FREEDOM OF SPEECH FOR THE PRESS

The freedom of speech for the press has been acquired, and is now cherished in western countries, however freedom of speech does not mean that journalists can say everything and anything.

After watching the video from Russell Howard on the differences of presentation of Ebola in the US and in the UK, I realize that sometimes, news are not really accurate, and because of the way the media deliver it, it can cause panic in a country. In this case, the difference is easily shown, in the UK, the news are measured about it, and made sure not to scare the public by saying that the virus can be contained, but in the US, the news heading are much more alarming:Capture d’écran 2014-11-28 à 11.55.28

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THE BBC AND THE BIAS CRITICISM

Even when you don’t give your opinions in a newspaper, sometimes your ideas can still be reflected when you report. For example, they can be found through your choice of words, images, subject, headline, quotes; the choices of anything that compose an article reflect a part of your opinion. That is what happened for the BBC concerning the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

In July 2014, the BBC has been accused of taking side with Israel during the conflict because they only reported on them and did not cover the Palestinian side of the story. It wasn’t the first time as they had already received complaints in 2012; Pro Palestinians accused the BBC of forgetting to mention the death of 1gaza_bbc_protest_46050 Palestinians and 5 Israelis during the violence in November 2012 as being a result of the blockade of Gaza. However, this year, an open letter, signed by 45, 000 people, was written in which the public denounce a coverage “pro-Israeli” and a news coverage “entirely devoid of context or background”.

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WHEN THE YOUNGEST MEET THE MEDIA.

Even if a journalist has to be objective and impartial in everything he writes, it doesn’t mean he should be insensitive and discriminatory. The work of a journalist is also to report in a way that the vulnerable groups of the society are not oppressed by the society.

Some groups of the society are considered as vulnerable, either because they have seen their ability to control their life reduced or because of who they are. These groups are defined by Chris Frost in Journalism, Ethics and Regulation (3rd Edition): “those who have their power reduced because of circumstances include victims of disaster, domestic abuse, crime, seriously sick. Those with limited power because of who they are include children and ethnic minorities.” When writing about one of them, and even if journalists can be critical on a group of people, they also have to be truthful and careful on words and pictures. Both are really powerful weapons and they can either give an honest representation or a discriminatory report.

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WORDS ARE NOT THE ONLY ONE THAT COUNTS.

Ethics in journalism focused on the facts published and their accuracy, but it doesn’t mean that it does not concern anything else than the words in an article: the pictures can also be a part of ethical problems or dilemmas.

Firstly, and even if I believe it is more about common sense, can a journalist take pictures found on social medias? We all know that when setting up an account on a social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc., our pictures might be found on the Internet by anyone; however does this mean that journalist can publish them? Can they use them? In my opinion, journalists does not have the right to take the pictures unless they asked the family, who agreed and only if it’s absolutely necessary to have a picture of the person in the article.

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