As I am writing this, next to my desk is a code of ethics for the accounting profession that is hanging on my wall. In my website, for mediation, I have posted a code of ethics that mediation professional follows. We all follow this codes and live by them. There is also a cod of ethics for journalists. Do they follow their code, no not really. However , the Society of Journalist there is a very good code that the media, even bloggers and vloggers should really be following.
The Society of Journalists website has a full copy of their code of ethics. You can get a PDF copy of it or read it on the website.
www.spj.org/ethicscode.aspp Their code of ethics goes as follows:
Seek Truth and Report It
Ethical journalism should be accurate and fair. Journalists should be honest and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting information.
– Take responsibility for the accuracy of their work. Verify information before releasing it. Use original sources whenever possible.
– Remember that neither speed nor format excuses inaccuracy.
– Provide context. Take special care not to misrepresent or oversimplify in promoting, previewing or summarizing a story.
– Gather, update and correct information throughout the life of a news story.
– Be cautious when making promises, but keep the promises they make.
– Identify sources clearly. The public is entitled to as much information as possible to judge the reliability and motivations of sources.
– Consider sources’ motives before promising anonymity. Reserve anonymity for sources who may face danger, retribution or other harm, and have information that cannot be obtained elsewhere. Explain why anonymity was granted.
– Diligently seek subjects of news coverage to allow them to respond to criticism or allegations of wrongdoing.
– Avoid undercover or other surreptitious methods of gathering information unless traditional, open methods will not yield information vital to the public.
– Be vigilant and courageous about holding those with power accountable. Give voice to the voiceless.
– Support the open and civil exchange of views, even views they find repugnant.
– Recognize a special obligation to serve as watchdogs over public affairs and government. Seek to ensure that the public’s business is conducted in the open, and that public records are open to all.
– Provide access to source material when it is relevant and appropriate.
– Boldly tell the story of the diversity and magnitude of the human experience. Seek sources whose voices we seldom hear.
– Avoid stereotyping. Journalists should examine the ways their values and experiences may shape their reporting.
– Label advocacy and commentary.
– Never deliberately distort facts or context, including visual information. Clearly label illustrations and re-enactments.
– Never plagiarize. Always attribute.
Ethical journalism treats sources, subjects, colleagues and members of the public as human beings deserving of respect.
– Balance the public’s need for information against potential harm or discomfort. Pursuit of the news is not a license for arrogance or undue intrusiveness.
– Show compassion for those who may be affected by news coverage. Use heightened sensitivity when dealing with juveniles, victims of sex crimes, and sources or subjects who are inexperienced or unable to give consent. Consider cultural differences in approach and treatment.
– Recognize that legal access to information differs from an ethical justification to publish or broadcast.
– Realize that private people have a greater right to control information about themselves than public figures and others who seek power, influence or attention. Weigh the consequences of publishing or broadcasting personal information.
– Avoid pandering to lurid curiosity, even if others do.
– Balance a suspect’s right to a fair trial with the public’s right to know. Consider the implications of identifying criminal suspects before they face legal charges.
– Consider the long-term implications of the extended reach and permanence of publication. Provide updated and more complete information as appropriate.
The highest and primary obligation of ethical journalism is to serve the public.
– Avoid conflicts of interest, real or perceived. Disclose unavoidable conflicts.
– Refuse gifts, favors, fees, free travel and special treatment, and avoid political and other outside activities that may compromise integrity or impartiality, or may damage credibility.
– Be wary of sources offering information for favors or money; do not pay for access to news. Identify content provided by outside sources, whether paid or not.
– Deny favored treatment to advertisers, donors or any other special interests, and resist internal and external pressure to influence coverage.
– Distinguish news from advertising and shun hybrids that blur the lines between the two. Prominently label sponsored content.
Be Accountable and Transparent
Ethical journalism means taking responsibility for one’s work and explaining one’s decisions to the public.
– Explain ethical choices and processes to audiences. Encourage a civil dialogue with the public about journalistic practices, coverage and news content.
– Respond quickly to questions about accuracy, clarity and fairness.
– Acknowledge mistakes and correct them promptly and prominently. Explain corrections and clarifications carefully and clearly.
– Expose unethical conduct in journalism, including within their organizations.
– Abide by the same high standards they expect of others.
Now as you read this code of conduct, think about the journalist, media reporters and commentators, who are reporting the news or discussing the news. Have they lived up to this code? My opinion is no, they have not even come close. And that is the problem because journalism, tabloid new, blogger and vloggers have all become mixed in together. And no one is following any code of ethics. Bloggers, who become news commentators, can say and do anything, no one is checking their stories for accuracy, in fact most bloggers can just make stuff up. And then they go onto mainstream media outlets and do the same, and just because they have a well read blog they are taken as fact when there is no fact whatsoever. The other problem is that people hired to be journalists then start doing the same thing. Unidentified Source when no one can examine who that is, as we saw who Anonymous was in the newspaper reports, and then we find out he wasn't even where he said he was. And if you read the Journalists code you saw how it frowned on Unidentified Sources.
What has to happen? The media industry has to clean itself up - become ethical. If not, then the American people have to clean them up by challenging he journalist and the sponsors to support the journalists place they work at. If we don't start demanding the industry to clean themselves up, stop them from promoting their own political agendas, then the media becomes a political promotor and not a journalist entity. At this time, journalists and the media are not operating independently, they are scheming with political parties. Their agenda is to do harm and destroy. No reporting or code of ethics.
If I as an accountant and a business mediator have to live by two code of ethics in my profession, then the media needs to be held accountable to their code of ethics. Challenge these journalists, become aggressive in getting to the truth. The key work is challenge the story and their ethics in gathering the story. Tabloid news on a daily basis, 24 hours and 7 days a week - isn't happening anymore. Journalists - act like real journalists, because Americans are going to hold you accountable for every word, commas and period to your stories in print, radio, internet, and television. We are watching you from this point forward.