Why Is There A Need For Responsible Journalism Today?

Responsible Journalism

Responsible journalism has been the subject of discussion among journalism students to date. As a matter of fact, during press conferences of student and campus journalists, responsible journalism is always stressed.

What is responsible journalism?

I could never imagine that people in the past, especial during the advent of printing press, there had already been an issue regarding responsible journalism. On this post, I would like to share a text on responsible journalism which I come across while reading. This text seems to be old enough that I don't know who the author was and what book it was part of. This is for educational purpose only and no copyright infringement intended.

There is an apparent if not desperate need for responsible writing today. Journalists have the terrifying power to defame or destroy a person in one sentence or paragraph. There was a time when mere speculations were simply discussed in articles but were blown into headlines. These days, leading or misleading questions are made into banner headlines. What is whispered in the coffee shops, barber shops, and beauty salons whether true or false is amplified in screaming boldprint.

Dishonest or prejudiced journalists can threaten or open to public scrutiny a man's right to his reputation, his privacy, his activities. They can slant or distort the news either by jumping into conclusions without gathering enough evidence nor examining and weighing them as to their truth or falsity, or by withholding facts they have on hand. Or they provide speculations so that the readers engage in a guessing game. Such journalists create a gap of ignorance to purposely mislead the public. Such journalists, using as excuse the exercise of freedom of the press, can wreck the institutions that make those freedoms possible. News reports composed only of half truths or written from a prejudiced point of view subtly hidden, can ruin the family, the government, the whole society.

Freedom of the press does not mean that journalists can write or the newspapers can print only what they please or only what they want the public to believe. Freedom of the press does not mean freedom to foist misrepresentation and deceit upon the readers, distort their sense of values and cater to their lower inclinations.

Precisely because many people depend on news papers an magazines for enlightenment and entertainment, journalists must write within bounds. Journalists worth their salt realize their awesome responsibilities to the public. They do not forget that their right to write comes with duties to their reading public. In this country, freedom of the press has been glorified and glamorized that journalists tend to abuse this right. What has been eclipsed in this glaring process of glamorization are the obligations of the journalists: the obligation to report the truth and not to withhold facts, to be fair, to respect privacy whenever possible, to be temperate even when angry, to criticize only when one has checked the facts.

Newspapers should make money and the journalists therefrom, why not? They need to live too. But they should not do so at the expense of justice, fair play, and truth. Since man's sacrosanct preserves are frequently placed in peril, it is tremendously important that those responsible for reporting and analyzing events and happenings should do so with utmost restraint.


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