Ethics – The Biggest Casualty in Journalism Today!

When it comes to arrogance, power and lacks of accountability, journalists are probably the only people on planet who make lawyers look good”- Steven Brill. Here there is no offence meant to legal fraternity as I quote journalist in the beginning and media entrepreneur Steven Brill. But, let us think that if anybody writing a book on lawyers’ ethics uses the words “journalists” and “lawyers” in reverse order then the full meaning and observation changes. In this way the professional criminals adopts devious means to get their work done.

Nowadays, Ethics is increasingly becoming a myth or it can be said as rare commodity day by day among the journalists. There are many deep-rooted reasons for that. We know about the old conflict of journalism which pitted against corporate ownership and financial considerations. Besides all this, ethics has been relegated by the combined forces of mediocrity, irresponsibility, callousness, unprofessionalism, etc. Not only in journalism, but there are many who are indirectly related to media does unprofessionalism and use media as a dishonest means to make their job done. Almost everybody amongst us tries to achieve their goal and make their position concrete by short-cut ways. There are very few who maintains honesty in their personal as well as in professional life.

Let me give you a clear example. During coverage in mid-2004 in Kolkata, rape and murder and rape convict Dhanonjoy Chatterjee was hanged to death on 14th August, 2004. The run-up to the hanging coverage by media was out to make a strong capital out of capital punishment. The hangman and the hanged became the focus of all for months to play up the event for boosting circulation and TRP. Now, what kind of name or term can be given to media for this type of act of coverage? It may only be called as a mere “media circus”. There is no harm if media pounces upon some issues or matters boosting TRP but when media uses unethical means and does unprofessionalism just only to achieve high TRP, journalism and journalists both lose their position, trust and esteem before people’s eyes. There are many such news coverages which are really an unethical one.

Journalists are entrusted with a special responsibility to report the news honestly and fairly. Uncompromised objectivity is necessary if any news or article or you may say any publication is to retain the respect and recognition of its readers.

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