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The Ethics of Journalism

The Ethics of Journalism

Write 300 words about the ethics of journalism using the information attached to the order.


The Ethics of Journalism

Ethics refers to a set of prescriptive virtues, values, principles and rules of character
which inform and guide intrapersonal and interpersonal conduct, that is, the conduct of people
toward each other and toward themselves. Aristotle viewed character as a quality that could help
a person in making a persuasive argument. Before character, it is important to start with duty,
which is one of the key defining features of ethics (Breit, 2011).

From a deontological perspective, good actions are determined by obligations and duties,
regardless of consequences. Deontological theories consist of various approaches including
social contract, rights theory, and traditional duty theory; the prima facie duties and the
categorical imperative. Immanuel Kant emphasized the aspect of reason as a basis of morality,
that focuses on rational decision-making in order to show what a person should do whether the
action is universal, in respect for persons or in respect for the autonomy of others (Breit, 2011).

Utilitarianism is considered the most influential consequentialist theory of ethics. Jeremy
Bentham suggested that an action, intention of principle must be judged by its overall immediate
outcomes. From a consequentialist perspective, there has been a shift from the individual, not to
a group, but to rather an elite, who is in a position of relative power. Before carrying out a certain
action, a journalist asks himself such things as whether the intended action might cause harm,
whether someone will be denied legal or moral rights, and whether everyone in the situation has
been treated impartially.

The human aspects of journalism and public relations have a close connection to the ethic
of care, which emphasizes the value of empathy for others and human relationships. Thus, when

responding to an ethical problem, a care ethicist needs to determine whether the action was
genuinely related to the needs of others. The focus in ethical decision making is on
understanding others that is, acknowledging the needs of others and caring responsively,
competently, and responsibly (Breit, 2011).



Breit, R. (2011). Professional Communication: Legal and Ethical Issues, 2 nd ed. Lexis Nexis,
Butterworths: Australia.

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