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Journalism & Diversity - Essay Example

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The Press Complaints Commission Code of Practice states: 'Details of an individual's race, colour, religion, sexual orientation, physical or mental illness or disability must be avoided unless genuinely relevant to the story.' Discuss the reasons behind this aspect of the code and how it is applied by journalists, with the reference to one or more recent story…
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Journalism & Diversity Essay
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Journalism & Diversity

It announces that “it is implicit and inherent in the institution of a free press that the press exercises its powers and duties in a responsible manner” (The Law Reform Commission of Hong Kong, 2000, p. 2). Clause 12 of the Press Complaints Code deals with discrimination issue regarding reporting of a news, guiding journalists not to mention the race, colour, religion, sexual orientation, physical or mental illness or disability of a person unless these are required actually to complete the story. The purpose behind this clause is to secure people from biased reporting and the news publication does not harm the common public interest. Journalists need to differentiate between the lines, crossing it only when remarks are made generally about various sections of people on a reporter’s individual capacity to write that is politically correct and a decision can not be easily made without harming others’ right of freedom of expression (Beales, 2009). The purpose of the Code is to draw a line, remaining within which won’t create any clash between the right of the public to freedom of speech and the rights of a person not to be exposed to biased personal abuse. Regarding the right to freedom of expression, having a different opinion is the right irrespective of the matter whether it is not to others’ liking or others mind it (Beales, 2009). With the increasing trend of media taken to the court over its expression of public opinion, responsibility of the press has increased to report daily news in controlled way. Past examples of various news reporting can help in drawing a line between taking the freedom of publishing a news, for example, the British media took restraint by not publishing the contentious Danish cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed, although they were not bound by the Code not to do so. On the same length, the sarcastic advice of a national newspaper columnist to wire the county streets to decollate cyclists created anger among the audiences but it was not the violation of the Code on the part of the columnist but because the remark was not aimed at any individual and the columnist also published an apology, the matter was amicably settled (Beales, 2009). Nevertheless, pejorative or prejudicial aggression at selected people is against the spirit of the Code. For instance making fun at the disabled son of Katie Price, the showbiz model from Jordan became a controversial issue; the PCC was flooded with complaints from readers and also from Ms Price and her husband, Peter Andre. The issue could only be settled when an online and in-print apology was made by the magazine besides making donation to the charity (Beales, 2009). The Code comes to the rescue of those individuals who are targeted and victimised but complaints made by the third party do not come under the arc of the Code until the sufferer agrees to support the complaint. Journalists are advised to apply restraint in reporting matters of public interest by the PCC. Even if no claim of discrimination is made by any individual, PCC can take action under other sections of the Code like Accuracy. For instance, the PCC issued the guidance note on asylum seekers indicating that it was wrong to assume asylum seekers as illegal. They are legal so far as they are not denied asylum. Such inaccurate publishing ... Read More
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