Ethics, Media and Criminal Justice



Ethics, Media and Criminal Justice

There is a common belief among the society of professional journalism who mostly make up the media that public enlightenment is key to justice and the basis for democracy. Ethical journalism is therefore important and it strives to ensure freedom and fairness in exchange of information accurately. The will of the society and the integrity as well as privacy matters of any piece of information should be considered when developing a policy regarding reporting of criminal justice issues and news by the media. The whole thing can be founded on the basis of four principles that an ethical society of journalism should employ in their practices (Christians et al, 2015).
A good policy regarding reporting of criminal justice issues need to be specific on truth; the media should seek the truth and report it only. The participants in the process of collection and reporting should be accurate and fair, honest and courageous to gather, report and interpret the information. This should be a responsibility to them. They should be able to give the context of the occurrence which is reinforced by use of primary sources.
The second guiding principle is the media should seek to minimize harm during their reporting. Every human being no matter a suspect or a criminal deserves respect and the utmost degree of privacy. For this reason the media is bound to balancing the need of information to the public in a way that keeps personal integrity. Pursuit of the news should not be a license to arrogance or undue intrusiveness (Christians et al, 2015). In the same note, the media should ensure sensitivity on matters regarding juveniles, victims of sex crimes as well as inexperienced subjects who are unable to give consent. It is a mandate to the media to balance the right of the suspect to fair trial with the right of the public to know this by considering the effects of identifying one as a criminal suspect before facing legal charges as well as the long term effects of publicizing the person.
The final principle to consider is the independency of the media. Ethical journalists should act independently according to their soul obligation of informing the society. In this line, the media should avoid conflicts of interest. Media should also have stand that cannot be changed by political lures in order to ensure integrity and impartiality in their duty otherwise they will compromise their credibility. Accountability is mandatory and thus the media should be ready to respond to any questions about accuracy, clarity and fairness. This therefore will make a complete policy that governs the activities of the media in reporting issues and news regarding criminal justice.
According to Barnes (2015), political bias has been a phenomenon of consideration when it comes to the practice of the media as far as reporting of news about criminal justice systems is concerned. Actually, the discussion of the relationship between African Americans and the criminal justice system often grind to halt as people slink down into their silos and arm themselves with their best rhetorical weapons — racial bias on one side and statistics in which minorities, specifically blacks, are overrepresented as criminals on the other. Due to the profiling of the blacks in united states, policies are also prone to bias in that some members of the public are perceived to be more punitive compared to others. These policies are therefore formulated as if they adhere to all ethical issues as it pertains criminal justice but the implementation of the policies brings in the issues of biasness.
It is therefore true to say that there is basically greater levels of inequalities in the basic functioning of the criminal justice system. This includes police practices, arrest and prosecution policies, forceful and aggressive policing, the severity of criminal sentences, and the effect many of these policies have on communities of color. Little wonder there is a strong comment within people of color that the criminal justice system is inherently rigged against them and that the institutions is just designed to protect them are failing them, or even worse, targeting them.
It is from the basis of the importance of ethical policing regarding media and criminal justice systems and information, and the examination of the bias policy on the same that we are able to give a foundation for an accurate and ethical reporting of news about the criminal justice system. As mentioned up in the paper, an ethical journalism society is the one that respects confidentiality and privacy of personalities. In the same note, a bias policy will not give any regards to the same phenomena and hence the best way of reporting news on criminal justices system is the one that does not allow such discrimination, Cole et al (2015) argues. This goes hand in hand with the principle independence that advocates for avoidance of political interference. Ethical reporting therefore should respect personalities, ensure accuracy and fairness by as true as possible and should avoid political bias.

Barnes, M. L. (2015). Foreword: Criminal Justice for Those (Still) at the Margins—Addressing Hidden Forms of Bias and the Politics of Which Lives Matter. UC Irvine Law Review, 5(4), 711.
Christians, C. G., Fackler, M., Richardson, K., Kreshel, P., & Woods, R. H. (2015). Media ethics: Cases and moral reasoning. Routledge.
Cole, G., Smith, C., & DeJong, C. (2015). The American system of criminal justice. Nelson Education.

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