Innocent Until Proven Guilty

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The media is often equated with the communication of truth (Thiroux, 2007, p. 389). The evolution of technology has resulted in a large expansion of the media resources, whether it be written or electronic sources. This has increased the ability of the media to influence the perceptions of certain events by the general public (Thiroux, 2007, p. 389). This is done by reporting on stories where the facts of the case aren’t always known.

The recent allegation of sexual assault by three Brisbane Broncos players on a female patron at a Brisbane nightclub is a perfect example of how this can occur. According to Patterson and Wilkins, there are several elements which they believe should be emphasised if news values were constructed from ethical reasoning. Some of these include sufficiency and accuracy (Thiroux, 2007, p. 392). When comparing several articles written about the alleged incident, there are some inconsistencies. For example, one article from the Courier Mail reported that a complaint was made to police at 9pm after the Broncos players had previously been kicked out of the Story Bridge Hotel (Courier Mail 2008), while another article suggests quotes the manager of the Story Bridge Hotel as saying “No, they won’t kicked out at all” (Lutton, P 2008). These two articles suggest three players were involved in the alleged incident, yet another article from Foxsports suggests there was a forth player involved (Koch, D 2008). This is an example of how some media outlets can sometimes fail to complete sufficient research before submitting an article to print just for the sake of creating a high-interest news article. This also shows how news articles may not always be accurate. The lack of these two qualities suggests that some journalists have created articles without ethical reasoning.

The failure of the journalists to sufficiently research these issues has led to the general public presuming the guilt of the players involved in the alleged incident. In our...
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