is known as the Fourth Estate, reckoned
along with the legislative, the judiciary and the executive arms of a nation. “Journalism is what maintains democracy. It’s
the force for progressive social
change”. – Andrew Vachss
Journalism refers to the news or feature stories that
expressed through different types of media. Which covers three channels /
areas, Audio, Audio Visual, Print. The main function of
journalism is to inform, serve and promote community welfare as a whole. The word ‘journal’ have their origin in the French word ‘Journal’ which means ‘a book’ and
it has its origin in turn in the Roman word
‘Diurnalis’ which means ‘Daily’. “Journalism
is what we need to make democracy work”. -Walter Cronkite.
Journalism came to India in 1785, When the first
newspaper was established by an Englishmen called Hickly. Whose Bengal Gazette Alias Calcutta general
advertiser came out on January 29, 1780 in Calcutta
as a two, Shut Weekly. It declares itself as a “Weekly political and
commercial paper, open all parties but influenced by none”. Because of the intellectual natural of journalism the subsequent history of the
newspapers in India is extremely
interesting. Besides, it aims at
educating and entertaining its readers.
So they can participate fully in the affairs of the state and in the
cultural affairs as well.
And the Journalism
also has following ethics to be followed – “Ethics” is a major branch of
philosophy. It was derived from the
ancient Greek word “Ethos” which means ‘Character’, it teaches the value and
customs of a person or group, a standard of right and wrong based on analysis
and thought. The Greek philosopher Aristotle popularized the study of ethics.
Ethics play an important role when it comes to writing a
story. Ethical issues can be viewed
differently by the different types of the people based on their views and
values. Example if a newspaper wants to
publish photos of the aftermath of a homicide, some people will see it as
inappropriate or necessary while some will seriousness after crime. The Journalist themselves has to know their
boundaries between what is right and
what is wrong. There are many ethical values to be followed by journalist they
are truth and accuracy, humanity, trust, independence and the limitation of harm.
This paper deals with the major ethical principle ( i.e.) Truth and
Truth and accuracy:
“A short story is
a writers way of thinking through experience… Journalism
aims at accuracy, but fiction’s aim is
truth. The writer distorts reality
in the interest of a larger truth”. – John L’Heureux
Journalism is about ‘truth-seeking’ and so in the
law. Whereas, Accuracy means getting the facts right, getting to the truth
of the matter is one of the journalism’s Ten Commandments. So Credibility,
honesty, dignity are all the basis of any story which becomes the important
ethical values in Journalism to give the true fact or line to the readers. Those who work in the news system have the
public responsibility and so the journalist must be honest, fair, courage’s in
gathering, reporting, informing the facts in his / her work. Then the story line should not be biased that
is it should not develop or spread controversial views among the people. So the Journalist should be very careful in
the selecting the facts and strive to protect public health and safety and
preventing them from being misled by some statement or action of an individual
or organization. And, Journalists must
not give their personal views, that is
it must be objective always, in order to maintain ethics of journalism.
The field of Journalism is changing rapidly
as technology advances which link different continents at the flick of a
switch. Audiences habits, changes the market place evolves and
news cycle hits wrap spread. These are
the reasons for the new changes in ethical values / principles of Journalism.
And cultural, economic and even global transformation are again forces rethink of the form and
function of the news media and the practice of Journalism.
fails to give the facts due to the following problems which is faced by the
When it comes to
present truthful facts there must be accuracy in the news /facts, then the
values of truth and accuracy becomes the heart of the writing. It can be tempting for the journalist to hype
or sensational material, skewing the reality of the situations which will
mislead the viewers / readers. Because
it also includes the interest of the public .
Accuracy is not as same as truth. It also involves checking everything from the
minor detail to the major one. The spelling
of the names of the facts, dates, age’s right, and attributing information
correctly, titles of the story, not relying excessively on cuttings, checking
sources, and not making up quotes are all essential to the stories credibility.
Objectivity, balance and fairness
should be the specific guide lines for ensuring accuracy then the story which
is written will be truthful. To maintain
the truthfulness and accuracy the journalist must know their boundaries between
what is right and wrong. Even then,
however people will have conflicting view. It is always important to the journalist to
remember in any situation to follow the ethics .
following techniques in order to improve accuracy:
The San Jose Mercury News accuracy checklist:
Is the lead sufficient supported?
Has some one double checked names,
titles, web addresses etc. in a story?
Does the story pick sides and makes
subtle value judgments?
Are the quotes accurate and capture what
the person wanted to say
Is anything missing?
giving importance to all these techniques the writer can ride of the mistakes
from his / her facts in their work.
“We should not
just cover the community we serve but also serve the community we cover”. – Atty. Pachico Seares
As a journalist,
it is important to always take into account all sides of a story in order to
give a truthful and accurate news. So it should not be
influence by any power or money
when it comes to holding people trust. And
so, the most primary purpose of
journalism is to provide citizens with the information in order to make
the public aware of everything around them so that it may help them to make the best possible decisions about their
lives, their communities, their societies and their government.