The MediaWise Trust – formerly PressWise – exists to:
- provide free, confidential advice and assistance for members of the public affected by inaccurate, intrusive, or sensational media coverage;
- deliver use-of-the-media training for the voluntary sector and members of the public;
- devise and deliver training on ethical issues for media professionals;
- conduct research and publish material about media law, policy and practice;
- contribute to public debate about the role and impact of the mass media.
PressWise was set up as a voluntary organisation in 1993 by ‘victims of media abuse’, supported by concerned journalists, media lawyers and Clive Soley MP, who had sought to establish an independent body to defend press freedom and adjudicate on complaints against the press with his Freedom and Responsibility of the Press. However, the Trust has always been concerned with ethical issues in ALL forms of mass media.
The PressWise Trust registered as a charity in 1999, and changed its name to The MediaWise Trust in 2005. It is funded by donations, grants and commissions. The Trust’s registered objectives can be viewed here.
MediaWise has a national office at the St Matthias Campus of the University of the West of England in Bristol. The Trust’s Director is a very experienced journalist and trainer who has worked in all sectors of the media. MediaWise employs a network of journalists to conduct research and deliver training.
The Trust has devised and delivered a wide range of training packages for media professionals and non-governmental organisations in over 30 countries. As part of this work the Trust has developed guidelines on a variety of problematic aspects of media coverage, including:
- Health communications (with WHO European Health Communication Network);
- Reporting about children (with the EC Daphne Initiative, the International Federation of Journalists and UNICEF);
- Reporting Suicide (with Befrienders International, the IFJ and the NUJ).
The Trust regularly contributes to public debate via the media and events concerned with media ethics and regulation. It also organises opportunities for dialogue between media professionals and the public in the UK.
MediaWise believes that press freedom is a responsibility exercised by journalists and editors on behalf of the public. The most important role of journalists in a democracy is to inform the public about events, issues and opinions which might influence the decisions people take about their lives and the society in which they live. For that reason the Trust asserts the public’s right to know when inaccurate information has been delivered by the mass media.
The MediaWise Trust is a registered charity No. 1076002 and a limited company No. 3747192, providing advice, information, research and training on media ethics.
Visitors to this site are encouraged to make use of our material, providing the source is acknowledged and we are informed about how and where it is to be used.
(Credit: the photograph used in our website banner was taken by Ann McKelvie and is used under a Creative Commons licence)