A Deontological View of the Privacy Debate.Report as inadecuate




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The mass media are at odds with the public on issues concerning privacy, i.e., issues concerning whether private information about a person should be printed in a newspaper or magazine. In a 1982 survey, one journalist/respondent said his or her newspaper "almost always" favored the public's right to know over a person's right to privacy. Unfortunately, for many journalists ethics consists mainly of objective or unbiased reporting. Questions about whether private information about an individual should be printed are too often reduced to legal technicalities. One ethical code that would be useful for journalists stems from Judeo-Christian teaching. Considering persons as ends in themselves, this code would ask the journalist how he or she could best show love for the subject in question or the community. Two sample cases show how this code might be applied. In the first, an editor reaches the decision not to print information about a community leader's past. He arrives at the following policy: private details of a person's life may be published when not doing so would cause damage to that person or to the public. In another case, an editor reaches a decision to print information that a local surgeon has tested HIV positive; his reasoning is that harm could come to both the surgeon and his patients if the information remains unpublished. (Contains 16 references.) (TB)

Descriptors: Codes of Ethics, Disclosure, Editors, Ethics, Freedom of Information, Journalism, Mass Media Role, Moral Values, Newspapers, Privacy











Author: Wilson, Alan

Source: https://eric.ed.gov/?q=a&ft=on&ff1=dtySince_1992&pg=7463&id=ED386715



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