In simple terms, media ethics refer to moral standards applied to the media, including the film, print media, broadcast media, theatre, internet and the arts. There has been a heated debate on the issue of media ethics for a couple of months now. A number of ethical moments in social media have happened and as a result, several media corporations, including The New York Times and Dow Jones Co., have issued their versions of social media rules. Part of the New York’s statement on ethics states that staff members should be cautious not to create a conflict of interest or ruin the newspaper’s ethical guidelines.
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While those who work with the code of ethics may not be legally bound to what they stipulate, journalists are often held responsible for actions that might be in conflict with the journalists’ code of ethics. Importantly, ethics differ from person to person and also from organization to organization. This is what makes media ethics somehow difficult to define, because there is no agreed definition as to what is morally correct. Despite the different views, journalism has a standard upon which its professional ethics can be agreed.
In my view, journalists have been made to practice ethics that have been described by their immediate employers. It is no longer about the profession, many employers have laid down the rules and those who fail to adhere to them are punished or even fired when they find that punishment is not enough. However, I believe that the code of ethics should come from the corporate management and not from the news department. In my view, the code of ethics would be stringent and less focused if it came from the news department. Corporate-wide ethics codes can be practical because they would give room to the different ethical standards from the different media corporations.
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