May 12, 2014
The Media and its Responsibilities
The media should follow certain ethical standards for the information they present to the public. Most people get their information from watching the news, the internet, listening to the radio and other forms of media. The reporters and journalists providing the information through media outlets have a responsibility to provide neutral and honest information to the general population. The media must remain accountable for producing information that can be verified with records. They must also be liable for the consequences of reporting their stories. If the story that is being reported is not done appropriately it could lead to negative ...view middle of the document...
To analyze the media’s responsibility we will use the examples of national tragedies and catastrophes and how the media reports them. National news gets shown all over our country and even in other countries as well. These stories tend to invoke strong emotions in the people watching or reading about it at home. They make people feel angry, sad, confused and scared. Media outlets can be a great help during a national crisis’s like chemical disasters or natural disasters. The media can help to warn people as well provide information on safety procedures and shelter locations. Some media representatives feel that is their social and ethical responsibility to help the people in these situations.
In the article Social Responsibility in the Media, a government experiment on having the media help with planning for disaster policies and prevention showed that journalists felt a professional responsibility to actively help with the emergency situations beyond just reporting what was happening. The experiment revealed that these journalists wanted to help by joining the emergency planners to improve how the crisis was managed. (Middleton, 2011) Helping to plan for these types of crisis could help the journalist remember to be mindful of the way they present their stories so that they remain ethical. If reported incorrectly, the strong reactions of the public can be misplaced or exaggerated. It is important to find a good ethical balance to the way they are told to ensure safety and calmness from those at home.
Utilitarianism, which looks to find the best solution for the most people, can be applied to the media reporting of national tragedies. By using this particular theory we can ensure that the majority of the people are getting the news reports that will be most beneficial. The media would need to present the information in a way that informs the public about the current events, while also maintaining calmness from their audience. If the media were to show too much information or gruesome images it could induce panic from the viewers. This theory can help find that balance between what the people need to hear and what could cause more harm than good to report.
For example, if a public building blows up from an unconfirmed terrorist attack, viewers may start to panic that we are under attack before we have any proof that we are. If it turns out later that the explosion was just an accident with the gas lines then the media may have caused more panic than was necessary for the situation. The best thing for the majority of people in this situation would be to only report what has been confirmed to prevent people from panicking over a situation that could be a lot less severe.
In 1973 Swedish radio broadcast a program about the nuclear power station at Barseback. The program included dramatic fiction about a radioactive release from a power station, which was still under construction. The story was set nine years in the future. Over the...