David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Journal of Mass Media Ethics 19 (2):86 – 107 (2004)
Media organizations are simultaneously key elements of an effective democracy and, for the most part, commercial entities seeking success in the market. They play an essential role in the formation of public opinion and the influence on personal choices. Yet most of them are commercial enterprises seeking readers or viewers, advertising, favorable regulatory decisions for their media, and other assets. This creates some intrinsic difficulties and produces some sharp tensions within media ethics. In this article, we examine such tensions - in theory and practice. We then consider the feasibility of introducing an ethics regime to the media industry - a regime that would be effective in a deregulated environment in protecting public interest and social responsibility. In the article, we also outline a rationale and a methodology for the institutionalization of an acceptable and workable media ethics regime that aims to protect the integrity of the industry in a future of undoubtedly increasing commercial pressure.
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