The Ethical Journalism Network has released “Untold Stories: How Corruption and Conflicts of Interest Stalk the Newsroom”, a report that covers 18 countries and exposes how financially-stricken news media are being overwhelmed by political and corporate forces.
The report finds that in countries both rich and poor, there are ‘dark arts’ at work in newsrooms: media managers are doing deals with advertisers to carry paid-for material disguised as honest news; reporters and editors accept bribes and irregular payments; and a culture of dependence on political and corporate friends makes it increasingly difficult to separate journalism from propaganda and impartial reporting from public relations.
Although the report notes that the major threats come from outside media, with governments, unscrupulous politicians and corporate communicators increasingly shaping the news agenda and taking advantage of newsrooms weakened by cuts and restructuring of the media economy, it also highlights how many wounds are also self-inflicted. It notes that many of today’s media owners do not buy into journalism for commercial reasons, but mostly to promote their own business and political agenda.
The survey concludes that a toxic mix of political and business pressures are leading to systematic disregard of ethical journalism principles, and includes a series of recommendations for authorities and media professionals necessary to promote ethical journalism and information in the public interest.
Source: White, Aidan (editor): “Untold Stories: How Corruption and Conflicts of Interest Stalk the Newsroom”, Ethical Journalism Network 2015