Sunday, 10 July 2011

A Journalist's Ethical Dilemmas

Talha Naeem sits on an arm-rest chair while waiting for his ride home.
On Wednesday, June 27th, in class we studied some ethical problems that a student journalist might face. Some common ethical problems student media face are:

Conflict of interest – Conflict of interest is when a journalists interview people they are close to or have some relationship with, such as family and friends. This is wrong. Journalists should not interview those people because then they may be required to favor them in the article they are writing. It is also a conflict of interest if a journalist interviews someone who has wronged him previously because then the journalist might try to negatively portray him or her in the article.

Plagiarism – Plagiarism means the student journalists give priority to others’ work or take credit of other people’s material, work, or ideas. Plagiarism is wrong because stealing others’ work is not tolerated in society. Journalists should be careful when they obtain information or do research from scholarly journals, books, other newspapers, and especially the Internet.

Anonymous sources – Anonymous source means not identifying the source from which the journalist got information. Typically, we should not use anonymous sources because we should always tell people how we obtained our information. Sometimes, however, it is necessary to use anonymous sources because revealing the source could mean harm or danger for that person. For example, a government official who reveals important information could be at risk of losing his job if his name is printed. A rape victim’s identity should also be protected because she may be at risk of becoming socially abandoned or belittled.

Offending or distasteful content – Journalists should not knowingly report to offend someone. Although it is impossible to please all the readers, a journalist should not publish something about someone with purposeful malicious intent. All reporting should be fair and balanced.

Invasion of privacy – Journalists should not publish information which they obtain from illegal or wrong ways. Someone’s privacy should not be invaded when looking for information.
Bias – Bias means imbalanced coverage. Journalists should not give their own point of view when reporting news. News articles do not have place for a journalist’s opinion. A good journalist is not concerned with anyone’s feelings and therefore should not try to please his readers.
Commitment to accuracy – Journalists should confirm and double-check their information before publishing anything. They should not be hasty with their reporting.

This lesson was adopted from

By Talha Naeem

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