Compare and Contrast Codes of Ethics
November 5, 2012
The codes of ethics for journalists, broadcasters, advertising industry professionals and public relations professionals are related in that they outline the accepted behavior of media professionals. However, apart from that, each group has its own issues and concerns unique to the branch of the media they work in. And these guidelines are more like suggestions in that they cannot be legally enforced. The First Amendment guarantees freedom for media professionals to stray from the suggestions in each code and they often do.
The Society of Professional Journalists code of ethics is the most comprehensive and detailed of ...view middle of the document...
But the question that I have is what happens if the client’s best interest is at odds with the public’s and they must misinform the public in order to protect the client? In most case, I’m sure the public relations professional would side with the client to ensure their job security.
The advertising code of ethics brought to mind the same issues as the PRSA code because advertising is probably more dependent on misinformation than public relations. Every day we are inundated with advertising that is trying to shape our opinion on a certain product or service. Most of the time, they are unrealistic depictions that are meant to make us desire something we don’t really need. Just looking around my apartment, I can see 20 or so forms of advertising in the form of junk mail, spam email, television commercials playing in the background and pop up ads as I’m writing this paper. The food on the flyers that came in the mail today looks delicious but I guarantee if I actually took the coupon to Burger King and ordered the meal, it would look nothing like the picture. The pop up ads are telling me that I can make $250,000 a year working from home. But most likely, if I were to sign up and start working from home, I would not make nearly that much. With advertising, the truth is mostly in the fine print. The problem is that most people don’t bother to read the fine print. And advertisers make it as difficult as possible to read it or listen to it. How can there be a code of ethics for an industry that thrives on exaggerated claims and, sometimes, outright lies?
The broadcaster’s code of ethics was the most laughable of them all. It mentioned the fact that the airways belong to the people and therefore broadcasters should keep the public’s best interest in mind at all times. The code says broadcasters should stay away from depictions of violence and sex. But if you flip through each of the major networks on any night of the week, you will see instances of violence and sex even at 8:00 pm. Broadcasters are in the business to
make money and if...