A Paper on Media Ethics

            A society’s right to free press is warranted by the Constitution of the United States. It refers to the privilege and authority of media to operate accordingly as well as for its practitioners to perform their role and exercise their rights unrestricted. However, it is guiding principle that every right entails responsibility. Regarded as the Fourth Estate, media has earned its ability to influence the perspective and norms of the society. This is due to media’s fundamental function to give the public with information and views. In doing so, media has intentionally or not goes beyond its ethical boundary. The growing demands of the modern or technology-dependent world are also contributing factors why media challenges its own moral values hence the need for the industry to adhere to an organized set of media ethics. These standards make the industry reliable and help journalists create firm decisions (Peters, 2001).

            As an emphasis and a reminder for the industry and media people of their innate obligation, the U.S. Department of State has stated that the nature and main function of media ethics serve as the central principle which dictates how American journalism performs in a contemporary society (Peters, 2001). Media’s power as an important source of information is susceptible to irresponsible use and even exploitation thus the necessity for a clear and acceptable media ethics which will manage such challenge (Peters, 2001).

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            While media ethics is generally controlled through government regulation, it is hinted that the industry needs to rely on its own set of values resulting from the factors affecting the business, rivalries among organizations, journalists’ accountability and a well-developed self-discipline. The very nature of media ethics is when isolated and organizational or personal blunders are rectified without endangering the fundamental purpose of free media. Therefore, media ethically serves the society if the profession is guided by an organized set of principles while performing its function as provider of information and view.


Peters, W. (2001). Media & Ethics. Global Issues, 6, 1, 29-33.


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