How do you know a piece of news is true?

How can you tell true journalism apart from fake media and advertising? How do you know a media outlet is independent, fair and honest? The Council for Mass Media (CMM, Julkinen sanan neuvosto) was founded 50 years ago to answer questions that are now current in a new way.

The most important task of the CMM is to ensure that you can trust journalism. Almost all established Finnish mass media are regulated by the CMM. They have voluntarily committed to following the Guidelines for Journalists.

So how does the CMM work? Anyone may make a complaint to the CMM if they think a media outlet has broken the Guidelines for Journalists. Once a month, the 14 members of the CMM meet and, on the basis of the complaints received, issue either acquittals or verdicts. A verdict means that the media outlet has broken the Guidelines for Journalists. The only punishment, however, is that the media outlet must publish the verdict in full.

The Guidelines for Journalists consist, at a fundamental level, of the reader’s, listener’s and viewer’s rights. Their most important task is to ensure that you can access independent, truthful journalism that respects human rights and the rights of the subjects of the story. 

Adapted from “From scandal to another”. The exhibition of the 50th Anniversary of the Finnish Council for Mass Media.