Sunday, 18 January 2015

Pure Ethics of Journalism

Pure Ethics of Journalism

The virtuous journalist is one who has respect for, and tries to live by, the cardinal virtues which Plato discusses in ‘The Republic’ :

(1) Wisdom, which gives direction to the moral life and is the rational, intellectual base for any system of ethics. Wisdom is part natural and part acquired, combining knowledge and native abilities; it largely comes from maturing of life experience, from contemplation, reading, conversing and study.

(2) Courage, which keeps one constantly pursuing his goal which wisdom has helped him set for himself. Courage is needed to help the journalist resist the many temptations which would stray him away from the path which wisdom shows.

(3) Temperance, the virtue that demands reasonable moderation or a blending of the domination of reason with other tendencies of human nature. It is this virtue, giving harmony and proportion to moral life, which helps us avoid fanaticism in pursuit of any goal.

(4) Justice, as distinguished from the other cardinal virtues, is that it refers more specifically to man’s social relations. Justice involves considering a man’s “deservingness”; each man must be considered but this does not mean that each man has to be treated like every other, for example, justice would not require that
every person elected to a city, state or national office receive equal attention on television or the same amount of space in a newspaper. Equal treatment simply does not satisfy deservingness, does not imply “just” coverage.

(5) Truth, the pursuit of truth by the journalist surely partakes wisdom, courage, temperance and justice. Thus at the base of journalistic ethics is an allegiance to truth. It is the authenticity of the information contained in the story that is the journalist’s chief ethical concern. It is hard to verify truth if the source’s name is hidden from the public. This allegiance to truth, not to some person (source) who reveals information, is what is important. Too often those who reveal information and elicit the journalists promise not to identify them have motives other than a desire to let the truth come out.~Virtue in journalism, believes John Whale, has to do With getting as much truth as possible into the story, and, of course, the source of the information is part of the “truth” of the story.
Journalist is an eye and ear of the society so he/she should be a responsible one. Joseph Pulitzer believes that the journalist should represent the whole country rather than a group or a class of people, he should criticize wrongs, bring out fact and also be sympathetic with the poor.


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