NAME: Alice Croal
COURSE: English and Journalism
MODULE: Media Regulation and Ethics
ASSIGNMENT TITLE: Media Ethics and the Treatment of Minors
The most controversial of all subjects in the media is minors. The ethical issue here is that when there is a hard news story a journalist can claim the right to freedom of speech. However, is it truly ethical to print information about a child involved in a murder trial or similar scenario? Generally the public are most interested in controversial cases involving children, such as children involved in sex crimes and serious crime incidents where children have been involved as victims of, or witnesses to, serious criminal conduct. In each of these foregoing categories, the story which the broadcaster or editor/journalist is invariably interested in is the one with the greatest degree of personal information. The names of the young persons, their addresses, the schools they attend, etc. are sought after to give a ‘human interest’ element to engage the reader or viewer. Although it can be argued that the public have a right to know this information and that the journalist can claim freedom of speech as their right to publishing information about a child, is it right to affect the rest of the child’s life with the story?