Social Media versus Codes of Ethics in Journalism?



I have been meaning to "public" this blog for quite some time. In the early months of Covid-19, I was stunned at what was taking place, events and situations which I never had to face before- the shutdown of society.

Now almost a year later, I realize and understand that much of what surrounds Covid-19, is not all ethical or truthful. 

The flip side of all this situation is that there is the good, the bad and the ugly- the dishonest, and the inappropriate activities surrounding  Covid-19. Everyone has their story and I sure have mine. Time and time again hearing, Covid this, Covid that, but to be honest I have gotten all my news on a email platform called Outlook-  bombarded with the weapon of mass destruction  " Covid-19". 

Before Covid-19, Meghan and Harry dominated the Outlook  headlines. It begs the question how much of what we read, is news and how much is sensationalism? Can we find out and validate its source? Who do I call on Outlook to validate its standard of news worthiness?

The Wire ( The Canadian Press)

What is true and what is false about Covid-19 and on what authority and source is the sender of the news- based on? Because this is almost impossible to determine, it leaves most of us in confusion. This reminds me of the tune of a song sung by Norman Whitfield & Barrett Strong.

"Ball of confusion that's what the world is today- hey-hey"

Or this tweet a few days ago...

"In a tweet on Monday, the New York based doctor took to twitter exposing the truth about masks saying: “The government is trying to shut our mouths and cover our faces with masks. No basis in science. Covid-19 is around 0.1 microns. Masks block particles of more than 0.4 microns. In other words, masks don’t stop covid. End the tyranny and lies ”He then cited a study demonstrating the uselessness of masks blasting those who refuse to review the science and data recorded in the publication."

Social media? A question we can ask ourselves is  "who and what is social media?" Anyone can post a comment on social media concerning Covid-19? Again how much of what we read and hear is legitimate and accurate and can we make someone be responsible for what they have written as factual.

When attending university a few years back in my discipline of Philosophy and Public Ethics we as students, participated in class discussions revolving around the ethics of life.

What we presented and wrote on paper had to have a basis of facts,  and backed by a valid authority on what was being declared. If one wrote a paper we were required to follow rules, and a strict guideline and adherence to scholarly protocol guiding our research and and no plagiarism was permitted and rightly so.

What about today? 

 Journalism used to be a painstaking profession with strict guidelines. Those reporting the news were held under strict rules and checklists before making any statement without being verified for its validity. Protocols were in place.

Because the public must be well informed and protected the journalist has the obligation to be ethical in what they write and in what spirit they distribute their news. 

Today a definition of Journalism taken from Google says "the activity or profession of writing for newspapers, magazines, or news websites or preparing news to be broadcast" We ask though what kind of activity?

I remember in my University years when social media and news was entering into the sphere of new reporting and the consensus was that there was worry that the profession of journalism was coming to an end. And this is in fact correct.

At least the accountability part of it.

Above I have added a link to what journalism used to entail- things such as integrity, avoiding conflict of interest avoiding kickbacks and financial remuneration for distorting the facts. Coming into conflict with public interest versus the personal interest of a particular cause. Being impartial to anyone en devour but writing in a transparent manner void of manipulation or control  telling the truth in research and depth.

Journalism had to be credible, such as a social contract and obligation as not to deceive the public but rather protect it and its interests, and rather act in its best interest as not to deceive the public in any fashion, manner. The values and ethics of Journalism were of upmost importance in presenting all and any material as a means of liberty and acts of responsibility as it shares its new toward each free citizen.

Credibility had to be a priority. Journalism was once held by a code of ethics such as some examples it had to protect the truth and its credibility of its sources. Meaning making any appearances or conflicts of interest which were skewed in favor of a side. Meaning when presenting any news it had to be free of biases and ulterior motives or kickbacks. Avoiding propaganda and never instilling fear into the public eye as a means to control or manipulate, thus avoiding competition and confusion. 

Can we say honestly today that what we hear and read on TV, in magazines and in social media is acting on our behalf ethically?

Is Journalism today respecting and making a distinction between one's private life and public life as separate?

There is so much to say- about what we have lost. Let us join hand together in prayer to seek and ask for God's mercy and forgiveness and to restore our sense of integrity in all that we do and say. Pray for peace, and do not fear, because those who trust in the LORD know...

" For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

2 Timothy 1:7

" For we are taking pains to do what is right, not only in the eyes of the Lord but also in the eyes of man" 

 2 Corinthians 8:21

Lyrics by Norman Whitfield & Barrett Strong
People movin' out, people movin' in.
Why, because of the color of their skin.
Run, run, run, but you sho' can't hide
An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.
Vote for me and I'll set you free
Rap on, brother, rap on.
Well, the only person talkin' 'bout love thy brother is the preacher
And it seems nobody's interested in learning but the teacher
Segregation, determination, demonstration, integration, aggravation,
humiliation, obligation to our nation
Ball Of Confusion that's what the world is today (yeah, yeah)
The sale of pills is at an all time high
young folks walkin' 'round with their heads in the sky
Cities aflame in the summer time, and oh the beat goes on
Eve of destruction, tax deduction,
City inspectors, bill collectors,
Evolution, revolution, gun control, the sound of soul,
Shootin' rockets to the moon, kids growin' up too soon
Politicians say more taxes will solve ev'rything, and the band played on.
Round and round and around we go, where the world's headed nobody knows.
Great googa mooga, can't you hear me talkin' to you, just a
Ball of Confusion that's what the world is today. (yeah, yeah)
Fear in the air, tension ev'rywhere
Unemployment rising fast, the Beatle's new record's a gas,
and the only safe place to live is on an Indian reservation,
and the band played on
Eve of destruction, tax deduction,
City inspectors, bill collectors, mod clothes in demand,
population out of hand, suicide too many bills, hippies movin' to the hills
People all over the world are shouting end the war and the band played on.
Round and round and around we go, where the world's headed nobody knows.
Great googa mooga, can't you hear me talkin' to you, just a
Ball of Confusion that's what the world is today
Let me hear you, let me hear you, let me hear you
Ball Of Confusion that's what the world is today
Source: LyricFind


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