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To what extent does the ISAS MEDIA 9001 certification influence the quality of content?

Like ISO 9001, the ISAS BC 9001 and ISAS P 9001 standards encourage media companies to improve their internal organization and processes. This approach has a major impact on quality even if it is not directly linked with contents as such. By streamlining processes, clarifying responsibilities, identifying shortcomings, listening to readers, listeners or viewers and stakeholders, the ISAS MEDIA 9001 certification process creates the conditions for improved performance, more ethical behavior and better content.

Are such procedures necessary for journalists?

Claude Monnier (Swiss columnist and author, Board member of the Media and Society Foundation): "As a print journalist for more than 30 years, I’ve always been reluctant to accept constraints in my job, including certification. That said, based on my years of experience, I also believe that the implementation of quality procedures is absolutely necessary in our profession. They are particularly useful for new journalists."

Have you already tested the ISAS MEDIA standards? With whom?

Several media organizations (See: List of media organizations that have tested the quality management system developed by the Media and Society Foundation) have gone through quality management evaluations according to the ISAS MEDIA 9001 standards. None has been certified yet – ISAS BC 9001 was introduced in December 2003 and ISAS P 9001 two years later -, but several are very close and DNV will probably issue the first certificates of conformity before the end of 2007.

Is the standard adapted to both public and private broadcasters?

The standard definitely applies to both public and private broadcasters. Some requirements of the ISAS MEDIA 9001 standard are specific to the public service broadcasting (PSB) and appear as such in the text. This being said, it should be stressed that both standards are applicable only to media who enjoy editorial independence. Consequently, they don’t apply to state media, unless in transition towards a PSB status. Moreover, electronic and print media who specialize in content that cannot meet the general aim of the standard, such as pornography or hate propaganda, are also excluded.

How long does it take to reach the level of the standard and to get certified?

It depends on the nature and history of the organisation, its size, and the complexity of its processes. In general, it takes from 9 to 18 months to comply with the standard’s requirements and to be certified.

Is the certification adapted to small organisations and structures?

Yes the certification exercise is adapted to small organisations and structures, just as it is for ISO 9001. Because the standard gathers best management practices, small and medium size organizations can benefit from the experience of larger ones.

Isn’t it a bureaucratic exercice?

It can be if the company decides to document too many unnecessary activities. Our recommendation is to concentrate on critical activities, i.e. those which can damage content quality and/or undermine the company’s image if they are not handled properly.

What are the comparative benefits of the BSC Model and ISAS MEDIA 9001 Certification?

The Balanced Score Card Model is totally integrated into the ISAS MEDIA 9001 certification scheme. The two models are NOT in competition but complementary. The BSC Model is very effective for reporting the performance of the company through appropriate indicators and "dash-boards". It brings a useful response to several, though not all, requirements of the ISAS MEDIA 9001 certification.

Can governments use ISAS MEDIA 9001 to control content?

No, there is no danger of governments using ISAS MEDIA 9001 as an instrument of control. On the contrary. The independent professional audit which is essential to the certification process should make sure that the relation between the media company and the government is transparent. In the case of a public service broadcaster, he should provide the evidence that the editorial independence is safeguarded.

Are ISAS MEDIA 9001 standards supported and encouraged by professional organizations?

Yes, the International Federation of Journalists, the World Radio and Television Council  and the Asia-Pacific Institute for Broadcasting Development support ISAS MEDIA 9001 standards. Other leading organizations such as the European Broadcasting Union, the World Association of Newspapers, the Inter American Press Association, the International Press Institute, and the South East Asia Press Association, have expressed a keen interest in the project. The World Federation of Advertisers also joins the universal professional consensus reached around the standards’ guidelines.