Eye on Ethics: Asian journalists’ codes of ethics and ethical issues confronting them

The Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR) and the Asia Media Forum (AMF) are doing the media community and the public a huge favor by setting up Eye on Ethics, a website-cum-online forum that seeks to remind everyone about ethical conduct expected of journalists and to inspire discussions on the topics.

Edited by the respected UP Mass Communications Dean Luis Teodoro, Eye on Ethics has tackled what journalists should do in times of crisis (as in the Manila Peninsula incident), and how British media “covered up” Prince Harry’s deployment to Afghanistan and other ethical issues confronting journalists and the public they are sworn to serve.

Instructive for both journalism students and professionals, as well as to the reading/viewing public are the journalism codes of ethics of more than a dozen countries in Asia.

Eye on Ethics is a promising site. I hope it will analyze using the Filipino Journalist’s Code of Ethics as yardtick the role of some “journalists” in the Brian Gorell issue and how the media covered it.

Newspaper readers and TV viewers should find time to come regularly to Eye on Ethics, and hopefully be able to size up Filipino journalists. Media criticism by the very audience of media is wanting in the country.

Media criticism, especially at this time of crisis, is becoming a pastime of government officials who have much to hide and who violate the people’s rights to information and to free expression.

Journalists meanwhile should exercise self-criticism, not self-censorship. Self-criticism is a healthy thing to do because we get to discover our strengths and weaknesses. Self-censorship is an abomination: It destroys the profession by misusing freedom to limit information shared to the public by journalists themselves in a naked effort to please the powerful.

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