Q. The differences between the ethics of new (digital media) & the traditional media.
There is a wide scope of difference between old media ethics and new media ethics. Every media entity concerned with old media forms has a code of conduct which it adheres to with discipline. The information on old media is reliable, the content is rich in language and direct. Old media ethics had an inclusion of ethics the specified fact-checking as a very critical activity before publishing any kind of news. The other important thing was that each piece of news was given an equal consideration on the basis of its impact and gravitas. Contrary to that, in new media, political and economic news has taken a back seat while celebrity news and material which has been newly termed as “scoops” is in trend. This kind of material doesn’t require fact checking and gets circulated through a lot of site in a plagiarized form which is not appropriate and goes against the ethos of the traditional media (Ward, 2009).
In the digital age, there is a scenario of democracy considering the ethics aspect because there is no particular form of regulation in publishing content online. The popular sites which include the Huffington post, Buzzfeed, etc. do not need to follow specific guidelines regarding their content and this reflects in their content which can lack the element of fact checking. The only regulation witnessed is regarding certain insensitive reporting of an incident or the bad coverage of a sensitive issue which gets hate from people or the content gets removed by government orders. These problems create internet hoaxes which are false piece of new that gets rapidly spread throughout media and later it is revealed that it was false sometimes leading to massive negative effects. This has brought the issue of ethics regarding new media into light (Ball, 2012).
When any individual can post news after watching a news telecast or listening to an opinion of an acquaintance, the line regarding who a journalist actually is, becomes blurred. As new media has advantages like rapid speed of reach and integration of multimedia elements in news, it is supposed to be the ideal new face of news media but without the required seriousness and ethical operation, new media forms cannot be deemed reliable. This signifies the radical need for improvement in media ethics.
Q. Give your opinion about the characteristics of the global & local media ethics
The ethical aspect of journalism and old media platforms in concerned with questions being asked about news events like the consistency of an action with the ultimate purpose of journalism and the view of good citizens in the society. There is a high amount of concern in traditional media forms regarding the violation of principles of journalism and the role of a journalist in public perspective. Being truthful and avoiding harm to public through the news is a big ethical factor. These ethics are followed with discipline because journalists keep their ethical duties towards journalism in a responsible manner as they have studied journalism. There is a clear social contract between journalists and the media which they interact with. Due to this fealty to society, journalists in many countries are given more power over other citizens as they serve society.
Traditional Media has a set of ethos which mainly includes certain functions like keeping the public informed about critical events so that the people can develop their own views about the event, acting as a protector of public power and rigorously observe abuses of power and report them in media, and providing a platform for public expression through article writing and letters to the editor. Seeking the truth is one of the principle ethics of traditional media which has helped make a robust reputation of traditional media forms regarding the truth of a new report. They have strict accuracy standards and they tend to venture anywhere on earth for search of truth due to a strong code of ethics.
New media initially had no ethics. New either flowed through forums which were not a popular source at the time and also through websites of news channels which maintained the same ethics they followed on their channel in the content at their website. The emerging websites and blog which feature articles of news do not follow a specific code of conduct and it is upon the reporting individual himself to see whether any kind of ethics are followed and truth is being reported. This leaves open a lot of loose ends and the reporting of news which are critical become diminished in comparison to other meaningless celebrity news. Although, there is an emergence of new media ethics which is in the form of a general request to people posting new related content on their website.
Q. Explain the role of the theories that helped in emerging media ethics
Several theories regarding how human beings perceives people from other cultures, how people interact with each other and how events impact the society at large have made an impact on the concept of emerging media ethics. The emerging media consists of internet communication and blogging in which people from two different countries on the far side of the globe communicate as if they are sitting in front of each other is included in the postmodern theory of identity which further made an impact on internet journalism and how people are perceived on the internet (Drushel & German, 2011).
The web theory by Robert Burnett describes how mass media interactions with the help of digital media are a flood of information causing an overload in which people are being bombarded with information and there is possibility of confusion regarding the truth of information and classifying between genuine sources and fake ones (Burnett & Marshall, 2003).
The theory of Parasocial Interaction describes how media interaction in emerging media forms like reality shows form deep connections with people through the characters that featured in them despite being miles away creating a bond of parasocial nature between both people. This has a deep connection with mass communication through new media forms like YouTube which has channels featuring YouTubers which tend to form a good bond with their viewer through their shows, which is an example of a parasocial bond between the viewer and the performer (Bell, 2011).
Q. How is the right to communication a universal value?
The right to communicate with other human beings and the act of communication with other human beings has been deemed as an element that makes us human. A precondition as well as a fundamental right, communication has also been highlighted as a vital element of human dignity. As human beings as a species have survived and evolved beyond the capabilities of other species, only because we stayed together in groups, hunted and settled in groups throughout the world. It shows that we have managed to come this far by communicating with each other and staying united depicting how communication is our strength which can help us evolve further and stay united as a global community making us a part of the species as a whole. Communication can help us break barriers, develop further and become one which is why communication as an activity deserves to be a universal value which every human being should have a right to (Traber, 1992).
Without a right to communication human beings cannot prosper and living in the dark without an insight about what is actually going on in the world can lead to our doom and death of the idea about a universal society. Communication gave birth to language, expression, culture, which led to the widespread transmission of knowledge that led us to understand the world around us and beyond. If right to communication in a journalism scenario is not provided, then people will not have any idea about the perils and injustice around them. A recent example would be the riots of Hong-Kong regarding their unification with China. Due to the communication restrictions and tight control, citizens of China had no idea regarding a major issue going on around them.
These situations are major violations of human rights that can never lead to a positive scenario and the acts of violations are witnessed as shackles over the human conscience and out collective spirit as human beings. Right to communication is as essential as our right to water and air and it also covers the same ontological ground making it a universal right of all human beings on earth regardless of the country, religion or any other demographic divisions (Lee, 2011).
Ball, J. (2012, 11 29). Leveson’s distinction between web and print news ‘will undermine regulation’. Retrieved from www.theguardian.com: http://www.theguardian.com/media/2012/nov/29/leveson-web-print-undermine-regulation
Bell, C. (2011). Idol Concerns: The Ethics of Parasociality. In B. E. DRUSHEL, & K. GERMAN, The Ethics of Emerging Media (p. 51=76). New York: Continuum.
Burnett, R., & Marshall, P. D. (2003). Web Theory. New York: Routledge.
Drushel, B. E., & German, K. (2011). The Ethics of Emerging Media. New York: Continuum.
Lee, P. (2011). Fragments of Truth: The Right to Communication as a Universal Value. In R. S. Fortner, & P. M. Fackler, The Handbook of Global Communication and Media Ethics (pp. 133-153). West Sussex: Blackwell.
Traber, M. (1992). Communication as a human need and human right. In Communicating Peace: Entertaining Angels Unawares, 243–257.
Ward, S. J. (2009). Digital Media Ethics. Retrieved from ethics.journalism.wisc.edu: https://ethics.journalism.wisc.edu/resources/digital-media-ethics/