Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Journalistic Standards

The Levenson Enquiry is certainly an eye-opener for those who have never really bothered about how some journalists obtain their stories.

The press has always behaved rather strangely; go back to Victorian times and they were just as bad, although the methods were different.

One thing to remember is that newspapers and television news channels are run as meritocracies - in short, if you get the exclusives you get the fame, fortune and promotion. Many organisations do not care how you get your information, as long as it doesn't come back to bite the organisation on the backside. Sales without ethics.

Journalists and especially photo-journalists can make a year's salary from a single story or photograph. The rewards are huge and the risk are relatively low, so it is no wonder that some will rake through bins, camp outside a house in all weathers for days on end and resort to illegal methods.

So how can this be countered? I don't want to see tightened legislation and rigid privacy laws, but there has to be some form of legislation to balance the rights of individuals against what is considered to be in the public interest.

Yes, the public appetite for scandal is out there, and to be truthful always has. Major events attract an audience. But the lines have been crossed too many times, and the Milly Dowler phone hacking incident is simply unforgiveable. But it is not one organisation - it's many of them. Even as the enquiry is proceeding, some sections of the media are attacking those who have dared to appear as witnesses.

The culture in the media allowed this behaviour to happen when it should not have even been considered. I've always said that responsibility comes from the top. It's about time the media accepted this and behaved in a more responsible manner.

No comments:

Post a Comment