Blog 9: Ethics in Media, by Armen Vardanian

By Armen Vardanian

Ethical issues are very complex in our society as they lack feasible boundaries in to comparisons to legal issues, which are more distinctly administered by laws, statutes and guidelines.  Each individual outlines his or her moral issues based on the past experience, parental guidelines, early education, and personal sense of guilt, which is very difficult to outline.  In addition, the individual sense of morality may change overtime, and lean to one way or other later.

This is especially true in media where the morality is governed by the people who own that particular media, and who are in power defining the precincts of such limitations.  So it is not suppressing that today’s media crosses moral boundaries and reports issues that may be unethical to certain individuals, groups, nations, countries, or political affiliations.  For example, is it ethical to report on natural calamities, where people die in the results of such disasters?  Or, is it ethical to report on airplane, train, and car crashes.  Many would argue that broadcasting such cases fall within the margins of news reporting.  However, relatives of the victims may think otherwise; what is the reason for other people, sometimes around the world, to know on death of their loved ones.  In the United States, the media from both sides of political spectrum (Liberal and Conservatives) feel that their views are more ethical than those from the opposite sides.  Is it ethical to publicly attack an opponent in a personal manner?  And is it ethical for the news media to report on such attacks?  As different topics would continue dividing peoples’ opinion on variety of issue, media will remain unethical as well.

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