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» The Ornery American Forum » General Comments » Media Accreditation and Professional Obligations: Hippocratic type oath?

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Author Topic: Media Accreditation and Professional Obligations: Hippocratic type oath?
Ben
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Given the recent fuss over media personalities being involved in politics and journalism, I thought I'd check around a bit and see what there was on professional standards, accreditation, or expectations and all the rest. Came across this this article from last year, with a proposed Hippocratic type oath for media managers. A bit long winded but figured I'd share here.

quote:
A Hippocratic Oath for Managers

As a manager, I serve as society's fiduciary for one of its most important institutions: enterprises that bring people and resources together to create valued products and services that no single individual could produce alone. My purpose is to serve the public's interest by enhancing the value my enterprise creates for society. Sustainable value is created when the enterprise produces an economic, social, and environmental output that is measurably greater than the opportunity cost of all the inputs it consumes. In fulfilling my role:

I recognize that any enterprise is at the nexus of many different constituencies, whose interests can sometimes diverge. While balancing and reconciling these interests, I will seek a course that enhances the value my enterprise can create for society over the long term. This may not always mean growing or preserving the enterprise and may include such painful actions as its restructuring, discontinuation, or sale, if these actions preserve or increase value.

I pledge that considerations of personal benefit will never supersede the interests of the enterprise I am entrusted to manage. The pursuit of self-interest is the vital engine of a capitalist economy, but unbridled greed can be just as harmful. Therefore, I will guard against decisions and behavior that advance my own narrow ambitions but harm the enterprise I manage and the societies it serves.

I promise to understand and uphold, both in letter and in spirit, the laws and contracts governing my own conduct, that of my enterprise, and that of the societies in which it operates. My personal behavior will be an example of integrity, consistent with the values I publicly espouse. I will be equally vigilant in ensuring the integrity of others around me and bring to attention the actions of others that represent violations of this shared professional code.

I vow to represent my enterprise's performance accurately and transparently to all relevant parties, ensuring that investors, consumers, and the public at large can make well-informed decisions. I will aim to help people understand how decisions that affect them are made, so that choices do not appear arbitrary or biased.

I will not permit considerations of race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, nationality, party politics, or social status to influence my choices. I will endeavor to protect the interests of those who may not have power, but whose well-being is contingent on my decisions.

I will manage my enterprise by diligently, mindfully, and conscientiously applying judgment based on the best knowledge available. I will consult colleagues and others who can help inform my judgment and will continually invest in staying abreast of the evolving knowledge in the field, always remaining open to innovation. I will do my utmost to develop myself and the next generation of managers so that the profession continues to grow and contribute to the well-being of society.

I recognize that my stature and privileges as a professional stem from the honor and trust that the profession as a whole enjoys, and I accept my responsibility for embodying, protecting, and developing the standards of the management profession, so as to enhance that respect and honor.

There's also references to ethics and such, some variation of this article and that article along with all the various media outlets own listed ethics standards. But there isn't really any single unifying standard that I can see, with some type of identifying or enforcing organization or mechanism to hold to the standard or be excluded. I like the SPJ website with its code of ethics, but it still doesn't have any enforcing or identifying mechanism by which one can assess how well a journalist meets these criteria, given its disclaimer that it is not legally enforceable under the first amendment.

Then there's the increasingly blurred line between journalists, writers, bloggers, newscasters, anchors, pundits, and all these other media personalities and their roles, as well as citizen journalists. Which leads me to consider what the difference is between speech and the press (and other categories) in practical terms?

So thought I'd ask for your two cents (or whatever it is now given inflation) and see how y'all define these terms. My working definition generally is that speech is between individuals or groups expressed at that moment, and the press is generally published by whatever media (whether hard copy, broadcast, or otherwise). Journalists report facts neutrally on behalf of the public, after checking them to the best of their ability.

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The Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics (http://www.spj.org/ethicscode.asp) would seem sufficient. For fun, watch a news broadcast and see how many are broken.
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TheRallanator
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Not to mention that there are a wealth of laws (and not just ye olde libel and slander laws) and government regulations that the press already has to abide by in most western countries. There's a good reason why the likes of Limbaugh and Beck are so quick to stress that they're not actually journalists.
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