Ethical Journalism Newsletter: August 12th, 2014


Ethical Journalism News

Media Concentration: A Crisis of Democracy

In the UK, a free press is seen as one of the hallmarks of a liberal democracy. However, while the press may be seen to act as a check on legislative authority, it too is a source of unaccountable power. Over several decades, the UK media has undergone a process of concentration, putting media power in few hands. The health of our democracy can be measured by a plurality of views, which over time is being gradually eroded. (via Media Reform Coalition)

How to Cover the Suicide of Public Figures Responsibly

The suspected suicide of comedian Robin Williams is an opportunity for journalists to give more coverage to a topic that deserves it. Suicide rates in the United States rose between 2000 and 2007. But screaming headlines, speculation and images of crying fans could do a lot of harm. Journalists have to cover such high-profile deaths – the key question is how. (via Poynter)

The State of the Media in Pakistan

Having been affiliated with the Pakistani media industry for over a decade, Puruesh Chaudhary has become as an integral part of the country’s crop of young and ambitious players in the media sector. In an interview with The Diplomat, she speaks about the downside of Pakistan’s media industry, media ethics and the state of investigative journalism in the country. (via The Diplomat)

Israel, Gaza, War & Data: Social Networks and the Art of Personalizing Propaganda

It’s hard to shake away the utterly depressing feeling that comes with news coverage these days. While war rages on the ground in Gaza and across Israeli skies, there’s an all-out information war unraveling in social networked spaces. Not only is there much more media produced, but it is coming at us at a faster pace, from many more sources. As we construct our online profiles based on what we already know, what we’re interested in, and what we’re recommended, social networks are perfectly designed to reinforce our existing beliefs. (via Huffington Post)

Plagiarism: A Renaissance for Attribution

In the modern age, it’s just so much easier to copy. It doesn’t take years of apprenticeship, just a few cut-and-paste keystrokes. Technology raises the risk of not only becoming a plagiarist, but also being uncovered as one: Sources found on the web can be compared in a web search too. (via Ethics AdviceLine for Journalists)

Ethical Issues over the Naming of Terrorist Organisations

Just two weeks after the Associated Press explained why it referred to the Islamic militant group laying siege to Iraq as “ISIL” rather than “ISIS,” the rebels complicated matters by declaring a new “Islamic caliphate” and changing their name to “the Islamic State.” Now the question for news organisations is whether to go along with the group’s rebranding efforts and potentially grant it undeserved legitimacy, or to keep using an acronym that’s familiar to readers but is arguably out-of-date. (via Poynter)

Report and Resources

Recommendations for Reporting on Suicide

Developed in collaboration with the American Association of Suicidology and a long list of universities and organisations, these guidelines represent a way to cover the suicide of public figures in an ethical way that prevents “suicide contagion” and promotes help-seeking. (via American Assoc. of Suicidology)


African Media Leaders Forum

Johannesburg, South Africa

In a year marking two momentous events – 20 years since the end of apartheid in South Africa and 20 years since the Rwandan Genocide – African media leaders and owners will gather in Johannesburg in November to hold frank discussions on how to uphold high ethical standards in the tri