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Ethics in Mass Communication

Mass communication is a form of communication where the message is delivered to masses. To follow a code of conduct and self-regulation becomes imperative in mass communication because the sender of the message is most likely to be physically separated and detached from a large number of receivers.

Thus, the sender is practically unaware about the identities of the receivers. Despite this, the sender must bear the accountability of the effects of the message being delivered. This accountability has to be pro-active and not reactive. For example, a news channel should not say that if I violate the code of conduct then I am ready to pay fine but not ready to stop the violation. Here, I acknowledge that mass communication has different forms, but I will limit myself to a few news channels on television.

Recently, I have felt infuriated to see the ethics of mass communication being thrown to bonfire by the television news channels. To report a strange incident of a Baba in Haridwar, one news channel used the words that "Baba logon ko bewakoof bana raha hai" which translates to English as "Baba is fooling the public". If it is true, then the statements should come from the people who feel victimized. In the name of representing the voices of the people, the news channel is airing its views. Should not the news reader articulate before speaking that such statements may hurt a section of population?

Even more sadly, one reporter asks a victim of the "Blade gang" in New Delhi that "How did he hit you?" and there is no compassion in his voice. Is there a cost to talk with compassion? Are they not trained by their organizations if they are not trained at their homes? I say this because I believe, compassion cannot be taught rather it is developed within families.

All the people who go in the mass communication sector are mostly educated and civilized. It is not at all expected from such people that they set such wrong examples. There are many similar incidents which cannot be mentioned considering the limitations of time. It is high time that all these 'educated' and 'intellectual creme' people in this sector come together and set policies of self-regulation and respective penalties in the most formal way.


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