COM 235 7-1 Journal: Keeping It Ethical and Legal

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Keeping it Ethical and Legal

Journalists play a vital role by setting agenda that ignites public debate, being opinion leaders, and the gate keepers in our society. Based on their inevitable role, journalists can make or break a society depending on how they approach their roles. Some leaders, special interest groups, individuals, and institutions attempt to abuse the privileges of the journalism industry in order to advance their selfish interests. Considering this reality, laws and ethics become very essential to ensure checks and balances are in place thus safeguarding the public interest and orient journalism to contribute to the greater good of our society. The application of ethics in journalism is crucial in ensuring that journalists remain focused and objective in the work that they do. Moreover, ethical practices are useful in the protection of human rights and minimization of potential harm that may arise from uncouth journalists (Meyers, 2010).

Practitioners in the field of journalism deal with very sensitive information that can cause irreparable harm to individuals, organisations, and the general public. In reporting such information, journalists have a responsibility to protect an individual’s right to privacy. This is possible through the use of anonymity in various pieces of journalism or using pseudo names that do not lead the consumers of the information to a particular direction. A journalist must be honest and explain to an individual how they intend to use information obtained from them. In addition, the journalist should obtain an informed consent without any form of coercion before using information obtained from an individual (Singer, 2010).

The practice of journalism presents a host of dilemmas that journalists must deal with in the course of their duties. Consequently, reliable frameworks are essential to support them in making ethical decisions while remaining objective in their work. Frameworks used in ethical decision making by journalists include an application of the three principles for resolving ethical dilemmas, utilisation of the potter box to make ethical decisions, the Bok model and the nine checkpoints in ethical decision making (Ward, 2010).


Meyers, C. (2010). Journalism ethics: A philosophical approach. Oxford University Press. Retrieved from

Singer, J. B. (2010). Journalism ethics amid structural change. Daedalus, 139(2), 89–99.

Ward, S. J. (2010). Global journalism ethics. McGill-Queen’s Press-MQUP. Retrieved from