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Journalism and Mass Communication

Ethical Issues in Journalism and the Media

Ethical Issues in Journalism and the Media

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Journalism ethics and standards comprise principles of ethics and of good practice as applicable to the specific challenges faced by journalists. All over the world codes of conduct have been proposed for journalists. In fact ethics is inseparable from journalism, because the practice of journalism is centred on a set of essentially ethical concepts: freedom, democracy, truth, objectivity, honesty, privacy. This issue has become a matter of political controversy and public concern. This book examines the ethical concepts which lie at the heart of journalism, including freedom, democracy, truth, objectivity, honesty and privacy.

Ethical principles in modern day media and journalism are complicated and incorporate any number of situations going beyond simple corruption, or historical concepts of ethics. This book seeks to address the most pertinent ethical issues facing journalism and media and communications in general. For manifold reasons, including political or economic pressure from without, or corruption of management from within, media institutions do not necessarily adhere to accepted standards of ethics in publishing (or not publishing) certain subjects. Journalists, too, are not immune to corruption. There are larger questions that have been raised with the spread of globalization - is the news Western-centric? Is this ethical to superimpose the Western worldview on non-Western audiences? Certain types of situa?tions or industries face wider scrutiny, particularly healthcare journalism and any reporting that concerns human rights - conflict, prisons, children. The proliferation (and manipulation) of images thanks to digital photography is particularly sensitive and subject to ethical standards. Another area of public life that has been touched by ethics over copyright issues is museums - should art belong to the public domain and freely accessible? This book will open with a discussion of the hegemonic influence of Western media; ?Islamic and Western Perspectives on Applied Media Ethics? investigates whether ethical standards of Western journalism are fundamentally different from those of Islamic journalism. ?Journalistic Ethics and Standards? delves into how journalism students believe the ethics of journalism as an institution to be compromised due to corporate and political pressure on media companies; their perception is that they are forced to renounce their ethical standards to conform to their bosses? ?unscrupulous? demands.? Continuing this theme is an editorial on ?Propaganda, Ethics, and Media? in which the editor points out that these external influences and their selective divulgence or suppression of information have severely damaged the credibility of traditional media. Financial motivations for the publication of certain stories has long been an undercurrent of journalism that defies ethical principles. ?Controversies on the Publishing of the Newspaper ?Curentul?? provides a Romanian case study demonstrating the murky antecedents of a local journal. One of the most corrupt ways in which journalists? ethics can be compromised is in the receipt of money or gifts. ?Journalism Ethics and Acceptance of Gifts? approaches this topic from the journalist?s point of view, finding that acceptance of gifts is actually quite rare. We will also examine how audiences are swayed by incorrect information, supplied by the government or organizations to the media to be related to the wider public. The widely criticized U.S. invasion of Iraq was approved in large part because of the ?lies? that the American government fed to the press - an entirely unethical situation. ?Free Speech, Freedom of the Press, and the Tapestry of Lies? reveals the extent to which the journalistic principles of ethics were compromised. Some stories that feature prominently in news cycles can be ?distorted? by journalists? (or news organizations?) preconceptions- this raises the question as to how biased journalists are in covering the story. ?The Times and General Motors? provides an in-depth case study into how these preconceptions can inaccurately portray events in an unethical way, shaping audience understanding. Another issue that arises that compromises the ethical standards of journalism is the tendency to sensationalize or otherwise influence news in a biased way. ?Quality Popular Newspapers? analyzes twenty-four Brazilian newspapers for evidence of these systemic problems. Increasingly, the Internet is used as a news or information outlet, opening a whole new avenue of ethical problems. Social and digital media have provided new conduits for organizations, individuals, and corporations to communicate with the public, but it comes at a price. Historically, ?Ethics in Old and New Journalism Structures? posits, news and newspapers served to report on politics. As the scope of journalism has increased, so the system of the ethics of reporting have had to expand. It follows that there will be a paradigmatic shift in ethics as the medium continues to evolve, most notably into the digital sphere. One positive outcome of the florescence of social media has been to reduce this ?contamination,? or corporate/political influence on the media, thereby reducing questionable ethical policies. ?Does social media reduce ?corporate media influence? on journalism?? looks at this phenomenon from a Turkish perspective. The publication of images in the news media is a subject particularly sensitive to ethical debate. Before the digital revolution, the point of contention lay solely in what it is ethical to show - dead bodies, people photographed without consent - the debate has expanded to include digital manipulation of photographs. ?Manipulation, Professional Practices and Deontology in Informational Photography? discusses this. The authors of ?Freedom of Photography? believe that freedom of photography

ALEXANDRA PRENTISS

ALEXANDRA PRENTISS

A native of Rhode Island, in the U.S., Alexandra obtained her Bachelor’s degree in History from Johns Hopkins University and her Master’s in Media and Communications from the London School of Economics. Her Master’s dissertation examined blogs through the lens of psychoanalysis. Alexandra has worked internationally in Prague, Marseille, Tel Aviv, New York and Seattle in various communications and marketing positions in industries such as consumer goods, technology and event production. Her current interests lie in editing and corporate content development.