Truthful media is, therefore, one antidote to violence. Informing the public of the way current systems affect our lifestyle, exposing the various dimensions of the human experience, and defining our future place in society is ideal journalism. There is the urgent need to sustain ethical reporting. People should support the School of Authentic Journalism and all media makers and truth seekers for the informed betterment of our immediate surroundings and the world.
In dark times people need light and journalism at its best can provide it. Stories told with style and attachment to the values of press freedom help people better understand the complex world in which we live.
In the face of deepening global crisis —economic downturn, terrorism and conflict,climate change, poverty and disease —there is an even greater need for journalismto break down walls of prejudice, ignoranceand powerlessness and for media to be the watchdog of government. Newsrooms and media are complex organisations that depend on teamwork among professionals.
It is hardly possible for one journalist to be ‘ethical’ on their own without engaging with colleagues. Journalists who do not want to be mouthpieces for owners or political dogma, or other vested interests need the support of their colleagues. In particular, they need the collective support that is provided by trade unions of journalists.
The Ethical Journalism Initiative outlined in this book provides support for journalists who are keeping an ethical flame alive in the profession. In these pages are many warnings about the dangers There is also encouragement for those who are ready to stand up for journalism and confirmation, in the age of convergence of traditional and new media, that the act of journalism as a public good will not survive on any platform without commitment to ethics and values.
Respect for truth and for the right of the public to truth is the first duty of the journalist. In pursuance of this duty, the journalist shall at all times defend the principles of freedomin the honest collection and publication of news, and of the right of fair comment andcriticism. The journalist shall report only in accordance with facts of which he/she knows the origin.The journalist shall not suppress essential information or falsify documents.The journalist shall use only fair methods to obtain news, photographs and documents.The journalist shall do the utmost to rectify any published information which is found tobe harmfully inaccurate.The journalist shall observe professional secrecy regarding the source of informationobtained in confidence.The journalist shall be aware of the danger of discrimination being furthered by themedia, and shall do the utmost to avoid facilitating such discrimination based on, amongother things, race, sex, sexual orientation, language, religion, political or other opinions, and national or social origins.
Journalism poses unique ethical challenges.Every journalist is individually responsible for maintaining standards in his or her own work. But media are collective endeavours where each journalist’s work is processed and channelled into a product, whose shape is usually directed by private proprietors or governmental management boards.There is intrinsic tension between theprinciples of ethical journalism and thedemands of profit hungry businesses andpressure from non-journalistic managersorowners. Collective codes of practice and collectivemeans of monitoring them are essential.Unions of journalists are ideally placedto lead a process of drawing up, negotiatingand upholding codes of ethical conduct.The Ethical Journalism Initiativechallenges particular threats such as those posed by a resurgence of racism or culturalor religious conflict. It is a call for renewal of value-based journalism across the entire media field and comes with a simple message: journalism is not propaganda and media products are not just economic, theyadd value to democracy and to the quality of people’s lives.