Challenges journalists should tackle to remain within ethics ambit

Challenges journalists should tackle to remain within ethics ambit

MEDIA is practiced by trained media experts, led by a media manager and editor. A media manager is an individual responsible for the selection and the preparation of the written, visual audio and film media. The person oversees observing the code of ethics for the media.

Which difficulties could come up?  Let`s start at the beginning. The story. The first problem a journalist faces is the accuracy of the source. You know how this works; one person tells another and suddenly a rumor is something everybody talks about and believes in.

Before publishing an article, one should verify the truthfulness of the source. The next difficulty could be that the available source of the story is not enough to write an article or to prove the theory one wants to present. A journalist should never pay or even give gift to potential sources in exchange of information.

The other way around is not ethical either; it is corruption. If a writer is offered, directly or indirectly, an inducement in order to publish or not publish a story, it is not only against the ethics code, but illegal.

Talking about suppressing information, a media manager has a great responsibility; he is the one that decides what is going public, so he must be neutral above all and not distort information, about which the public has a right to know. As this job requires a lot of neutrality, editors should not involve themselves with any kind of fanaticism.

Not only the editor, but also the producers themselves must approach the story with complete neutrality. The manager should suffocate any kind of conflict of interests. Anyone working in the media field should remain free of associations and activities that may influence professional judgment. The editor should not use his position of power and knowledge for personal advantage.

An important topic to bear in mind is the clear distinction between the different types of contents; an article that recites facts cannot be identical to a comment, which contains a personal opinion. If this is not the case, it might come to confusion among the readers.

There are some other situations that can lead to turbulence among the people. First of all, in case of a court hearing, the writer shall preserve the presumption of Innocence until the accused is proven guilty of the crime. Otherwise, there will be a lot of trouble.

Another scenario that could get uncomfortable for a writer is connected to the confidentiality of sources, information and even pictures. Revealing them without the knowledge of the other party is not only ethically incorrect but could involve charges. Privacy is a big word in the media.

On one side, every individual has a right of privacy, on the side, some materials (ex: pictures of car accidents, a house burning down), are of considerable interest for the public. The only justification for such intrusions is, if the report has a serious nature, and is not only a photo taken for fun; for example pictures of celebs. To put the public interest in a nutshell: it is every detection or exposure of crime to protect the public health and safety.

This should prevent the public from being seriously misled about important matters. But what if not everybody wants to see those shocking pictures of a young boy that fell off a building? With the aim of protecting the sensitivity of the public, a special care is needed to decide what information is going public. However, crime should not be glorified and no details about the crime scene should be reported.

Not only in the media field, but everywhere else, discrimination is a no-go. Media managers are in control of ensuring that the publications do not contain any kind of insults or humiliations towards to minority groups, people different religions, sexual orientations, age, race, social status, color, or disability.

If any of the ethical and/or legal difficulties quoted are overlooked by the editor or the writer, they must stand for it and recognize their mistake, in front of a camara or the court. Every media producer must recognize his obligation to the society and put the society`s interests first. They must treat information with complete neutrality and as a social good.

Frederica Bauer is a student at Wiener Sängerknaben, Austria (A-Levels to be expected in the spring of 2023), with great passion in Journalism, Mass Communications and is interested to learn about Tanzania. She is a native speaker of German and Spanish, fluent in fluent/advanced in Russian and English with good knowledge of French and Italian as well as a basic knowledge in Bulgarian and Croatian.

Author: Frederica Bauer

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