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As journalists, we must operate ethically and with integrity

Published on 16th February 2020

When training to become a journalist, a strong emphasis is placed on acting ethically and respecting the codes of conduct which are laid out and designed to regulate the press.

These codes, which we, as reporters working within the media, are quite rightly expected to follow, range from not engaging in harassment to acting sensitively when speaking with people who have experienced grief.

But, as the public’s infatuation with celebrities has grown, so has the number of people acting in an unethical manner in order to satisfy the craving that we, as consumers, find difficult to shake.

These days, with the rise of social media, we are also now all given an unprecedented level of access to public figures.

But these are only microscopic insights into what their lives are really like and the feelings and emotions they are truly experiencing.

Despite this, we still see some news organisations choosing to fuel speculation and, at times, skewing the facts, instead of considering the welfare of others.

Sadly, not everyone plays by the rules, which undermines the great work of an important industry.

The traditional judicial process, which of course still exists, has been somewhat replaced by the trial by media and social media, with verdicts being decided within the court of public opinion.

As a result, we now, more than ever, see social media users and certain parts of the press spearheading the vilification of whoever they wish - whether it is warranted or not.

And with that, sadly, can come tragedy.

Personally, I would just like to see us all, be it journalists or members of the public, exercise a little more compassion and integrity.

We need to learn to better operate within the guidelines of decency.

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