As discussed previous classes, ethics is concerned making the right judgments using the most suitable way by collecting as many facts as possible. It determines people attitudes and behaviors in different situations; hence different fields need to have distinct codes of ethics. Different rules and regulations for different fields are mainly agreed by all the professionals of that field and they are even taught in colleges. According to Wikipedia, media ethics is the subdivision of applied ethics dealing with the specific ethical principles and standards of media, including broadcast media, film, theatre, the arts, print media and the internet.
The field covers many varied and highly controversial topics, ranging from war journalism to Benetton advertising. In this piece of writing, I will share with you four important ethical issues related to media which my group mates and I discussed and presented in the class. These are the values which make media ethics and hence it is very important for the media to follow them.
At first, Media should avoid being bias; rather they must try all the means they can to be fair for all. They should stay away from supporting one side, while suppressing another side. Fortunately, media always tries to achieve fairness for all, but interventions from governments or powerful people sometimes influence them to be unfair. This is especially common in third world countries where bribery, corruption and prejudice are still left unmolested. Many people try to bribe the media to not uncover such issues and media in those countries is fully controlled by the rich. I have seen a practical example of this in my country in 2010, when the minister of foreign affairs ordered the detention of five journalists who published that he got some money from foreign agencies in an unofficial way. Despite being proven for one year later, the poor journalists remained detainees until the whole story was disclosed.
People need to hear the right information about their countries as well as other countries; therefore media should provide the right information. This will include telling the truth and making the news reliable. It may also include choosing the right content for publication, for example publishing naked pictures in a children’s magazine will be ridiculous. Due to improvements in technology, news travels faster than before and people are able to know the latest events in the world simply through smart phones. For this reason, it is the responsibility of the media to control its contents and they should not be only profit oriented but they should also consider how this will affect their audience.
On the contrary, media should never do certain things which are considered to be against the ethics of the media. Media ethics are many and they depend on the perspectives of different people, consequently we have chosen two of them, which we believe they are universally agreed. The first is that media should not exaggerate news or add anything which was not happened. This is very dangerous and it may lead problems if not controlled, for example a new channel may tell more information that is not true and add many unreliable things to the news in order to acquire more followers and audience.
People will like to hear such things and to some extent exaggeration can be used to ignite wars or riots. Secondly, media should not violate people rights and this issue is one of the most common ethical problems in the media. This includes trying to expose personal life for people mainly celebrities. There are many issues related to privacy and violation of rights of the people by media. This forces many people to avoid being in public places and disturbs their life styles, therefore media should respect people privacy and avoid violating people’s right.
Lastly but not certainly the least, this class was very helpful to me and I have learnt ethics in different fields as my class mates presented. Furthermore, I understood some of the basic ethics of the media and their importance to the society. To sum it up, like any other professional media has Dos and Don’ts which determine what is ethical for the media, and it is very crucial for all the people who are pursuing careers in media to learn its ethics and put them into practice.