No freedom without ethics
BY SAHAR MAJID
This Press Freedom Day, I don’t want to write about the issues journalists face when it comes to freedom of speech. I would like to highlight the way they sometimes misuse their power as a journalists.
Journalism is the fourth pillar of a nation and if used for the betterment of people, it can absolutely bring positive changes in society. But when this power is misused, it brings a bad name to the profession and to all those who belong to this field.
Blackmailing and intruding into personal matters is not what journalists are supposed to do. Journalists are responsible for creating awareness — awareness about the issues people face, such as corruption both in the government and private sector. Journalists are also supposed to propose solutions to problems.
But journalism is not meant for ruining a person’s image for having love affairs (usually extramarital). It is not meant for publicizing pictures of celebrities with their girlfriends/boyfriends without their permission — and then downloading them on news websites that want to gain more traffic.
From politicians’ love affairs, to movie stars’ love affairs, make-ups and breakups, from analyzing celebrities sexual preferences to judging them as gay (if they aren’t married) — this is something that badly ruins the reputation of this prestigious profession.
It’s an irony that serious journalists, too, are involved in this practice as well as those who work for tabloid newspapers and websites.
Public figures, too, are humans. They, too, have personal lives. Being a celebrity doesn’t mean that they should be deprived of their privacy.
As responsible journalists, we must not misuse our power.
Ethics are important, both in personal and professional lives. Our foremost duty as a human being is to try to improve ourselves.
If we become successful in becoming a good human, we can definitely become a good professional or a good journalist.
Last but not least, a good and successful journalist doesn’t need to be cheap.
Quality journalism is far above dealing and analyzing public figures’ personal lives.