Media Ethics

Media Ethics

Media Ethics

Media Ethics

Synopsis

Media Ethics brings together philosophers, academics and media professionals to debate pressing ethical and moral questions for journalists and the media and to examine basic notions such as truth, virtue, privacy, rights, offence, harm and freedom which are used in answering them.

Excerpt

Indeed, there has been increasing public debate about such matters, usually motivated by outrage against some perceived wrong committed by a section of the media. Accusations of bias, press cynicism, media manipulation, condemnations of journalistic intrusions into privacy, worries about the damaging or distortive effect of the televisual medium and hotly contested pronouncements about the appropriate forms of media regulation or censorship have all hit the headlines with ever greater frequency. The aim of this collection is to focus upon some of the key questions about the media’s ethical responsibilities and rights. For only by critical reflection upon what, rationally, we may legitimately demand of the media, in terms of their duties and responsibilities, can we hope to arrive at any substantial basis for claiming that a particular press intrusion or media programme is immoral.

As most of the readers of this collection will notice, the majority of the essays in this collection are philosophical. This is for a good and important reason. Although sociology, psychology and legal studies are informative, for example, about what people’s actual preferences are, how those preferences come about and how legal restrictions actually apply, they are, essentially, non-normative. They do not and cannot tell us what, for example, people’s preferences ought to be and why, rationally speaking, this is so. It may be that many people assume political spin-doctoring, cheque-book journalism or the broadcasting of pornography on satellite channels are immoral and thus should be prohibited. But even if there were a social consensus about such matters, it does not follow that these things are indeed wrong. For, as we are all aware, people’s preferences and moral

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