Thursday, September 18, 2008

Media Ethics Part Three: Act Independently

This is part three of a four part series on media ethics. We have reviewed in prior posts a few of the voluntary ethical standards of the Society of Professional Journalists, including: 1) Seek truth and report it; and 2) Minimize harm. The third tenet of good reporting is to Act Independently. According to the SPJ:

Journalists should be free of obligation to any interest other than the public's right to know.

Journalists should:

Avoid conflicts of interest, real or perceived

— Remain free of associations and activities that may compromise integrity or damage credibility

Refuse gifts, favors, fees, free travel and special treatment, and shun secondary employment, political involvement, public office and service in community organizations if they compromise journalistic integrity

Disclose unavoidable conflicts

Be vigilant and courageous about holding those with power accountable

Deny favored treatment to advertisers and special interests and resist their pressure to influence news coverage

Be wary of sources offering information for favors or money; avoid bidding for news

Kim's Editorial Note: Looks like reporters have to be as careful as politicians!

Do you think they do a good job?

Source: Society of Professional Journalists, Code of Ethics: (accessed 9/18/08)(emphasis supplied)

Photo credit: U.S. Department of the Treasury, (accessed 9/18/08)

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