Media Ethics: Media ethics is basically deals with some basic principles of ethics such as accuracy, objectivity, truth, honesty, fairness, impertiality, privacy etc. Media ethics is the branch of applied ethics, which uses the insight of meta ethics and general principles or rules of normative ethis in solving its puzzling ethical or moral problem in their daily works of reporting and writing.
Media ethics or journalism ethics are the moral principles, reflected in rules, written or unwritten, which prescribe how media personal should work to avoid harming or causing pain and suffering or distressing others, e.g., when gathering information; when deciding what to publish; when responding to complaints about their work.
Deviation of media practioners from accepted ethical norms and exciting traditions of the society have invited the critics, protests and attacks on media organisations by general public and gave rise to many other issues of debate and discussion.
The issues of invasion of privacy, censorship, pornography, media violence, confidentiality, objectivity, television and children, advertising, propaganda, etc are all outcome of violations of establishrd codes of ethics of media and prevalent traditions of the society in someway or other.
Ethical Issues in Privacy: Privacy can be defined as an individual conditions of life characterized by exclusion from publicity. The concept follows from the right to be left alone. As such privacy could be regarded as a natural right which provides the foundation of the legal right the right. The right to privacy is therefore protected under private law. The legal right to privacy is constitutionally protected in most democratic societies.
Privacy is an important right because it is a necessary condition for other rights such as freedom and personal autonomy. There is thus a relationship between privacy, freedom and human dignity. Respecting a person’s privacy is to acknowledge such a person’s right to freedom and to recognize that individual as a autonomous human being.
Different categories of private information: Based on the juridicial definition of privacy two important aspects which are of specific relevance for the information profession must be emphasized. The first in the fact that privacy as a concept is closely related to information in terms of the definition while privacy refers entirely on the facts and information which are applicable to a person in a state of isolation.
The fact that privacy is expressed by means of information, implies that it is possible to distinguish different categories of privacy, namely private communication, information which relates to the privacy of a personal body, other personal information and information with regard to a person’s possessions. Each of these categories are as follows:
Private Communications: This category of privacy concerns all froms of personal communication which a person wishes to keep private. The information exchanged during a reference interview between the user and the information professional can be seen as an example.
Privacy of the Body: This normally refers to medical information and enjoys separate legal prediction. According to this legislation, a person has the right to be informed about the nature of an illness as well as the implications thereof. Such a person further has the right to privacy about the nature of the illness and cannot be forced to make it known for others.
The only exception is when the health, and possibly the lives of others may be endangered by the specific illness, such as the case may be where a person is HIV positive and the chance exists that other people may contact the virus. This category of information is of specific importance for an information professional working in a medical library.
Personal Information: It refers to those categories of information which refer to onely that specific person, e.g. bibliographic (name, address) and financial information. This type of information is of relevance to all categories of information professionals.
Information about One’s Possessions: This information is closely related to property right. According to this a person does have control over the information which relates to personal possessions in certain instances, e.g., a person may keep private the information himself or herself.
Main Ethical Issues in Privacy:
In the handling and processing of these different categories of private and personal information, the information professional is confronted with the ethical issues. The issues are:
Deciding which categories of personal and private information: The information professional is entitled to gether. This question is of utmost importance to infopraeneurs.
The Confidential Treatment of such Information: The main ethical problems in this regard can personal details obtained from the reference interview, be used for purposes other than what it was specifically gathered. Is it ethically correct to re-use a search strategy formulated for one user for another user?
The Accuracy of Information: This issue of specific importance in cases where an information professional is working with personal information that can have a direct influence on the life of a person. An example is the processing of medical information.
The Purposes for which Various Categories of Information may be Used: The question here is whether or not an information professional may use any of these four categories of private information for any other reasons than the original reason given for the gathering thereof. Relating to this is the question whether the person must be notified about the way in which personal information is going to be used or not.
The Rights of a Person in terms of the Use and Distribution of One’s Personal and Private Information: This ethical problem relates to the above-mentioned questions and comprises the question of consent of the user in terms of the use of personal information.
Related questions are, does a user have the right to verify any personal and private information that is being held by an information professional and if so, what are such person’s rights gathering the correcting (in case of the incorrectness thereof) of this information and, does the person have the right to know who is using that personal and private information and for what purpose?
It is one of the major socio-ethical problems that the global society is facing today. It has emarged as a serious threat to the dignity of human sexuality and it’s divine purpose, challenging the very nature of man and woman and representing the presension of mind in the contemporary age.
It restrained the sanctity and purity of sex, promoted degradation of humanhood and advanced the commercialization of sex among other things.
The word ‘pornography’ comes from the Greek term Pornographos. It is a compound word made of Porni (‘prostitute’) and Graphen (‘to write’) which means ‘whore writing’ or ‘writing about prostitutes’. The term is dated around 1864 AD.
Pornography refers to writings or movies on all kinds of sexual activities outside the bonds of marriage. The term ‘porn’ refers to ‘indecent sexual stuff’ which primarily include pictures.
The Defense of Pornography:
In spite of its explicit harmful effects, pornography has been defended from various points of view. Following are few a major defenses of pornography:
Evidence Argument: Pornography has no effect open a person’s character and that it is not harmful. The therapeutic argument believes that pornography can help to overcome from various sexual problems including frigidity and importance.
The social benefit argument holds that legalising pornography can reduce sex crimes and pron market. The moral inversion argument attempts to present alternative to traditional morality by replacing love with hatred, by deforming what is beautiful and praising ugliness.
Similarly, the ideological and liberation arguments believe that phonography can serve as a vehicle to overthrow the old repressive culture, the coldness of the anti-sexual philosophy of traditional morality. Finally, the civil liberties argument defends pornography as part of the issue of the freedom of speech. These defenses add to the challenges of pornography demanding serious response.
Ethical Status of Pornography:
Most of the pornographic materials currently produced present images or descriptions that erotise either gender, economic social or racial inequality. They promote injurious stereotypes about women and sexual minorities and rainforce gender based violence. In the sense, the pornographic material currently produced can be considered a case of hate speech.
They insist on the representation and description of woman as a sexual object and spread and legitimize certain perspectives on women that influence the behavior and attitudes of main and of society in general in relation to women.
Undermining wellfair and sexual equality of women involved in this industry, as well as the woman in general. Because of that pornographic materials currently produced are detrimental to human dignity.