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Media ethics Applying theory to practice. Media ethics This branch of media studies concerns itself with what media practitioners and regulators (and.

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Presentation on theme: "Media ethics Applying theory to practice. Media ethics This branch of media studies concerns itself with what media practitioners and regulators (and."— Presentation transcript:

1 Media ethics Applying theory to practice

2 Media ethics This branch of media studies concerns itself with what media practitioners and regulators (and still others in some cases) should do – What is right and what is wrong? Compare to empirical social science that attempts to identify what media are doing – Behavior – Effects

3 Moral decisions Decisions made by managers, practitioners, regulators, etc. in their professional/occupational roles all are inflected with moral choice – Most are made without much awareness of ethical implications Issues are ‘settled’ Some decisions lead to self-analysis – Journalists are more likely than advertisers, fiction producers to evaluate the ethical dimensions of stories, etc.

4 Moral/ethical theory Utilitarian v. deontological ethics Rights v. duties Process v. consequentialist ethics Individual v. collective Universal v. professional/role-playing

5 Theory and common practice The most common approach to ethics in media is based on a utilitarian/rational self- interest model – Produce the highest ratio of ‘pleasure’ to ‘pain’ – Market economics is thought to be most effective economic system for furthering this end – “The public’s right to know”

6 Christians Christians argues for a duties-based ethic for media professionals Potter Box for application in particular cases – How does Christians argue for his view—what does he see as the main problems behind utilitarian/individualistic ethics? – What new problems are generated? – What previous problems remain?

7 Practical application In all events/actions there are multiple factors and applicable theories, implications, etc. – Makes the computation of total good produced, etc. pretty much impossible In the absence of careful critical thought it is easy for practitioners to justify their actions based on at least some related moral theory or ethical principle – “Give the public what it wants”

8 Examples Objective news reporting – Probably the most common ethic stated in your short responses Violence and sex in TV programming Universal service for the Internet

9 McQuail's Mass CommunicationTheory Figure 8.2 Equality as a media performance principle, together with related concepts

10 McQuail's Mass CommunicationTheory Figure 8.3 Component criteria of objectivity (Westerstahl, 1983)

11 McQuail's Mass CommunicationTheory Figure 8.5 Two accountability models compared

12 McQuail's Mass CommunicationTheory Figure 8.6 Lines of accountability between media and external agents in relation to publication

13 “Potter Box”


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