Journalism and Ethics

By José Eduardo Cubías Colorado

The news media play a role of decisive importance in a Democracy, to provide information on the basis of which recipient citizens make their decisions, necessary to govern himself and in his social coexistence.

The nature of this function serves as the foundation of the Code of Ethics for Journalism, to the Deontology of this profession: fair treatment, honorable and equal for all.

Codes have been created to define the details of that responsibility. These codes can be considered as the “Written Law” of the journalist. however, they leave two important problems unsolved: In the first place, it can refer to any type of legal obligation; is a restriction on Freedom of the Press. Second, codes cannot possibly describe all situations; then individuals or groups have to make many of the decisions based on the “Unwritten law”, which is born from the discussion and reflection of journalists.

Is “Unwritten law” is clear and defined, in some spheres, but in others it is vague and undefined. Therefore, the conscience of the journalist who takes into account his responsibilities is the guide of ethical behavior in the exercise of this profession. It all depends on your professional training.

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