Media Ethics (Section 09)

About this class

Studies suggest that the average Canadian spends 31 hours online and 14 hours watching TV every week.  Many of us also listen to the radio while driving, read the newspaper in the metro, and are bombarded with advertising everywhere we go. It is therefore hard to deny that the media plays a major role in our lives. But the media is hardly ethically neutral and it presents us with moral conundrums on a daily basis. Journalists struggle to balance the need for privacy with the public interest when reporting a story; Hollywood Blockbusters have raised questions about the place of sexism and consumerism in popular culture; and communities struggle with the issue of universalism versus particularism in an increasingly global era.

This course is designed to engage with these and other issues. Conceptually, it is organized into 4 sections: 1) An Introduction to Ethics, 2) The Media and its role in Creating Normative Values, 3) Ethics and the Media in the Global Era, 4) and The Media, Democracy, and a Just Society. Assignments include a reflection paper, program-related posts to be made on an educational networking site called newsactivist.com, and a position paper and formal debate about WikiLeaks.

There are no postings in your class

Student

|
Student

|
Student

|
Student

|
Student

|
Student

|
Student

|
Student

|
Student

|
6 années 8 mois ago

I would first like to commend you for writing such a thought provoking article, on an issue that is currently plaguing Canadian ethics. Furthermore, I completely respect your opinion on the fact that unless an individual is actually causing harm, they should be allowed to say what they want, when they want. And according to our current legal system, this is allowed. However, I have a problem with this ethically. Although people are entitled to their own opinions, expression of said opinions from a position of authority, such as the religious leaders you mentioned, is unmoral. From a utilitarian ethical perspective, an action is deemed ethical if it fulfills the greatest good for humanity. In this case, preaching beliefs which lack respect for other Canadians does not achieve the greatest good. It is firstly disrespectful to other religious, ethnic, or varying demographic groups and it can additionally evoke negative sentiments among the people it is being preached too. Although what they are doing is not illegal, I think that these religious leaders should look at what the message they are spreading from this ethical framework. Our countries reputation as tolerant and fair will only continue if ALL of the individuals presiding in it are willing to work together in a way that will foster respect.

6 années 8 mois ago

Great topic! You have raised very important questions and have looked at both sides of the debate. You have pointed out that our society has not come to a universal agreement concerning the morality of abortion. A moral framework that could help address this ethical dilemma is deontology. With this approach, it can be said that it is a universal rule for a woman to have the right of free choice regarding abortion. Regardless of what the outcome may be, whether a woman decides to abort or not, it is essential to give her the right to free choice. With free choice comes the idea of access. How can the universal right of free choice be fulfilled with limited access to abortion centers? Governments should grant more access to those who wish to abort. By doing this, they are not promoting the idea of abortion, although they are allowing a woman to choose what is best for her and for her life. Having a child could change a woman’s life forever and if she do not believe that she is not emotionally or financially ready for this big of a commitment, she should be able to make this decision for herself.

6 années 8 mois ago

Firstly, I would like to thank you for writing about this particular subject, which has become increasingly important in the past few years. I liked that you used counter-arguments to support your opinion. You seem to be writing from a utilitarian perspective since you invoke national security and thus emphasize the axiom: “the greatest good for the greatest number.” I would like to show that even a deontological approach could validate anti-terrorist surveillance in France most particularly (the bill was voted today, 438 for and 86 against) (Randoux). Indeed, the article XVII of The French Declaration of Man and of the Citizen from 1789 states: “Property being an inviolable and sacred right, no one can be deprived of private usage, if it is not when the public necessity, legally noted, evidently requires it, and under the condition of a just and prior indemnity” (Wikipedia). Consequently, it is in the public’s interest to be protected against potential terrorist threats. Extreme measures must then be taken in order to fight this underground war that usually passes through Internet communications. Moreover, Article XI also distresses the importance of freedom of expression (as long as it does not harm other individuals) (Wikipedia). However, this liberty is impeded by if journalists, illustrators, or anyone with a writing tool live in constant fear of expressing their opinions or thoughts. As a result, those that criticize anti-terrorist surveillance must understand what is truly at stake and which liberties have greater value: to be able to speak freely or practice one’s religion in peace or to keep one’s privacy while paradoxically posting pictures on social media and indicating one’s whereabouts.

Works Cited

Randoux, Fabrice. “Les députés français adoptent une loi controversée sur le renseignement." La Presse 5 May 2015. Web. 5 May. 2015.

Wikipedia contributors. Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 2 May. 2015. Web. 5 May. 2015.

6 années 8 mois ago

First off, you've detailed the base information of the issue very well. I'd like to add some ethical backing to your argument. Your post shows the ineffectiveness of racial profiling combined with its social harm. Above all else, we should not forget that the practice is equally reprehensible on moral grounds. For the Kantian, racial profiling uses people as a means to an end (reduced crime) instead of as the end. This is ethically impermissible. Kant's universal maxim applies to everyone, in any situation, regardless of race. A utilitarian might counter by saying that the practice is justified by moral calculation, in that a general reduction in crime from racial profiling justifies it. However, your post outlines the actual ineffectiveness of racial profiling as a crime-fighting tool. The utilitarian approach ignores justice.

6 années 8 mois ago

First off, you've detailed the base information of the issue very well. I'd like to add some ethical backing to your argument. Your post shows the ineffectiveness of racial profiling combined with its social harm. Above all else, we should not forget that the practice is equally reprehensible on moral grounds. For the Kantian, racial profiling uses people as a means to an end (reduced crime) instead of as the end. This is ethically impermissible. Kant's universal maxim applies to everyone, in any situation, regardless of race. A utilitarian might counter by saying that the practice is justified by moral calculation, in that a general reduction in crime from racial profiling justifies it. However, your post outlines the actual ineffectiveness of racial profiling as a crime-fighting tool. The utilitarian approach ignores justice.

6 années 8 mois ago

This post touches upon a very important and very timely topic facing many societies, namely the effect of budgetary pressures on government services, and in particular health services. It sparks an important debate about the priorities that society demands of its government and how various parties can influence government to act on their behalf. Everyone knows that governments face the same dilemma. They are under pressure to either reduce expenses, or be forced to raise taxes. Raising taxes will be unpopular among voters, so politicians are looking at ways to reduce spending. Theoretically, governments should support a utilitarian approach to the dilemma. They should ensure the greatest good for the greatest number of people, which is what Utilitarianism preaches. Ontario’s government (like Quebec’s) believes that by reducing spending in health, education and other services, they can lessen the burden on both today’s taxpayers as well as tomorrow’s generations of taxpayers. Everyone will benefit from this. By contrast, the Ontario Medical Association favours an approach based on ethical rationalism. It insists that the health system should be preserved and even improved at all costs. They believe that it is morally necessary to help patients, regardless of the ultimate costs to taxpayers. In the OMA’s view, the positive benefit of preserving the health budget outweighs the negative impact of increased taxation. The OMA seeks to pressure the government by convincing the general public to support its argument. If they are successful, then the government will be forced to listen to the public, who are the same taxpayers that they are trying to offer the greatest common good to. One way to resolve this dilemma is to involve taxpayers in a process which determines which expenses should be cut first. Ideally they would only agree to cut heath expenses as a last resort, because it is so important to them. Either way, this topic highlights the contrasts in moral systems that can be adopted to solve a dilemma.

6 années 8 mois ago

This is a great example that shows the enormous responsibilities police officers has and the danger they are in in their line of work. However, this particular case is far different from the cases police officers are being scrutinized for in the media. Utilitarianism is a doctrine which seeks the greatest amount of joy for the greatest amount of people and in this case, there were only two people involve. The end result which is what is most significant in this perspective is one person died. Even if the police officer felt his life was in danger and rightfully so because of the claims that the victim had about carrying a weapon, it doesn’t authorize officers to use their gun unless they had no other option left. Taking someone life in this line of work should be the last resort after expending every other resource. I do think five shots were excessive and the police officer could have aim for a non-lethal region. I think officers should carry a non-lethal weapon as well with them to use in situation like this. I do agree that the officer is not to blame, but society should learn from these mistakes and ensure that the likelihood of this reoccurring is minimal.

6 années 8 mois ago

I was not really aware that this was an issue but your post has enlightened me! My parents immigrated to Canada from Asia and had to learn French which was difficult for them. Regarding the issue, I do believe that learning the country's language is a necessity to live within it, however, I strongly disagree that it is unethical to not learn the national language.

From a teleological point of view, where the ends justifies the means, if a person manages to reach his or her goal, in this case to have a better lifestyle in a new country, it is ethical no matter how he or she does so. In essence, if one reaches a better lifestyle by any means which includes not learning the national language, then it is ethical. If one is able to attain his or her goal of better living conditions, he or she is free to do so however possible.

It can also be argued from a deontological point of view, where the means justifies the ends. Not learning a language does not violate any moral maxim. Thus, since it respects universal moral maxims, it is ethical simply to not learn the country's' language.

From my family background, I understand the value of learning the nation's language because communication and understanding is key is survival. However, it is always up to the individual. Learning is a choice. Thus, I believe that is it not unethical to not learn the language, but simply that that person will have difficulty in fulfilling his goal.

6 années 8 mois ago

Homelessness is a serious issue in Québec, Montréal is specific. Therefore, it must be addressed to the population. This well written article completes that task in an intriguing fashion. However, the issue can not and should not be addressed by an increase of monetary support for the homeless. Unfortunately, funds need to be allocated in more efficient ways such as education. Moreover, an investment in education which will combat homelessness in the long run by creating an incentive for many to stay in school. Furthermore, a more accessible education will benefit lower income families of which the homeless tend to come from. In addition, the Québec government is in a period of austerity meaning that many sectors are receiving a cut from funding. Therefore, homelessness should follow suit and receive a cut from funding since there are better ways for public money to be spent during this period of austerity. Homelessness is a serious issue; however, the cure should depend on volunteers as well as NGOs rather than at the expense of other important public sectors such as education. Such actions will allow the Quebec government to focus on goals which benefit overall more people. The fact that it will help more people in the short and long run is a main reason to put money elsewhere this cash strapped utilitarian society.

6 années 8 mois ago

I agree with you and you bring up a lot of important points as to how the portrayal of Disney princesses is unethical. Although Disney has begun to let go of the typical princess that waits around for her true love and is dependent on a man by creating new characters like Princess Merida that you mentioned as well as the two sisters from the movie Frozen that are strong and independent woman, Disney can’t seem to let go of the unrealistic body image ideals that they have been promoting for years to young girls around the world.

The most important thing you mention is that “Disney is putting these criteria on a little girls most conveyed goal; becoming a princess” and this is the ethical dilemma here because young girls look up to these princesses therefore they will conform to these standards. Furthermore, during childhood, a child’s brain learns morals, language, recognizable patterns, and social skills. When a movie is consistent with its physical indication of beauty the physical indication begins to stick with the child watching because their brain has correlated beauty with a thin waist, large breasts and flawless hair and skin. Having young girls look up to these unrealistic characters is why so many of them develop mental and physical problems in the future. This is why it is Disney’s job to change the message they’re sending out to young girls and empower them rather than make them feel like they need to conform to their unrealistic standards to be considered beautiful. Here’s a link that you can look at if you want to learn more about Disney’s history of promoting the beauty ideal with the first six princesses: https://storify.com/sternb13/the-disney-princess-effect-on-young-girls-a...

There no collaborative classes

About the author

Institution

Class Subject