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The ethical delimma of journal

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The ethical delimma of journal

The Ethical delimma of journalist

Confidence and Privacy

Society must have media law to protect confidentiality of people and organizations, as moral principles would not sometimes rescue them from journalism greed. The example of rape case would powerfully explain how important of media law is, in order to protect the victim. Furthermore, public figures such as Politicians and Film Stars are greatly suffering from the intrusion of privacy. Journalists must now have some strategies to minimize harm in particular case.

Breach of confidence is a civil remedy ordering protection against disclosure or/and use of non-public information without authority of person who has imparted it (Robertson &Nicol, 1990, p. 134). Press has rights to express beliefs and judgment about persons, but they might reveal unnecessary information, which brings embarrassment and painful facts to someone. Furthermore, some of information is still inappropriate and dangerous for public to know (Klaidman &Beauchamp, 1987, p.11).

The example of rape case would vigorously illustrate the importance of media law and the absence of journalism morality. Since the Criminal Justice Act 1988 there is restriction to keep rape complainants as anonymous in an effort to improve the rate of reporting to police. Once person has alleged as a victim of rape offence neither name nor address nor picture would be published or broadcast. However, there are three important exceptions to anonymity rule. Firstly, person may consent revealing of information to educate society. Secondly, media are free to identify complainants who are charged with perjury. Finally, identification is use to persuade witness to come forward, if anonymity would otherwise prejudice the defense. This media law has been protecting rape victims from journalism intrusion of privacy, as it showed before in 1975 half of the press reported complainant's name and address (Robertson &Nicol, 1990, pp.254-257). If there was no media law protection, some of journalists might enormously devastate victim's reputation. Nevertheless, breach of confidence would hardly happen to rape victim, as journalists now can not break media law. Therefore, this issue should be more focused on the defendants because there is no restriction for media on any identification.

Legally, no one can publish name of rape defendant when case is still in the lower court. Journalists could only identify person when such time establishes evidence and s/he commits trial to higher court. However, there are some cases, which journalists must morally concern to the reputation of defendant and his/her relatives when revelation exists (Meyer, 1987, p. 87-91). For instance, the case of father who is accused of raping his own daughter journalists must seriously consider about future reputation of little girl. The revelation might not be acceptable, if it could lead to or imply the identity of victim. Thus, journalists should find the most possible way to describe defendant without sabotaging anyone (Klaidman &Beauchamp, 1987, p.129). Perhaps, in this case newspaper should not publish name and address of defendant before the arrival of verdict. Case has not been proven yet, so there is no point to hurt anyone and public might not yet want to know who the person is. Most newspapers provide only the description of age and occupation instead of full detail, otherwise newspapers might sometimes get charged of defamation.

What should journalists do then, if father who is accused of raping daughter has become a real criminal? Journalists need to be careful with the application of law as well as ethical values of their profession. Revelation of criminal name must serve to the public interest; otherwise journalists should find other news angle. Perhaps, newspapers should tell story as a man rapes someone lese instead or say that father has been found guilty, but identification is not approval in order to protect his daughter reputation. Newspapers must present the truth, but if the truth is dangerous it needs to explain to public.


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Keywords: explain the ethical problems of journalism, ethical dilemmas of journalism, what is ethical dilemma and examples, what is ethical.dilemma

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