Ethics are the reason behind human actions and their values. The basic principles of ethical journalism provide an amazing foundation for all those who wish to work in the field of journalism. The ethics of journalism have many aspects: accuracy, accountability, fairness, independence and humanity.
The work of a journalist is controlled by the national and international laws. Usually in free democracies like ours, the ethical laws of journalism are stronger than the local laws. The ethics of journalism are thus based on universal values like humanity, truthfulness and ethical theories.
What are The Ethics in Journalism?
According to the general division, there are two kinds of ethics: duty-based ethics and consequential ethics. The duty-based ethics focus on the importance of truth, while consequential ethics stresses on the good of society. It is easiest to follow ethics and bring them into our habit through duties and freedom. The most important freedom for the journalists is the freedom of speech. Here are the five basic ethics of journalism:
1. Truth and Accuracy
It is a duty-based ethic. Journalists cannot always guarantee to show you the ‘truth’, but getting the facts right is the most important principle of journalism. One must always strive for true and accurate facts that we have collected and must ensure that they have been checked at least once.
Journalism must be independent. The journalists must raise their independent voices. They should not act on behalf of other people or be influenced by anything, whether it is political, corporate or cultural pressure. If acting so, the journalist must declare it to our editors or the audience, their political affiliations or other necessary information that might cause some conflicts of interest.
3. Fairness and Impartiality
Each story has two sides. Some have many. Though this is not necessary to present every side in every part, but what is important is that the story should be balanced. The facts should be fair and not partial because impartial journalism builds trust and confidence.
Journalists should do no harm to any person, caste or religion. What they publish in their reports or what they broadcast can hurt the sentiments of people so one must always be aware of the impact of their words and images on the lives of others. So humanity must be focussed upon while reporting.
A most important symbol of professionalism and responsible journalism is the ability to hold oneself accountable. When a journalist commits errors, he/she must correct them and the expressions of regret about their errors made must be sincere and not mocking. One must listen to the concerns of their audience. They might not change what others write or say but one must always ask for pardon whenever they have been unfair.
These were the basic principles or ethics of journalism.