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Articles on media ethics

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The BBC was at the scene and the Mail wasn’t pleased. Andrew Matthews/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Trust the Mail to stick the boot into the BBC over Cliff Richard

When police investigating allegations of historic sex abuse searched the Berkshire home of singer Cliff Richard, it was the BBC that broke the news. Indeed, the Independent reported that when the eight…
How to cover suicide has always been a contentious issue for journalists. EPA/JANOS MARJAI HUNGARY OUT

Public health, private grief: how should journos report suicide?

While fans were in collective mourning over the untimely death of Robin Williams, American TV channel Fox News’ Shepard Smith was making profuse apologies for calling the comedian a “coward” after his…
The ethical questions raised by publishing material from WikiLeaks are not new, but can come with heightened stakes in the digital age. EPA/Facundo Arrizabalaga

WikiLeaks, journalism ethics and the digital age: what did we learn?

The journey of whistleblower website WikiLeaks was traced by, among others, Professor Gerard Goggin, chair of the Department of Media and Communications at the University of Sydney. In an analytical narrative…
The Guardian and ABC’s case to publish information about Australia’s phone tapping is a defensible one. EPA/Adi Weda

To publish, or not to publish? The ethics of reporting spying

Were The Guardian Australia and the ABC ethically justified in publishing leaked classified material showing Australia tapped the telephones of Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, his wife…
If a comet was heading for earth, would you just go about your life? Mark Mathosian

A question of ethics: journalists and climate change

Breaking news: scientists have discovered a comet that will collide with Earth in 30 years. Its impact will be devastating, killing millions, flooding coastal cities and disrupting civilisation as we know…
How much of a role did the media play in the political demise of Julia Gillard as prime minister? AAP/Tony McDonough

Ethical lapses by journalists contributed to Gillard’s demise

An integral power of the media is that of portrayal: the act of determining how people, events, ideas and organisations are described to the public, and therefore how they are perceived by the public…
The sensationalist coverage of the domestic violence inflicted in public on celebrity chef Nigella Lawson has the potential to normalise the behaviour. EPA/Sebastien Nogier

The media ‘spectacle’ of Nigella Lawson’s domestic abuse

There is something concerning about the media coverage of Charles Saatchi’s violence against his wife, celebrity chef Nigella Lawson. It is the willingness of the news media to reproduce images of Lawson’s…
There has been an outpouring of grief over the death of British nurse Jacintha Saldanha. EPA/Andy Rain

Did 2Day FM break the law? And does it matter?

When you make money by being infamous, as 2DAY FM does, the odds are that eventually your infamous behaviour will land you in serious trouble. That has now happened with the hoax phone call to the King…
Southern Cross Austereo CEO Rys Holleran has expressed “sorrow” at the death of Jacintha Saldanha, but who is to blame? AAP/Joe Castro

Between guilt and innocence: 2Day FM and the moral blame game

This past weekend, we saw the media – old, new, and social – trying to digest the indigestible. The death of Jacintha Saldanha, the British nurse who apparently took her own life after being caught up…
2day FM is in hot water after a prank call to Kate Middleton’s hospital went terribly wrong. AAP/Warren Clarke

Jacintha Saldanha is the latest victim of a media saturated world

The dreadful death of Jacintha Saldanha after she transferred a prank call from 2Day FM to a fellow nurse is a harrowing example of the hurt that can be caused when ordinary people get caught up in media…
2Day FM hosts Mel Greig and Michael Christian must be held to account by ACMA. AAP/Southern Cross Austereo

ACMA among those responsible for hospital prank fallout

Sadly, few of those outraged over the Kate Middleton hospital prank will understand that the presenters responsible are not journalists but entertainers. For that role they are covered by the Australian…
British Prime Minister David Cameron has rejected Leveson’s ecommendation for a statutory body to oversee the new independent press regulator. AAP/ EPA/FACUNDO ARRIZABALAGA

Leveson inquiry into UK press: the experts respond

Lord Justice Leveson has released the recommendations of the Inquiry into the Culture, Practices and Ethics of the Press…
Julia Gillard has repeatedly answered questions about her role with the AWU, but it’s not enough for some journalists. AAP/Alan Porritt

AWU ‘scandal’ says more about the media’s ethics than the PM’s

Every time Prime Minister Julia Gillard repeats statements that she’s “done nothing wrong” in the AWU slush fund scandal story, it seems another journalist joins the fray. No one covering the story has…
Former Canberra Raiders player Brad Clyde speaking at the R U OK? Day morning tea in 2011. AAP

Are you ok? Ask the support agencies

Today is R U OK? Day – an initiative kicked off in 2009 by marketing executive Gavin Larkin and television producer Janina…
Headlines can scare, but media reports on new medical treatments often overstate the benefits. AAP

Sick of medical spin? Don’t just blame the media

The “spin” sometimes found in media reports emphasising the benefits of new medical treatments has more to do with the abstracts…

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