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Jle 2010 Week 3


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Week 3 of my series of lectures on journalism ethics in 1st semester 2010

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Jle 2010 Week 3

  1. 1. 3/9/2010 Ethics – process and props How to be good… and what happens when you’re not How to be good Ethical decision- making model Stepping stones to ethical success? A walk through an ethical minefield Tip toe your way through trouble? Steps to ethical decision-making Decisions need to be made in a series of logical steps that force you to question each element before moving on. 1
  2. 2. 3/9/2010 Issues have Consequences I have to take an action that has consequences There could be negative consequences What are +ve & -ve outcomes Why is this a problem? What issues of ethical and/or unethical behaviour does it throw-up? Issues to Values Which values – either in the code or social / moral values are important to me? Which journalism values are important to the integrity of the story? Which values are important to the stakeholders? Values to Stakeholders Who is affected by the means? Who is affected by the ends? Who is affected by the consequences? How are they affected? Where does the greatest good lie? Are any of the consequences ‘fatal’? 2
  3. 3. 3/9/2010 Effects to Choices What choices do you have to make to bring about the best result for the most affected stakeholders? Are you limited in the means you can apply? Is the end you seek justified? Are the consequences manageable? Are you asking the right questions? Choice to Decision Choose the methods that deliver the best outcome Does your decision meet your own values paradigm? Does it satisfy the requirements of the story? Does it satisfy the requirements of the newsroom? Is their a clause for that? Codes of ethics are descriptive and/or prescriptive and/or normative describing how people ought behave and/or what sorts of moral standards they ought to follow describes acceptable behaviours prescribing the rules of behaviour that must be followed sets limits of acceptable behaviour defining the accepted rules of behaviour against a social benchmark (norm) describes the rules that should be followed 3
  4. 4. 3/9/2010 The EPMU Code of Ethics Describes how EPMU Code journalists behave Respect for truth and the public's right to information are overriding principles Overriding for all journalists. In pursuance of principles these principles, journalists commit themselves to ethical and professional Commitment to standards. All members of the Union engaged in gathering, transmitting, standards disseminating and commenting on news and information shall observe the following Code of Ethics in their Prescriptive professional activities: “shall observe” They shall… report…strive…disclose (a) They shall report and interpret the news with scrupulous honesty by striving to disclose all essential facts and by not suppressing relevant, available facts or distorting by wrong or improper emphasis. Honesty is a normative value = something we expect people to be descriptive or prescriptive or both? Describes behaviour – disclosure Prescribes a duty “shall report…” Respect diversity (b) They shall not place unnecessary emphasis on Respect for diversity gender, race, sexual preference, religious belief, is a normative value marital status or physical or mental disability. We expect people to have respect Prescriptive? Do not discriminate 4
  5. 5. 3/9/2010 All in all … in which circumstances… (c) In all circumstances If your job depends they shall respect all confidences received in on it? the course of their occupation. If a source lies to you? If a court orders disclosure? If a life hangs in the balance? How does this make you feel? A conflict of (personal) interests (d) They shall not allow Personal interest is a way of personal interests to influence them in their finding stories professional duties. Your interest motivates research Personal interest in an issue Your knowledge is valuable Financial dealings and share trading Should you register them? Political, social and cultural interest (loyalties?) Drinks are on you How big does a gift have to be before it’s a bribe? Who pays for lunch? Is it with a source (e) They shall not allow their Is it with an influencer professional duties to be influenced by any What about reviews and consideration, gift or advantage offered and, product launches? where appropriate, shall Should you keep that CD? disclose any such offer. 5
  6. 6. 3/9/2010 The big one (f) They shall not allow advertising The key paradox for or commercial considerations to influence them in their professional journalism in a market duties. economy (capitalism) Advertising pays your wages Advertorial Expectations Editor Advertiser Audience Fair and honest means (g) They shall use fair and honest means to obtain news, pictures, films, Do the ends justify tapes and documents. the means? (h) They shall identify themselves and their employers before obtaining The public interest any interview for publication or test broadcast. Informed consent Would you talk to a journalist? Honesty and Trust Audience The dreaded “death-knock” Private grief a baby or child a police officer a public figure Personal privacy an ordinary person (i) They shall respect private grief and personal privacy a public figure and shall have the right to resist compulsion to intrude a celebrity on them. 6
  7. 7. 3/9/2010 Never apologise? Who is responsible for corrections? Should corrections have same prominence? (j) They shall do their utmost to Should you apologise correct any published or broadcast information found to be as well as correct? harmfully inaccurate. The heavy bit… A breach of this Code shall be a breach of the Union's Rules and thus may give rise to disciplinary procedures under the Rules. If a member is dismissed from employment or otherwise disadvantaged by an employer, and a breach of this Code is claimed by the employer as justification for the dismissal or disadvantage, then the Union, following proper and adequate inquiry, and if it is satisfied to a reasonable degree that the employer's actions are justified, may decline to pursue a personal grievance on behalf of the member. Pakistan - 1993 •The Press shall refrain from publishing anything derogatory to religion or which may hurt religious feeling of any sect/minority. •The Press shall refrain from publishing anything likely to bring into hatred or contempt the head of any friendly state. •The Press shall not publish news or comments, photographs or advertisements which may undermine the security of the state or solidarity of the nation and its ideology. •The Press shall refrain from publishing anything likely to undermine the loyalty and allegiance of the defence forces and the civil armed forces. •The Press shall refrain from involving the defence forces in politics and offer only fair comment on its performance and conduct. 7
  8. 8. 3/9/2010 Islamic media conference - Jakarta declaration 1980 In keeping with our belief in Allah and Allah's Apostle; and in implementation of Islamic, Shariah; and in complete awareness of the imminent dangers besetting the Muslim Ummah and impeding its religious reawakening and in appreciation of the important role of the various forms of Mass-Media and its worthy aims, integrity of the profession … Islamic Media-Men should censor all material which is either broadcast or published, in order to protect the Ummah from influences which are harmful to Islamic character and values, and in order to forestall all dangers. Islamic journalists must be committed to the propagation of Da'wah, to elucidating Islamic issues and to the defence of Muslim point of view. Malaysia Whereas the Malaysian Press reiterates its belief in the principles of Rukunegara [national principles] and the national aspirations contained therein; It acknowledges its role in contributing to the process of nation- building. It recognises its duty to contribute fully to the promotion of racial harmony and national unity. It recognises communism, racialism and religious extremism as grave threats to national well-being and security. •He shall uphold standards of morality in the performance of his duties and shall avoid plagiarism, calumny or slander, libel, sedition, unfounded accusations or acceptance of bribe in any form. •He shall avoid publication of news or reports, communal or extremist in nature, or contrary to the moral value of multiracial Malaysia. Your homework, should you choose to do it Download and read the document “Is there a clause for this?” from the AUT website Course Notes/Tutorial Worksheets/… Bring it with you to class Reading (some, not all…): Price (2007) Ch. 23 Hirst & Patching (2007) Ch. 4 & Ch. 10 Hafez (2002) [electronic reserve] Ward (2005) [electronic reserve] 8