Ethics of Journalism

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The ethics of journalism is one of the most well-defined branches of media ethics, primarily because it is frequently taught in schools of journalism.

Historically and currently, this subset of media ethics is widely known to journalists as their professional "code of ethics" or the "canons of journalism."

This famous Code of Ethics includes four obligations for journalists:

- Seek thruth and report it: journalists should be honest, fair and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting information.

- Minimize harm: Ethical journalists treat sources, subjects and colleagues as human beings deserving of respect.

- Act independently: journalists should be free of any obligation to any interest other than the public's right to know.

- Be accountable: journalists are accountable to their readers, listeners, viewers and each other.

Many journalism scandals can be find through out U.S history. Journalism scandals are high-profile incidents or acts, whether intentional or accidental, that run contrary to the generally accepted ethics and standards of journalism, or otherwise violate the "ideal" mission of journalism: to report news events and issues accurately and fairly.

The case of Jason Blair, former journalist at the New York Times, is an exemple of journalism scandal due to plagiarism. Jason Blair was just 27 when he resigned in shame in 2003.

"I lied and I lied-and then I lied some more," he explained. "I lied about where I had been, I lied about where I had found information. I lied about how I wrote the story."

For more information about law and ethics, you can read those several landmark libel cases that described either the obligations, either the rights of the press: New York Times v. Sullivan; AP v. Walker and Curtis Publishing v. Butts ; Gertz v. Welch.

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