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Media Law and Ethics

Free «Media Law and Ethics» Essay Sample

Case Study 1: Code of Ethics: Critical Comparison

Journalism is a respected profession. People who work in this sphere have a moral, ethical, and professional responsibility to transmit information to the public in an accurate and timely manner. Besides, journalists must comply with an established code of ethics, which prescribes the manner of engagements between colleagues, the society, and the government. Both at law and in practice, journalists are required to maintain high standards of professionalism, the guiding pillar of which is concise and accurate reporting (Moore & Murray, 2012). 

Despite the generality of the requirements of professional journalism, different jurisdictions impose certain rules and regulations guiding journalism. However, the defining rules are found in the Convention of the Society of Professional Journalism (SPJ). The regional-specific rules on journalism are derived from this agreement, imposing some additional obligations, or removing some rules from the general application of the convention. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) code of ethics for journalists has several similarities to the SPJ convention, including accountability, independence, seeking truth, accuracy, and timely reporting.

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It should be mentioned, that at all times, journalists must make a fair and honest representation of facts, as they have a duty to themselves, the profession, and the public (Moore & Murray, 2012). The last aspect marks the bounds of professional journalism. The journalists must engage the public in pertinent issues, respond to queries, and provide answers on the news. The call to be truthful in reporting is a moral obligation. Thus, journalists are encouraged to report the truth as it is, without making any inclinations or demonstrating biased opinion. The UAE emphasizes on a strict professional code of conduct. The provisions of the code of ethics resonate with those of the SPJ. The similarities stem from a shared global code of ethics, aimed at achieving coherence and uniformity in global journalism.

Case Study Assessment 2

1. Journalists must always endeavor to tell the truth when making reports. Therefore, they must not resort to writing cover-stories of the event when the main matter is unclear (Harcup, 2009). In the case study given, Stone should have confessed the fact that he was experiencing difficulties in getting the proper photographs. The perception created in the photo-shopped images is that the area designated was not suitable for building. In effect, Stone concealed the truth because he was bowing to the pressures from the editor to submit relevant images.


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2. Over the course of their work, journalists are often encountering a dilemma as whether to act in the right way or bow to external pressures. Stone fabricated the photographs to impress the editor, but this lead to the misrepresentation of the situation. However, the element of truth in reporting cannot be overemphasized. Stone still had the opportunity to reveal the truth about the way in which he got the photos, despite the fact that they had been already presented to the editor.

3. Regardless of the extreme pressure a journalist is working under, there is no justification for relying on false information. Desperation is not an excuse for a journalist to create stories (Harcup, 2009). Even though the journalist’s intentions were good in terms of safeguarding the designated area, there was no excuse to use lies to achieve that objective. Stone should not have used photo-shop to process the images in the first place; therefore, the reliance on the same photos is a continuation of a mistake.

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4. The fact that the photo-shopped images depicted the reality closely is by no means a reason for their procurement and usage. Stone had good intentions, but used wrong methods of achieving them. Nevertheless, these objectives cannot justify misreporting, as this equals to a breach of duty. The respect for journalism lies not in making appealing reports, but in the truthfulness of them.

5. Under UAE law, the professional code of ethics prescribes truthful reporting. In the code, ethical standards of truthful reporting, independence, and accountability are emphasized as a means of protecting the public from misleading information. The case of Stone is in contravention of the law and will attract penal sanctions. The punitive provisions of the law serve as deterrence to possible violations.

Case Study Assessment 3

1. Copyright law protects rights-holders’ intellectual property from being used by any non-authorized parties (Bently & Sherman, 2014). A contravention of this law attracts an action under copyright law. The UAE has elaborate provisions on this particular law that are designed to enhance the protection of intellectual property rights. In this case study, Sakshi Advertising is the rights holder, as defined in the preamble to the Act. He claims the rights under intellectual property and may cause a suit to commence against the violator.

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2. In this case study, the matter concerns a violation of the right on intellectual property of the Sakshi Advertising by Jumbo Electronics and Sony ME. Under this head, the company will be suing for infringement of the audio-visual work that was designed to go into advertisement.

3. Under the UAE Copyright Law, a rights holder has a perpetual an inalienable right to publish for the first time, the right of integrity, and the right to withdraw from circulation any intellectual property material if a law allows it (2002). The UAE Copyright Law grants perpetual existence of intellectual property rights. Impliedly, the intellectual property rights are never extinguished upon the demise of the rights holder. It would appear that such rights can be transferrable, to allow for perpetual succession by virtue of Section 5 of the Copyright Act.

4. In the case, for Jumbo Electronics and Sony ME cannot use the audio-visual material before the rights of the beholder are extinguished. Since the intellectual property rights only cease upon the demise of the holder, the two companies cannot use the audio-visual without attracting legal action. The two companies must wait for the demise of the Sakshi Advertising rights holders, or obtain permission to use the material from the rights holders (Bently & Sherman, 2014).

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