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Sean Dodson

on 18 October 2014

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Rebooting journalistic codes of ethics for the age of the internet

Sean Dodson, Leeds Beckett University @seandodson
Journalism has been transformed by the internet in almost every way except its
.To test this hypothesis I examined the ethical codes that govern journalistic behaviour in Europe.
* Analysed 50 codes, spanning 41 countri*s from across Europe.
* Europe defined by Council of Europe
* Recorded all references to
* Discovered scant evidence that such technologies are covered by existing codes

In other words, the methods of contemporary journalism are undergoing change, but the universal codes used to guide it remain fixed in the 20th century.

The Evidence

The Dutch code states how journalists must take care on how and what they link to on the internet.
Clause 2.2.6
, for instance, advises that journalist should only publish (or hyperlink to) confidential reports if they have “sufficient news value” or if it serves a general (ie public) interest and does not “constitute a disproportionate danger to persons”.
Clause 2.2.7
goes further, recommending that journalists are responsible for material they link to, but they must “consider whether the interest served by including a hyperlink in the publication outweighs the interests that are potentially [damaging].”

Useful codes provide a PR function, showing that mass media have articulated standards by which outsiders can judge the performance of practitioners ... Define minimal expectations of
moral activity
, the ideal standards of conduct and accepted conventions of behaviour ... codes also hint as

Journal of Mass Media Ethics, Chris Roberts

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