Ethical Journalism Newsletter: September 16th, 2014


Ethical Journalism News

Ethics in the Frame: Should we Show Slick Terrorist Pictures of Brutal Killings?

The killings of journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff posed a major ethical dilemma for media across the globe. Media organisations had to balance their need to tell the story as comprehensively as possible, with the obligation to show humanity and not to support the public relations strategies of media-savvy terrorists. This fascinating article from the American Journalism Review delves into the complexities of the debate. (via American Journalism Review)

More on Image Usage: Getting the Picture Right

There are moments when the use of a particular image triggers a debate. Readers question the appropriateness of the photograph. The world of journalism was in a state of dilemma when the images of the beheading of journalists appeared in social media last month. (via The Hindu)

From the Middle East: TV Networks Careful with Haines video

Television channels across the Middle East have given mixed coverage to the beheading of the British hostage, David Haines, by Islamic State. Most chose not to broadcast the most graphic pictures from the video released by the group on Saturday. (via BBC News)

European Court to Investigate Laws Allowing GCHQ to Snoop on Journalists

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) is to investigate laws that allow British intelligence agency GCHQ and police to secretly snoop on journalists. The Bureau of Investigative Journalism has gone straight to Strasbourg in a bid to get a finding that domestic law is incompatible with provisions in European law which give journalists the right to keep sources confidential from police and others. (via The Guardian)

A Short History of Ethical Thought and What That Means for Journalists

The history of philosophy (especially ethics) has left us with a series of “theories of justification,” ways of thinking designed to lead us to good decisions. At a moment when new codes of ethics are being drawn or revised, let’s begin with the inherent weaknesses therein. Codes, in my opinion, work the way early maps of the world worked: They provide you with the general shape of the cosmos. But they are of less use as a GPS system to get you from one specific place to another. (via Poynter)

Crowdsourcing During a Crisis Has its Drawbacks

With all the talk of database journalism and mapping data, one would think crowdmapping would be taking off. But, it’s unclear how useful the practice is for journalists, especially with data collected in dangerous humanitarian crises, like the one in Syria. (via Poynter)

Scottish Referendum – What England’s Sunday Papers Say

The London-based English newspapers pulled out all the editorial stops to urge Scotland’s population to reject independence. Leading articles in most Sunday national titles – from the Sunday Times to the Sunday Mirror – carried a similar message: vote No. Editors also devoted a considerable amount of space to the subject on their news and opinion pages. (via The Guardian)

Reports & Resources

Society of Professional Journalists: New Code of Ethics

Members of the Society of Professional Journalists believe that public enlightenment is the forerunner of justice and the foundation of democracy. Ethical journalism strives to ensure the free exchange of information that is accurate, fair and thorough.

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