Thursday, February 17, 2011

Ethics in Journalism

Observing the ethics is at the core of any profession especially in Journalism and particularly in the citizen journalism in Afghanistan. I would like to point out to three main points that citizen journalist’s faces throughout their work writing about events and incidents on daily life.

Firstly, citizens who write about anything in their surroundings are not necessarily professional journalists or reporters to know about professional report writing and journalism principles. In other word, they are amateur citizens who wish to play the role of a journalist and share their findings, ideas and observation of the eventsin our daily life where journalists in most cases cannot see nor cancover due to many limitations and policies in their media organizations.

Secondly, journalists who would like to report the events specially when speed, competition and popularity matters, they are required to obey the code of ethics and guidelines of their media they are working for. For example, there is a bomb attack or a vehicle of the president office is damaged, there is a rumor that president cook was badly injured inside it. Here each medium  try to be the first to publish or broadcast this story.Speed and popularity in most of cases, undershadow the ethics that should be considered when writing in blog or in the other social media networks on the internet .
The third reason, is the right of the citizens who are the subject of the story. For example, a blog writer has interviewed a person living with HIV and AIDS where the blog writer or website manager has taken a direct picture of this person with his wife and children and has put it the website. This picture leads to the damage of the image PLHIV among the society. This means that if a member of a family is HIV positive, the media practitioners and the citizen journalist should consider to write about him or herself, not all the family as the victims. Such ignorance in the use of an ethical journalism has a versus impact over the family the societies like Afghanistan where sex and talking about sexual activities is a taboo and hard to correct mistakes once published.
As a result, the ethics now proves to be the most important issue to be considered by the citizen journalists and professionals themselves. It cannot be observed only writing it on the paper, but the most effective way to cover stories ethically is to consider the human values and citizenship principle more than any other time. Journalism is an ethical social school that supervises other portions of the government in which ethics and human values plays the main  role in any society.