What are journalistic ethics?
The so-called journalistic ethics refer to the demand for self-discipline from the media and the media workers. It may be either in written or unwritten norms set. In other words, it’s said to be unofficial, non-legal nature, unforced, and no penalty clause in the Code of Conduct. Why do we need to have journalistic ethics? It’s simply because of the enormous influence of media. Western countries said the media as the fourth estate outside the executive, legislative and judicial powers. Those totalitarian regime countries would like to control the fourth power through legal and political force. But, the free institutions countries are always promoting the Social Responsibility Theory. They request the media to develop self-regulation, and thus a Code of Ethics and the press self-regulatory organization come out. Standards of journalistic ethics
According to the Code of Ethics of HKJA, every journalist from Hong Kong needs to obey eleven rules. The aims can be summarized as several key points. For example, journalists are responsible for maintaining the highest professional and ethical standards. Besides, they shall at all times conserve the principle of the freedom of the press. They shall struggle for eliminating distortion, news suppression and censorship. As journalists are spreading news publicly, they shall strive to ensure the dissemination of news is fair and accurate, and shall avoid comments and speculation as to the message. In addition, journalists shall obtain news, photographs and illustrations by honest and straight forward means. After obtaining the information, they shall protect any confidential sources of information. And something more important is that, journalists accept bribes or inducements, which affects the performance of its professional duties. They shall not distort or suppress the truth because of advertising or other considerations.