Liveblogging the 2nd day of the European MIL Forum, Xavier Landes, Department of Media, Cognition and Communication at the University of Copenhagen,talked about Trust and Media matters in diverse societies. He was addressing the question of how to build trust in media, and how to contribute to the development of trust in societies which are diverse. He identified two forms of trust: institutional trust (that citizens have in insitutions) and mutual trust (citizens trusting each other). Media and journalists has the power to foster both trust and distrust.
Landes proposed that there needed to be an atmosphere of civility and courtesy, and this in turn depends on the attitide and behaviour of journalists and the media, which requires "good manners". He felt that by contributing to such an atmosphere media can build citizens' trust towards them. People will not trust the media if citizens are misrepresented and their is not evidence of "good manners".
Good manners involve showing respect to individuals (e.g. NOT being patronising), irrespect of whether we personally agree with them. This enables a social relationship and expresses a deeper moral commitment. Landes felt that good manners should NOT be imposed by regulatory bodies (as, if I understand correctly, they should be connected to genuine personal ethics) and should "not be accepted at face value"; in addition they "should not be confused with political correctness or complacency".
The next point Landes addressed was that good manners depend on treating all with good manners, and they should be maintained even when there was not "mutual compliance" (so I think that means not abandoning good manners, even when you were not yourself treated with good manners).
To implement good manners there needed to be proper language, sensitivity to context and to media stakeholders (this means being aware of what will be senstive issues, and treating them appropriately) and treating people equally.