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Abu Ghraib Photos: Issues in Media Ethics - Essay Example

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This paper is a conference-length case study examining a recent or historical issue of media ethics. The particular historical issue of media ethics that it will discuss is a case study Abu Ghraib Photos…
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Abu Ghraib Photos: Issues in Media Ethics
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Abu Ghraib Photos: Issues in Media Ethics

This case involves media ethics and professional practice in which media practitioners leaked out information perceived to be injurious to the public. Under media ethics, there are rules and regulations that media practitioners should always use as a guide in their line of duty (Wilkins2009). However, sometimes there may be issues that media professionals may perceive differently. Holding varying opinion is a common thing in everyday life due to different ways through which people tend to interpret circumstances. The Abu Ghraib Photos case study is one such case in which different media houses and media companies hold such divergent opinions. This is especially so given that the whole circumstance was a serious issue that touched on foreign policy and incursion into a foreign country. This paper will discuss media ethics in relation to this case. Introduction While the media have the power to collect and disseminate information, the same clause that empowers them to do so also charges them with doing that in an acceptable manner. They do disseminate information under the provisions of certain rights. Indeed many constitutions of democratic societies around the world guarantee the freedom and liberty to expression of one’s opinions, views, thoughts and expression as one of the fundamentals principles. The constitution assumes that it guarantees such liberties for overall good of the society in general. A society in which no one will subject another person to what denies the person fundamental necessities as a human being. As one may notice, media are one of the watchdogs that have been actively fighting for the rights of people. Such are people whose liberties and freedom are under threat of excesses of authorities. The authorities wield considerable powers enough to infringe on people rights, for instance freedom of expression. It would also be right to observe that one of the fundamental roles of journalism in general is to furnish people with news as they happen (Crook, 2010). The nature of journalism is so close to the inquisitive Socrates pattern. A journalist will, therefore, ask the following questions and attempt to find out the answers. Who did what? Where did he/she carry out the act? When did he/she do the act? How did he/she do the act? Why did he/she act in such a direction? In addition to asking such questions, journalism and media practice may require that a journalist critique whether one can justify the behavior (Smith, 2011). All news that the media broadcast to the people should be information on matters that they deem to be of public interest. Nevertheless, the media should always do that in a manner that is fair and unbiased. Such information should also be accurate and in a decent language. Probably, the fact that Universal Declaration of Human Rights gave people the right to receive and disseminate information is a factor that has complicated the understanding of media ethics especially when it comes to responsible media practice (Wilkins2009). One will appreciate that freedom of expression is a noble provision in constitutions and the Human Rights charter. However, there is a need to apply that freedom, as guaranteed in legal documents, in a manner that will always bring harmony and peaceful co-existence amongst societies and groups of people. It is in this regard that I find it particularly appropriate to assess issues to do with media ethics by taking Abu Ghraib Photos as a case study. The Abu Ghraib Photos In the year 2004, scandalous pictures of US soldiers mistreating prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq met the world’s attention with shock and awe. The photos drew mixed reactions from the Arab world and other sections of human rights groups and organizations. The ethical concern is ... Read More
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