February 9th, 2008
To generate discussion on the unique ethical issues that confront journalism in Asia, the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR) and the Asia Media Forum (AMF) launched a blog site on journalism ethics last Jan. 30.
The site, Eye on the Asian Media: Asia Media Forum (http://www.eyeonethics.org), will feature stories and analyses on ethical issues facing journalism in Asia—a region in turmoil and change as well as stability and progress. Readers may comment on the articles as well as contribute to encourage dialogue. The site also contains various journalism codes of ethics across the continent and links to other media ethics resources.
Original content will be uploaded monthly in the site, which is edited by CMFR deputy director and UP journalism professor Luis V. Teodoro.
For its maiden issue, ‘The Jakarta Post’ chief editor Endy Bayuni analyses whether peace journalism could have eased the transition of East Timor to independence. Hector Bryant L. Macale, assistant editor of the CMFR’s flagship media-monitoring publication the ‘Philippine Journalism Review Reports’ (PJR Reports), focuses on the blurring of the line between news and advertising: Is it really a choice between ‘old-fashioned ethics’ and ‘rationalized profit’?
Taking a cue from the Nov. 29, 2007 siege at a hotel in Manila’s financial district, CMFR staffwriter Don Gil K. Carreon asks another timely question for journalists: Which should take precedence for journalists, the presumably lawful orders of the authorities, or the public’s right to information?
“While the ethics of journalism has evolved enough to be in many ways universal in character and application (truth-telling, for example, is among journalism’s universally accepted ethical principles),” Teodoro writes about the site. “There is at the same time a specificity to the circumstances in which they are practiced which complicate and affect the application of principles in decision-making. To what extent, for example, is trial by publicity avoidable in societies where the justice system is failing, and where only press exposure often makes the difference between wrong doers’ being brought to court or escaping prosecution?”
CMFR is a Philippine based non-profit organisation promoting press freedom and advocating professionalism and ethics among media practitioners.
AMF is a network of journalists from across Asia to share insights on issues relating to media and their profession, as well as stories, information and opinions on democracy, development and human rights in the region.
Readers are encouraged to visit the site http://www.eyeonethics.org. Comments and contributions are highly welcome.