Briefly describe the following areas of the 'ethical code of journalists', and how they constrain the media (how they affect the way in which ...?
Briefly describe the following areas of the 'ethical code of journalists', and how they constrain the media (how they affect the way in which the media report stories)?
Areas of the 'ethical code of journalists' -
· Harm limitation
As with many other professional groups, the ethics for journalists include the "first do no harm" provision (this is the oath that doctors take). In journalism, this means that the reporters must decide whether reporting certain information might cause more harm than good. For example, journalists and the media often withhold the names of people that are crime victims, or they might withhold the names of children. They might withhold information that would hurt a person's reputation. This is a limitation that journalists voluntarily enforce upon themselves.
Journalists are supposed to be objective. They are supposed to report the news minus any personal interpretation or bias. This is harder to do because we all have our personal biases. If a person has a bias for or against something, it is hard to be objective. For example, if you are reporting about a brutal murder of a child, it is hard to keep your emotions out of it and only report the information. Or, if you are a political reporter, you must be objective and report the news regarding politics even if you do not agree with a particular politician. I remember in a recent presidential election seeing a very famous anchorman practically CRYING on TV when his candidate lost the election. That is NOT being objective.
Accuracy means that the facts reported must be true. It is the journalist's responsibility to check for accuracy to make sure what he/she is reporting is valid and checks out. Sometimes journalists are lazy and do not devote enough diligence to this. Also, not everything that is on the Internet IS true, so if a journalist does not recheck his/her facts, he could be using faulty information. This is a biggie these days. Just because something gets on the web does not mean it is true. A journalist must be able to back up his information with facts. Sometimes journalists rely on informants who insist on remaining anonymous. In this case, some journalists have gone to jail rather than break confidence and reveal their sources. This, too, is part of their ethics.