In March 2003, President Bush declared the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom, the anticipated commencement of intensive American-led military operations in Iraq. With this declaration, the media began intense coverage of military operations from the field. For the first time, viewers were able to see images of actual events. This was due to three developments: the advancement of technology allowing immediate transmission of text and images, the actual presence of journalists identified as "embedded journalists" at military sites, and the fierce (...) competition among networks for viewers. One result of this constant coverage was significant pressure on decision makers within the television and cable news networks to decide within a matter of seconds which images to air. In particular, producers and broadcasters of competing networks experienced this pressure. Though the radio and broadcasting industry has a published code of standards, it is "general and advisory rather than specific and restrictive." Therefore, it did not address the unique time sensitive decision-making required within this new environment. Issues such as the security of soldiers, confidentiality of troop maneuvers, and the safety of the embedded journalists were critically important. Equally serious were the concerns about the impact of the immediate airing of information and violent images to the public. This research used Patrick Primeaux's ' mind-heart-sou¾ model of decision-making as its theoretical framework. The study investigated the gender and industry experience of selected professionals in a cable news network, MSNBC, to explore how ethical codes of behavior are integrated when people make decisions. Decision-making in both their professional and personal lives was examined. It is from this perspective that their professional decisions to air/not to air material from Operation Iraqi Freedom were studied. The findings on decisions about airing/not airing material from Operation Iraqi Freedom yielded both expected and unexpected results. There was no clear gender difference regarding ethical decision-making, but there was a difference when analyzed by industry experience. When the study focused on questions regarding the respondents' personal lives, the original hypothesis that there was a gender difference was validated. (shrink)
Discussions of conflict of interest (COI) in the university have tended to focus on financial interests in the context of medical research; much less attention has been given to COI in general or to the policies that seek to manage COI. Are university COI policies accessible and understandable? To whom are these policies addressed (faculty, staff, students)? Is COI clearly defined in these policies and are procedures laid out for avoiding or remedying such situations? To begin tackling these important ethical (...) and governance questions, our study examines the COI policies at the Group of Thirteen (G13) leading Canadian research universities. Using automated readability analysis tools and an ethical content analysis, we begin the task of comparing the strengths and weaknesses of these documents, paying particular attention to their clarity, readability, and utility in explaining and managing COI. (shrink)
This paper considers whether individual companies have an ethical obligation to label their Genetically Modified (GM) foods. GM foods and ingredients pervade grocery store shelves, despite the fact that a majority of North Americans have worries about eating those products. The market as whole has largely failed to respond to consumer preference in this regard, as have North American governments. A number of consumer groups, NGO’s, and activist organizations have urged corporations to label their GM products. This paper asks whether, (...) in such a situation, individual corporations can be ethically required to take such unilateral action. We argue that they cannot. Given the lack of solid evidence for any risk to human health, and the serious market disadvantage almost surely associated with costly unilateral action, no individual company has an ethical obligation to label its GM foods. (shrink)
In this paper, we examine critically the notion of “Triple Bottom Line” accounting. We begin by asking just what it is that supporters of the Triple Bottom Line idea advocate, and attempt to distil specific, assessable claims from the vague, diverse, and sometimescontradictory uses of the Triple Bottom Line rhetoric. We then use these claims as a basis upon which to argue (a) that what issound about the idea of a Triple Bottom Line is not novel, and (b) that what (...) is novel about the idea is not sound. We argue on bothconceptual and practical grounds that the Triple Bottom Line is an unhelpful addition to current discussions of corporate social responsibility. Finally, we argue that the Triple Bottom Line paradigm cannot be rescued simply by attenuating its claims: the rhetoric isbadly misleading, and may in fact provide a smokescreen behind which firms can avoid truly effective social and environmental reporting and performance. (shrink)
In this paper, I explore briefly the "secular priesthood" metaphor often applied to bioethicists. I next ask: if, despite our discomfort with the metaphor, we were to embrace the best aspects of the priesthood(s) ? which I identify as the missionaries' willingness to work among sinners and lepers, at their own peril ? would we be able to live up to that standard of bravery? I then draw a parallel with the fears of contagion currently be voiced (by Carl Elliott (...) and others), with regard to bioethicists working in or near corporate settings. I argue that such fears may themselves have a number of deleterious effects, and I suggest several possible positive steps in response to that fear. (shrink)
This paper looks at conflicts of interest in the not-for-profit sector. It examines the nature of conflicts of interest and why they are of ethical concern, and then focuses on the way not-for-profit organisations are especially prone to and vulnerable to conflict-of-interest scandals. Conflicts of interest corrode trust; and stakeholder trust (particularly from donors) is the lifeblood of most charities. We focus on some specific challenges faced by charitable organisations providing funding for scientific (usually medical) research, and examine a case (...) study involving such an organisation. One of the principal problems for charities of this kind is that they often distribute their funds within a relatively small research community (defined by the boundaries of a small region, like an American state or Spanish Autonomous region, or a small country), and it often proves difficult to find high-level researchers within the jurisdiction to adjudicate impartially the research grants. We suggest and recommend options appropriate for our case study and for many other organisations in similar situations. (shrink)
Genetic testing in the workplace is a technology both full of promise and fraught with ethical peril. Though not yet common, it is likely to become increasingly so. We survey the key arguments in favour of such testing, along with the most significant ethical worries. We further propose a set of pragmatic criteria, which, if met, would make it permissible for employers to offer (but not to require) workplace genetic testing.