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  1. 1. Ethics and Journalism
  2. 2. Ethical Issues in online journalism What is ethics?  Ethics is a major branch of philosophy, encompassing right conduct and good life.  It is significantly broader than the common conception of analyzing right and wrong.  A central aspect of ethics is "the good life", the life worth living or life that is satisfying, which is held by many philosophers to be more important than moral conduct.
  3. 3.  Members of the Society of Professional Journalists believe that public enlightenment is the forerunner of justice and the foundation of democracy. The duty of the journalist is to further those ends by seeking truth and providing a fair and comprehensive account of events and issues. Members of the Society share a dedication to ethical behavior and adopt this code to declare the Societys principles and standards of practice.
  4. 4. Ethical Issues in online journalism Seek Truth and Report It  Journalists should be honest, fair and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting information. Journalists should:  — Test the accuracy of information from all sources and exercise care to avoid inadvertent error. Deliberate distortion is never permissible.
  5. 5. Ethical Issues in online journalism — Identify sources whenever feasible. The public is entitled to as much information as possible on sources reliability. — Always question sources’ motives before promising anonymity. Clarify conditions attached to any promise made in exchange for information. Keep promises.
  6. 6. Ethical Issues in online journalism — Make certain that headlines, news teases and promotional material, photos, video, audio, graphics, sound bites and quotations do not misrepresent. They should not oversimplify or highlight incidents out of context. — Never distort the content of news photos or video. Image enhancement for technical clarity is always permissible. Label montages and photo illustrations.
  7. 7. Ethical Issues in online journalism — Never plagiarize. — Examine their own cultural values and avoid imposing those values on others. — Avoid stereotyping by race, gender, age, religion, ethnicity, geography, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance or social status. — Support the open exchange of views, even views they find repugnant.
  8. 8. Ethical Issues in online journalism — Give voice to the voiceless; official and unofficial sources of information can be equally valid. — Distinguish between advocacy and news reporting. Analysis and commentary should be labeled and not misrepresent fact or context. — Distinguish news from advertising and shun hybrids that blur the lines between the two.
  9. 9. Ethical Issues in online journalism Minimize Harm  — Use special sensitivity when dealing with children and inexperienced sources or subjects.  — Be sensitive when seeking or using interviews or photographs of those affected by tragedy or grief (keder, üzüntü).  — Recognize that gathering and reporting information may cause harm or discomfort.
  10. 10. Ethical Issues in online journalism — Recognize that private people have a greater right to control information about themselves than do public officials and others who seek power, influence or attention. Only an overriding public need can justify intrusion into anyone’s privacy. — Show good taste. Avoid pandering to lurid curiosity.
  11. 11. Ethical Issues in online journalism — Be cautious about identifying juvenile suspects or victims of sex crimes. — Be judicious about naming criminal suspects before the formal filing of charges.
  12. 12. Ethical Issues in online journalism Act Independently  Journalists should be free of obligation to any interest other than the publics right to know. Journalists should:  — Avoid conflicts of interest, real or perceived.  — Remain free of associations and activities that may compromise integrity or damage credibility.
  13. 13. Ethical Issues in online journalism — Refuse gifts, favors, fees, free travel and special treatment, and shun secondary employment, political involvement, public office and service in community organizations if they compromise journalistic integrity. — Disclose unavoidable conflicts. — Deny favored treatment to advertisers and special interests and resist their pressure to influence news coverage. — Be wary of sources offering information for favors or money; avoid bidding for news.
  14. 14. Ethical Issues in online journalism Be Accountable Journalists are accountable to their readers, listeners, viewers and each other. Journalists should:  — Clarify and explain news coverage and invite dialogue with the public over journalistic conduct.  — Encourage the public to voice grievances against the news media.
  15. 15. Ethical Issues in online journalism — Admit mistakes and correct them promptly. — Expose unethical practices of journalists and the news media. — Abide by the same high standards to which they hold others.
  16. 16. Ethical Issues in online journalism What are the ethics of online journalism?  The ethics of online journalism are, ultimately, no different than the ethics of journalism. NO PLAGIARISM  By now, youve likely discovered that writing is hard work. You certainly dont want someone else swiping your effort and presenting it as his or her own.  So dont steal others work.
  17. 17. Ethical Issues in online journalism  Such theft is plagiarism. It includes not just cutting and pasting whole articles, but copying photos, graphics, video and even large text excerpts from others and putting them on your web page as well.  If you want to reference something on another website, link it instead.
  18. 18. Ethical Issues in online journalism If you are concerned that the page youre linking to will disappear, give your readers the name of the publication that published the page, its date of publication and a short summary of its content. Just like news reporters used to reference other content before the Web. (“In a Sept. 20 report, the Wall Street Journal reported...."). When in doubt, do both. Theres no such thing as too much supporting information.
  19. 19. Ethical Issues in online journalism DISCLOSE  Tell your readers how you got your information, and what factors influenced your decision to publish it. If you have a personal or professional connection to people or groups youre writing about, describe it. Your readers deserve to know what has influenced the way you reported or wrote a story.
  20. 20. Ethical Issues in online journalism NO GIFTS OR MONEY FOR COVERAGE  One common way journalists avoid conflicts of interest is by refusing gifts or money from sources they cover. Writers who accept gifts, payments or honoraria from the people or groups they cover open themselves up to charges that their work is a paid advertisement for those sources. Or, at the very least, that those writers are too "close" to these sources to cover them honestly. You can avoid controversy by politely declining such offers.
  21. 21. Ethical Issues in online journalism CHECK IT OUT, THEN TELL THE TRUTH  Just because someone else said it, this statement does not make it true. Reward your readers with accurate information that stands up to scrutiny from other writers. Check out your information before you print it.  Find facts, not just others opinions, to support your comments.
  22. 22. Ethical Issues in online journalism If you are writing about someone else, call or e-mail them for a comment before you publish. If your subject has a blog, link to it. That link will notify the subject that youve written about them, and will allow your readers to click-through and read the subjects side of the story. If you want to write satire (hiciv) or spoofs, fine. But make sure your audience knows that what you are writing is not literal truth. Tricking readers wont help you develop the respect, credibility or loyal audience that truthful writers enjoy and rely upon.
  23. 23. Ethical Issues in online journalism BE HONEST  In summary, be honest with your readers and transparent about your work. If people wonder for a moment about your honesty or your motives, youve lost credibility with them. Dont let them do that. Answer those questions even before readers ask.  And most important is to never utilise your power of press for personal gains or simply annoying someone.
  24. 24. Ethical Issues in online journalism Online Journalism - Ethical Issues  One dilemma is the question of speed versus accuracy. In all forms of journalism there is conflict between choosing to publish immediate information or waiting to verify facts and ensuring accuracy. This is exacerbated by the online environment, as one of the major features of this medium is its immediacy. News updates are often posted as they happen which allows early access to information but which can risk the accuracy of the content.
  25. 25. Ethical Issues in online journalism Another ethical consideration in online journalism is the way information and pictures can be archived indefinitely and accessed from around the globe (Bowd, 2002: 41-59.) This means that any mistakes and ethical breaches would be more damaging and widespread. Incorrect information may be archived and the misinformation passed on to web-users accessing the archives.
  26. 26. Ethical Issues in online journalism Advertising pressure is another ethical issue for internet publications. This is significant as independence is a critical component of journalistic ethics. Hyperlinks, for example, are a valuable tool in online journalism but can lead to potential problems, as the web pages they link to may be inaccurate, offensive or inappropriate. To deal with this ethically, the content and quality of linked websites should be monitored and internet users should be warned that the pages they visit are not part of the news website (Bowd, 2002: 41-59).