VNR usage: A matter of regulation or ethics?

Journal of Mass Media Ethics 23 (3):219 – 234 (2008)
Abstract
This paper explores the use of video news releases (VNRs) without source disclosure from legal and ethical perspectives. In light of current regulatory debates regarding VNRs, the paper first examines whether journalists' use of corporate VNRs without source disclosure violates FCC regulations. It then questions the ethics of using such VNRs by examining the current code of ethics for both the public relations practitioners creating VNRs and the news organizations airing them. The paper uses the ethical construct of transparency to further examine the ethics of VNR production and exhibition without source disclosure. It finds that regardless of whether the use of VNRs without source disclosure violates current sponsorship rules, the use of such VNRs not only violates codes of ethics but also transparency, which includes values such as accountability, credibility, trust, respect, truth and honesty, reason, freedom, dignity, and duty.
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