Media Ethics

Essay by tdauriaCollege, UndergraduateB, October 2007

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Webster's Dictionary defines ethics as "moral standards" and as a "system of morals." Webster's then defines moral as, "of or dealing with right or wrong."There is no single, ruling definition of media ethics. Instead, the concept of media ethics exists in many forms that are all based on a similar premise of acting as a blueprint from which media personnel can base their practices and their decisions. Ethics are not absolute rules, and individuals who work with codes of ethics are not legally bound by them. But, a media worker may be held professionally responsible for their actions if they are in conflict with their profession's code of ethics. For example, if a journalist was to include racist remarks in their newspaper story about Muslim Migrants, that journalist would not likely be arrested, but they may be fired from their job even though ethics are not as absolute as laws, individuals can still be held accountable both socially and professionally, if they intentionally or carelessly break the code of ethics that they work from.

Ethics vary from individual to individual in the same way that they vary from organization to organization.

Historically and currently these principles are most widely known to journalists as their professional "code of ethics". These basic codes commonly appear in statements drafted by professional journalism associations and individual print, broadcast, and online news organizations.

"Every news organization has only its credibility and reputation to rely on."-Tony Burman, editor-in-chief of CBC News.

Like many broader ethical systems, journalism ethics include things like withholding of certain details from reports such as the names of minor children, crime victims' names or information not materially related to particular news reports release of which might, for example, harm someone's reputation.

Australia has several sources of journalism regulation, with some authorities stemming...