The Use Of Ethics And Law In Journalism

2005 words - 8 pages

ALJ313 Media Law and EthicsAssignment One - Short Answer Report Weight: 50%Why is media coverage of disasters such as floods, earthquakes or bushfires such a sensitive issue, and why does such coverage always lead to debates about ethical standards?Media coverage of disasters is such a sensitive issue as there could be a fine line between being a journalist doing their job or being a helping human. Journalist or any other reporter must respect personal grief and privacy. They should never exploit a person's vulnerability or ignorance of media practice. In the case study of David 'Kochie' Koch jumping into the back of an ambulance as they were taking an injured minor to receive medical assistance, he believed that he did not behave unethically. The Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance Journalist Code of Ethics (MEAA Code) is a good indication as to how journalists should commit to ethical standards. Point 5 of the MEAA code deals with conflicting interests that can affect the accuracy, fairness and independence of journalism and that journalists should not use their position for their personal gain. The code is telling us that journalists should not act out of self-interest of their job and to act responsibly to the given situation.Point 5 also states that the meaning of 'self-interest' can be broken down to different categories such as 'positive self-interest' and 'harmful self-interest' as not all decisions made out of self-interest are ethically wrong. When disasters occur, as well as many other stories that journalists want to get their hands on first, the industry can become quite stressful and competitive, and this is when some journalists think unethically. Kochie defended his ambulance incident as he claims to have started a friendship with the man in the ambulance.However, the ethical problem lied with Kochie deciding to use the departing ambulance to exploit him being socially connected to someone who was part of his story. It would also be relevant to address Point 8 of the MEAA Code which describes the importance of using "fair, responsible and honest means to obtain material" and to never capitalize a person's vulnerability. This point discusses further ethical standards and how there is room for debate about them. This was particularly evident as when Kochie had to defend his actions with the Beaconsfield ambulance scenario. The MEAA Code has severe relevance about guiding points about fairness and personal judgement as what might appear to be fair from a journalists point of view mat be considered insensitive by others.What does journalism's professional observation of ethical boundaries bring to the table in scenarios such as the royal pregnancy prank call or the Kyle Sandilands incidents?The Australian Communication and Media Authority (ACMA) outlines formal codes of practice for commercial television and radio and aims to ensure that audiences do not overly offend what they see or hear on broadcasting media. Controversial...

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