Justice Of Journalism Essay

789 words - 3 pages

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The Justice of JournalismJack Evan Gardner LangGlobal Issues in the MediaMrs. Meredith KingThe Justice of Journalism"…were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter." -Benjamin Franklin"Journalism's first obligation is to the truth" (Kovach and Rosenstiel 36). With that being said, journalists are fulfilling their obligation to the truth when they publish government secrets. However, that does not negate the fact that there are in certain situations compelling reasons to prevent such truths from becoming public knowledge. Life and everything it entails is simply a matter of personal opinion. There is no set right or wrong rules or guidelines for how a journalist should work. Rather, a journalist should do what he or she believes to be the proper and just action. The difficult part is determining whether the need for open government outweighs the potential harm to others."The government hides what it can, pleading necessity as long as it can, and the press pries out what it can, pleading a need and a right to know" (Keller 13). Whether or not there are compelling reasons to prevent such truths from becoming public knowledge are irrelevant. A citizen's right "to be free and self governing" does not have any significance toward harm resulting from exposure of government secrets. It certainly does not help citizens to be free or self-governing. If anything, it sways more towards preventing such from happening. Citizens have a right to know what events are occurring in society even if their government wishes that certain actions be kept secret. The government works for the people not visa versa. Therefore, journalists are fulfilling their obligation of what they believe to be the truth when they publish government secrets. Journalists write about what they are presented with. To an extent, journalists are not in control of the information they come across. However, they are in control of what they choose to do with such information. And if that information just so happens to be government secrets that have not been exposed, then so be it. They did not choose to come across such information, but they do get to choose what to do with it. If it is of their moral belief that...

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