Ethics – process and props
How to be good…
and what happens when
How to be good
Stepping stones to
A walk through an
Tip toe your way
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.
I have to take an action that has
There could be negative
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
Which values are important to the
Values to Stakeholders
Who is affected by the means?
Who is affected by the ends?
Who is affected by the
How are they affected?
Where does the greatest good lie?
Are any of the consequences ‘fatal’?
Effects to Choices
What choices do you have to
make to bring about
the best result for the most
Are you limited in the means you can
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
Does it satisfy the requirements of the
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
sets limits of acceptable behaviour
defining the accepted rules of behaviour against a
social benchmark (norm)
describes the rules that should be followed
The EPMU Code of Ethics
Respect for truth and the public's right
to information are overriding principles
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
(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…”
(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
Do not discriminate
All in all …
in which circumstances…
(c) In all circumstances If your job depends
they shall respect all
confidences received in
the course of their
If a source lies to
If a court orders
If a life hangs in the
How does this make you feel?
A conflict of
(d) They shall not allow Personal interest is a way of
personal interests to
influence them in their finding stories
Your interest motivates research
Personal interest in an issue
Your knowledge is valuable
Financial dealings and share
Should you register them?
Political, social and cultural
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,
where appropriate, shall Should you keep that CD?
disclose any such offer.
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
Fair and honest means
(g) They shall use fair and honest
means to obtain news, pictures, films, Do the ends justify
tapes and documents.
(h) They shall identify themselves
and their employers before obtaining
The public interest
any interview for publication or test
Would you talk to a
Honesty and Trust
The dreaded “death-knock”
a baby or child
a police officer
a public figure
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
Who is responsible
(j) They shall do their utmost to
Should you apologise
correct any published or
broadcast information found to be
as well as correct?
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
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.
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
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-
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.
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]