‘What Is Ethics and Why Is It Important for Thinking About Media?’

Topics: Ethics, Morality, Immanuel Kant Pages: 5 (1516 words) Published: April 8, 2013
‘What is ethics and why is it important for thinking about media?’ You should use recent examples from the media in your response.’

Living in a society that depends on information and communication to keep moving in the right direction, almost every person has access through radio, television, newspaper, and new electronic media to the latest circulated information. Through this information, one is able to shape their opinion about a particular fact. Nevertheless, media have the power to form our beliefs and opinions. We have put our trust on the media as an authority that give us news, entertainment and education. Thus, if the right role of the media is seen as providing information, then, it is precisely the quality of this information that we should concern; hence here is where ethics take place. This essay firstly attempts to define what ethics is, secondly what is their relation to the media is, and finally, an example that fails to be ethical will be given.

Ethics, a term coming from the Greek ‘ethos’ , which means ‘character’(Perebinossoff, 2008, pg10) is a branch of philosophy that involves systematizing, defending and recommending concepts of right and wrong behavior”.( Fieser, 2003) Paul and Elder (2006, pg1) define ethics as "a set of concepts and principles that guide us in determining what behavior helps or harms sentient creatures". Ethics propose that you ought something and the basic argue says a person ought to put their self on a path that they currently may not be on, and they are more or less to be expected to engage in the sorts of particular behaviors that ethics thinks they ought to do. Ethics doesn’t say just “ought” but it also gives them a particular goal to follow. It says someone ought to do do/be/follow X.( Perebinossoff, P. (2008) Different ethical theories argue that you ought to “be” ethical (virtue ethics), or “do” ethical things (utilitarianism), or “follow” ethical principles or maxims (Duty Ethics). (Fieser, 2003) These are some of the most prominent ethical theories and they are suggested by Aristotle, Jeremy Bentham & John Stuart Mill and Imannuel Kant respectively.

Aristotle suggests that in order to act ethically one must to be a good and virtuous person. Virtue ethics claims that it is important to have a good character, which is achieved when someone is an excellent type of person rather than if a person does the right actions or follows the right principles of rules. (Fieser, 2003) In the other hand, for Jeremy Bentham and John Mill developing the appropriate character is not important. What is important for them is “to increase the overall happiness and prevent suffering” (Fieser, 2003) . Utilitarianists believe that what matters is not how good or bad are the actions, but the consequence, the outcomes of those actions. (Fieser, 2003) For Immanuel Kant, people should do the right thing, even if that produces more harm (or less good) than doing the wrong thing. Duty Ethics suggest that one has the duty to do the morally right thing even if it produces a bad result. (Fieser, 2003)Each alternative response has powerful implications regarding how to specifically engage in the path of being ethical.

In the last couple of decades media has become a very important part of our society. Nowadays, we obtain information about recent happenings from all over the world from such sources as television, newspapers, magazines and other print media, as well as, of course, the Internet. In fact, media is the only source to rely on when learning about current events. Furthermore, most of our relations are mediated and we make sense of the world through the media. It is true that media shapes and implements our own ideas and opinions about everything that happens around us. Our opinion is strongly related to what we see in the media and creates our attitude. We tend to believe and depend more on the media for any time of information. If it this case the social responsibility is...
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