Academic journal article International Journal of Communication Research

The Ethical Values of Mass Media and the Side-Slips of the Romanian Journalism Scenery

Academic journal article International Journal of Communication Research

The Ethical Values of Mass Media and the Side-Slips of the Romanian Journalism Scenery

Article excerpt

BBC emphasizes the right to free speech or to information with responsibilities, the right to respect private life and to protect children. The fundamental principles which must always be respected are accuracy and the presentation of the truth, impartiality and opinion diversity, editorial integrity and independence, serving the public interest, fairness, respect for privacy, respect for the public, independence from any commercial interest, fairness towards those interviewed.

A piece of information is always presented with accuracy, it establishes the truth in regard to what happened. Information comes directly from the source, by being present at the scene, and if this is not possible, by talking directly to the ones present. Accuracy does not only refer to gathering the correct facts. Information has to be carefully measured so that the presentation or the description becomes true, honesty has to be present in the information that we do not hold, avoiding speculations.

Impartiality and diversity reflect all opinion standards, analysing all the opinions of those involved in the conflict. Objectivity has to be present in the approach, professional judgement has to be presented where necessary, yet one should never present only one vision when it comes to controversial matters, such as public policies.

Interviews have to present the manners and the politeness of reporters. The will be based on fairness, openness and straightforward approach. A quality production respects the individuals' private life, this principle being violated only in exceptional situations, when there is solid reason. A person's behaviour, mail and conversation from the private life will not be exposed unless there is public interest. The prospect of offense is to present the world as it is, including all the aspects of human experience and reality of the natural world, it values the right to broadcast innovative and provocative productions with the responsibility of protecting the vulnerability. Programmes should not offer the impression that they support or promote a particular product, service or company. The reference to any service or product has to be justified from an editorial point of view (COMAN, 2003).

A more detailed research on the Romanian audio-visual as a whole demonstrates the poor independence and the lack of credibility. Editors benefit from suffcient independence as long as they support the interests of their owners and their partners. Another characteristic of television in Romania is the tabloidizing and trivializing of news programmes, which lately have become more and more interested in political news. This direction was aggravated by the new electoral legislation prior to the 2004 elections, which forbid all TV channels to broadcast news about the candidates for Parliament and the Presidency, outside the electoral programmes. TV channels are allowed to present the news about the elections only during news bulletins. Political analysis can only be broadcasted if they respect the complicated placement calculation between the political parties. Prime time generalist programmes, especially the news, reflect something that television calls "non-events," meaning events that do not present any importance for the entire public, such as accidents or cases of domestic violence. The purpose of television is to educate and inform and this principle cannot be differentiated from the rest of the media environment.

A few years ago TVR 1 was the only TV channel to possess a network which presented the technical possibility of covering the entire national territory. TV channels multiplied in recent years. The majority focus on news, some have a generalist format, while others are specialised in sport, music, films, documentaries or religious programmes. In recent years television has gained a highly significant role in building a career and this is why many politicians have become television owners. The media in Romania presents a higher rate of foreign investors than any other field. …

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