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General Studies 4 >> Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude

CODE OF ETHICS FOR MEDIA 

CODE OF ETHICS FOR MEDIA 

Source: The Indian Express 

Context 

The 47TH AIBD Annual Gathering/ 20th AIBD General Conference and Associated Meeting were held in New Delhi.

Key points

  • The meeting Focus on the topic of "Building a Stronger Future of Broadcasting in a Post-Pandemic era"
  • A five-year plan for cooperative activities and exchange programmes was also finalised.
  • All the participating countries and member broadcasters pledged to work together for a sustainable broadcasting environment, the latest technological know-how, the finest content creation, and various cooperative activities.

What is AIBD

  • The Asia-Pacific Institute for Broadcasting Development (AIBD) was established in August 1977 under the auspices of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).
  • It is a unique regional inter-governmental organisation servicing countries of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UN-ESCAP) in the field of electronic media development.
  • It is hosted by the Government of Malaysia and the Secretariat is located in Kuala Lumpur.

Founding organisations

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) are the founding organisations of the Institute and they are non-voting members of the General Conference.
 
Member countries 
  • Full membership of the AIBD is confined to sovereign states and they are invited to designate the Country's broadcasting authority to be the beneficiary.
  • The AIBD currently has 26 Full Members (Countries), represented by 43 organisations and 50 Affiliate Members (organisations) With a total membership of 93 representing 46 countries and regions and over 50 partners in Asia, Pacific, Europe, Africa, Arab States and North America.
Vision 
To achieve a vibrant and cohesive electronic media environment in the Asia-Pacific region through policy and resource development.
 
Mission
AIBD aims to innovate and inspire media growth by providing the best tools available in the industry and introducing the latest trends which set the benchmark for excellence in the Asia Pacific region.
 
Objective
The strategic plan of the AIBD calls upon the Institue to play a more assertive role for the benefit of its present and future members by serving as the regional platform to encourage dialogue and cooperation in the electronic media and the policy of the Asia-Pacific region, taking full account of emerging current and global, regional and national issues.
 

Current situation of media 

  • The news channels run the risk of losing credibility by inviting guests who are "polarising" and "spreading false narratives" and the mainstream channels are the "biggest threat" to the mainstream media.
  • Real Journalism involves reporting the news without fabrication and giving a platform to " all sides to present their views".
  • There is a need to preserve professionalism instead of compromising values in the face of fierce competition.
  • Journalists are duty-bound to report the news without fabrication, despite temptations to compete with those who propagate false news.

Code of Ethics for Media

The Society of Professional Journalist's Code of Ethics as mentioned on standford.edu enjoins journalists to 

Seek Truth and Report It

This will involve fact-checking, not intentionally distorting information, identifying sources, avoiding stereotypes and supporting the open exchange of opinions.

Minimize Harm 

This includes demonstrating compassion for sources and subjects of stories and protecting the privacy of individuals.
Interestingly, the code makes no prohibition to interfere with national security.

Act Independently

This includes avoiding conflicts of interest and corruption and resisting the attempts of advertisers and special interest groups to influence the news.

Be Accountable

This includes correcting mistakes, inviting criticism and exposing unethical practices of media.
 

Code of Ethics of Digital Media

The Digital News Publishers Association has voluntarily drawn up a Code of Ethics for its members as outlined below, which demonstrates their commitment to responsible digital publishing even as it, protects our 19 (1) (a) and other Constitutionally mandated freedoms, Keeps under review and scrutinizes any developments likely to restrict the gathering and dissemination of news and current affairs or any other content.
 
The object of this code is to outline high standards, ethics and practices in digital news publishing and does not constitute any attempt to involve itself in the day-to-day operations of the publishers who have complete editorial and content independence.
 
The basic precepts of the Code of Ethics are to maintain the standards of digital publishing as well as protect and maintain the independence of Journalists, content entities and publishers.

1.  Media laws 

Digital news websites follow the laws of the land including the Constitution of India, the over 30 laws relating to the media, relevant provisions of IPC,  CrPC as well as the Information Technology Act, 2000, where applicable.

2. Ethics and codes 

They also diligently adhere to accepted norms of journalistic ethics and practices and maintain the highest standards of professional conduct.
There are several layers of these self-regulatory ethics and codes including as outlined by specific entities as well as the rigorous process in newsrooms at the level of journalists and editors.

3. Accuracy, Transparency & Fairness

Members should eschew the publication of inaccurate, baseless or distorted material.
Pre-Publication verification should be mandatory.
Defamation should be avoided.
Adherence to applicable laws and rules is necessary.

4. Right of reply

News reports and articles should incorporate comments or versions of the person or party in respect of whom allegations are carried.
If not carried, if received later, the person or party's response will be incorporated.

5. Take down, delete or edit 

If a news report or article is found to contain false or inaccurate information, then on approach by the concerned person or party, providing correct information, identifying himself or herself and providing required documents or material, the portion of the news report or article should be edited or deleted.
If an entire news report is found to contain false, inaccurate information, the entire article should be deleted.


6. Respect Intellectual Property Rights

7. Care to be taken for reporting sensational matters and crime.

The presumption of innocence must be preserved.
Comments and speculation on evidence, witness and witness conduct, accused and victim and their respective conduct are to be avoided.
Such reporting should be based on facts and unbiased.
 
8.  Special care is to be taken while reporting on sexual harassment in the workplace, child abuse, rape, where accused or victims are minors, matrimonial, riots and communal disputes/ clashes, divorce and custody cases, adoption matters etc.

Care to be taken, to follow Sections 67, 67 A and 67 B of the Information Technology Act, 2000 where applicable which provides for penalties for publishing or transmitting obscene material, sexually explicit material and also material depicting children in sexually explicit acts, in electronic form.

9. Grievance Redressal  Mechanism

Members when intermediaries as defined under the Information Technology Act, 2000 follow the grievance redressal mechanism as outlined therein and are cognizant of the liabilities and safe harbour protections under Section 79 of the IT Act 2000.
Hence, as relevant, they follow the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines) Rules, 2011 including appointing a grievance officer whose contact details are displayed on the Website and who acts within 36 hours of receipt of the complaint by an affected person and redresses the complaint within one month its receipt.

10. Training and Awareness Programs

Conduct periodic training and awareness programs with editorial staff about existing laws including the Constitution of India, the Over 30 laws relating to the media like The Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, Copyright Act, Right to Information Act, relevant provisions of Indian Penal Code and CrPC, Civil and Criminal Defamation, IPR, Juvenile Justice, POCSO and Relevant provisions relating to reporting on rape and molestation, harassment in the workplace, caste or gender-related crime, domestic violence, etc.

For Prelims & Mains
 
For Prelims: Code of Media ethics, AIBD
For Mains: What is AIBD and discuss its objective (250 words)
Critically analyse the code of ethics for media 
 

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