UNIT 4 MEDIA ETHICS
- Code of Ethics for Media
- Being Ethical in Print Media
- Ethical Norms for Audio-Visual Media
- Freedom of Press and Right of Privacy
- Remedial Measures for Maladies in Mass Media
- Social Responsibility and the Media
- Ethics in Producing and Screening of Movies
- Media Ethics: Practical Applications and Solutions
- Let us Sum up
- Key Words
- Further Readings and References
The unit highlights the nature, role and important aspects Media Ethics. Before that one should know the nature and the role of Media Ethics. Hence this chapter with varied sections on Media Ethics aims to bring out this aspect.
The opinions, attitude, and conduct of persons depend upon the information available to them and upon the images and feeling tones impressed upon them. Most of our knowledge of contemporary events comes to us from the newspaper, the radio, television and movies. Our emotions and attitudes also are formed to large extend by the media. Those who control our means of mass communication not only report current events and history of the world help to make history. We cannot think correctly and clearly about either domestic or world affairs unless we obtain accurate information. If the sources and the channels of information are tainted or distorted, all people are in a serious danger of being led astray. The democratic way of life depends upon the existence of free agencies of mass media, as the public is kept informed and alert.
Media ethics is concerned about the question of what is right or wrong, good or bad, acceptable or unacceptable about the means and ways that the media collects and presents information and news. It is also about the normative and prescriptive nature of guiding and controlling the practical aspect of media with ethical principles. Relevance of these principles are always discussed, at times contested also by journalists and audiences depending on the specific situations and context. The impact that media has on the audience is always comes under the purview of media ethics. (Melisande 2009)
- CODE OF ETHICS FOR MEDIA
The importance and inevitability of media is expressed in the following saying, “If journalism at one time seemed to be an appendix to culture, today, by contrast, culture finds itself at the mercy of journalism. It is part of a world dominated by journalism. The mass media decide who will be known and to what degree and according to which interpretation.” (Milan Kundera 1984) Media is that influential that it is not exaggeration to say that journalists make daily decisions for people. There is always a tension between the public’s right to know the truth and an individual’s claim to privacy. Those decisions are grounded in ethical decision-making tools that may include a formal Code of Ethics. Media ethics tries to prevent any monopoly over information diffusion; upholds pluralism instead of the uniform gloss over media content that is typically brought on by authoritarian regimes; maintains objectivity by providing different sides of an issue, which empowers audiences to formulate their own judgments and increases levels of truthfulness in reporting. (Melisande 2009)
The following codes are formulated to regularise the media in general.
Responsibility: The right of a newspaper to attract and hold readers is restricted by nothing but considerations of public welfare. A journalist who uses his power for any selfish or otherwise unworthy motive is not trustworthy. We shall elaborate on this elsewhere. Freedom of the Press: Freedom of the press is guarded as a vital right of media. It is the unquestionable right to discuss whatever is not explicitly forbidden by law including the wisdom of any restrictive statute. Independence: Freedom from all obligations except that of fidelity to the public interest is vital. Sincerity, Truthfulness, Accuracy: These enable media have a good rapport with the reader. Impartiality: news reports and expression of opinion are expected to be free from bias of any kind. Fairplay: question of private rights and public interest distinguished from public curiosity, is discussed in fairplay of the media. We would further the discussion on it in the later section. Secondly, it is the privilege as well as the duty, of media to make prompt and complete correction of its own serious mistakes of fact.