Media ethics deals with specific ethical principles and standards of media, including broadcast media, film, theatre, the arts, print media and the internet. Media, being the fourth pillar of democracy has a major role in maintaining acceptable practices in society.
Significance of responsible media during crisis
- Reduce panic
During crisis there are high chances that people get tensed due to the situation and tend to overreact. In this period the media must make efforts to spread the right information and ensure that public do not panic. They must try to arrest the unrest that may be created.
Ex: During a disaster crisis unnecessary rumours are spread that a larger disaster is going to occur, which triggers a large movement of people from urban to rural area. The media acts responsibly to arrest the spread of misinformation.
- Spreading information and instructions
The government actions and policies reach maximum people if media is able to spread them widely across the country. Important issues must reach most of the citizens so that rumour mongering and hate do not spread among people and government’s work becomes relatively easy.
Ex: During the current lockdown due to CIVID-19 pandemic, the media spreads instructions to how to take care of our health and avoid infection.
- Address citizen’s problems
Media must also act as representative of citizens and relay problems to the government so that appropriate action is taken to address the issue. This will see to it that small problems of common citizens are not ignored during the national crisis.
Ex: During lockdown the media highlights the plight of people in inaccessible areas unable to buy necessary commodities due to imposition of prohibitory order.
Thus, media ethics is not only a legal responsibility but also a moral act that makes media a more significant and important part of our democratic system