and journalists in the field of mass communication. Its task is to interpret good professional practice and defend the freedom of speech and publication.
CMM is not a court nor does it exercise legal jurisdiction. The journalists and other personnel engaged in mass media who have affiliated to the CMM have, by doing so, voluntarily committed themselves to advancing and upholding the ethical principles of the profession. Councils like the CMM are active in many other countries as well.
Any person who considers that there has been a breach of good professional practice in any newspaper or magazine or on radio or television may bring this to the attention of the CMM. Once the CMM has established, through investigation, that good professional practice has been breached, it issues a notice which the party in violation must publish within a short time span.
Under certain circumstances involving important principles, the CMM can initiate an investigation on its own initiative. It can also issue policy statements regarding questions of professional ethics.
The CMM handles complaint investigations free of charge, within an average timeframe of three months.
The CMM is comprised of a president and nine members. Of the nine members, six represent areas of expertise in the field of mass media, and three represent the public at large.
The president and representatives of the public are elected by the council itself. They may not be employees or board members of any company or organization engaging in mass media.
The media representatives are appointed by a separate selection committee, which is comprised of representatives of media organizations affiliated to the CMM.
The CMM constitution
The framework of the CMM’s operations are stipulated in a Charter, which is signed by all the organizations which have committed to themselves to self-regulation and accepted its objectives.
Journalistic Guidelines are comprised of the central ethical principles regulating mass media, which CMM consults in their investigation of complaints.
Complaints should be filed in the following manner:
A complaint may be filed by any individual requesting the investigation of a matter concerning breach of good professional practice or the freedom of speech and publication. The matter does not have to directly concern to the person issuing the complaint. The CMM requires, however, that this person consent to the investigation.
The CMM will not investigate complaints submitted anonymously, nor – unless there are special reasons – complaints where more than three months has elapsed since publication.
The complaint must by submitted in writing and signed. No other formal requirements are necessary. Assistance may be sought from the secretary of the CMM when necessary.
The complaint should specify precisely what article, programme, photograph or practice it concerns.
If the complaint concerns a magazine publication, it is advised that a clipping from the issue be attached. Complaints concerning radio or television programmes should include the exact date, channel and time of broadcast. Complaints concerning electronic publications on Internet must include the Internet address.
The person filing the complaint may submit other attachments. The CMM may request additional information and verbal statements from the parties involved in the matter.
The complaint may be filed through the general post or as electronic post.