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advertising Guest Column: What is ethical journalism in today's age?

Guest Column: What is ethical journalism in today's age?

Author | Joginder Singh | Tuesday, Dec 02,2014 8:39 AM

Guest Column: What is ethical journalism in today's age?

 It is vital for media to be up to date in technology, so that news and views could be communicated to the public. In his book "Eyewitness to History", Professor John Carey narrates of how a correspondent from The Times of London was sent to France to cover the Franco Prussian War of 1870. After the battle of Sedan, he rushed back to England by train and ferry boat. He stayed up all night to write an account of the German victory. He arrived in London, only to learn that a competing newspaper had published reports of the event sent by telegraph two days earlier.

Obviously it shows in the present news era in the world, news from almost everywhere is available to almost everyone every hour of every day. The improvement in the transmission of the news has coincided with improvements in printing and paper making technology. It has made possible, the speedy production of huge quantities of daily newspapers, from different centres, sold at affordable minimal prices.

Public access to the news has been established to today’s 24 hour television news by satellite as well by the morning, afternoon and evening newspapers.

The advent of mass communications and TV represents the greatest change in human consciousness that has taken place in recorded history.

Access to national and international news has deeply influenced popular culture, politics and even philosophy. Our people try to ape what is going on in the world like PDA or Valentine’s Day. In the bargain the standards of ethics vary from political parties to political parties and rumpus groups. One thing is clear now that when the media does its job differently and honestly,  citizens also change their approach and they become bold. The question which is often discussed,  and on which  there is no consensus, as to  what comprises good and ethical  journalism.  Bribing the media is not something new in our country. Orissa journalists have filed a complaint against an MP and MLA for bribing them Rs 2000 each in return for better coverage in the media on 12th November, 2014. Earlier on the eve of Elections, a political party in Chattisgarh (which had two terms of ruling the country, immediately before the present Government unseated them), gave cash running into thousands of rupees before the last elections. Despite the lip service of free media, no government wants criticism even on social site. Its objective is to prove that everything is hunky dory.  According to a Google report it received requests from the previous government for removal of 358 items between January and June, 2011. Criticism of the Government was given as the reason for the request.  Google said that  50% of the requests received were partially or fully complied with. “ In addition , we received a request from a local law enforcement   to remove 236 communities and profiles from Orkut, that were critical of a local politician. We did not comply with this request, since the content did not violate our community standards or local laws.”

Thomas Jefferson once rightly said, "It is so difficult to draw a clear line of separation between the abuse and the wholesome use of the press, that as yet we have found it better to trust the public judgment, rather than the magistrate, with the discrimination between truth and falsehood. And hitherto the public judgment has performed that office with wonderful correctness.”

The author is former CBI Director.

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