In the last months the world erupted in indignation because of two outrageous events that shows a dark, hidden side of journalism on Media coverage, cause to a humiliated treatment that two journalists have infringed to refugees, taking advantage of their extreme vulnerable situation of despair and pain.
In a refugee camp in Lebanon, Egyptian reporter Riham Said humiliates refugees describing them as “uncivilized people ” that “they´ve lost their traditions and moral“.A second reporter the Hungarian Petra László gives also an outrageous treatment to refugees by tripping up a father holding his son at the border hotspot of Röszke. By the contrary to the first one, Hungarian reporter has been fired immediately, on a correct exercise of ethical professional standards.
In the last 60 years Media has achieved an incommensurable power; more than giving information it has become a controller and filter of information, making politics and international relationships a tool of their business. It transforms itself from a “service deliver” of information to a profitable and powerful business by the abusive use of double standards, able to exaggerate a simple fact or to minimize or hid an important revolutionary one if it do not enter in their own selfish interests.
Even if it sounds idealistic: Media could only be guided by principles of transparency and submitted to accountability and control from the “owners of the news”, in general victims of tragic situations converted in real characters in this stage of Media circus. A total infringement of their dignity without a strong defence, manipulated by irresponsible journalists and making be perceived by the society as “objects of a drama- show”
Currently those victims have small chances to get effective reparation from Justice as it all goes below the “big umbrella” of freedom of expression. Because of Internet, the condemn of public opinion has certain influence, but unfortunately is not enough and do not prevent for more manipulation and the growing ignorance towards sensible and important matters in which human dignity is on play.
The need to develop an active, practical and tangible ethical standard´s system is imperative to build a reliable, transparent and accountable Media. Is not just about delivering news, but also about raise awareness and be responsible of the reliability of the message sent. Is precisely in this point that this chaos occurs, the lack of mechanisms of control. Creating this feeling of “anything goes” there are hampering a serious and crucial task of make a global world more and better connected and solidary to a one manipulated by biased, inaccurate information. Is it quite clear that when Media becomes a business, interests will be always behind the news and more than ever it should be accompanied by a truly system of control. The answer relies on the constitution of Ad Hoc Tribunals on Ethical Media, in which journalists could be judged by their peers, on their professional behaviour when using the power of this source for purposes beyond the strict fulfilment of delivering information, hence the flagrant assault to human dignity. As well as fulfil a mission of prevention for future situations and get a set of precedents able to proceed with swiftness in each case and reduce the harmful impact of that behaviour.
Power should always grow in direct proportionality to control; on the last decades Media has achieved the power of reaching and convincing mass people around the world but without a framework that could control and assure the transparency of its messages. This tacit pact of trust that the citizenship gives to Media to be informed gets broken and subjectivity spreads. Is in that sense that we could use the extraordinary impact of Media TV and Internet to make these attitudes be judged objectively. Current times of Internet journalism, makes ethical standards more demanding with a real need of more control and more exposure of those professionals that fails on separate their own ideologies to their professional work. The expectation of a simple citizen is to get information accurate and transparent without subjective declarations and/or personal actions.
At the end, the final goal of Media should be to boost human dignity by spreading information that makes the whole international community positioning in favour or against a message in a few seconds. This extraordinary power could rescue or sink victims of tragedies, which is a strong reason to be cautious and accurate in the information given and especially regarding the in-depth message behind the news.
By making Media ethical standards active & effective we bring dynamism and reliability with one of the most powerful sources of struggling against any attempt of undermining human dignity, hence it become a solid tool for growth and development.
*Picture: Sculpture of marble camera video. Ai Weiwei