Believe it or not, it’s World Press Freedom Day! It might not be one of the most well publicized celebration or awareness raising days, with the absence of it’s own quirky Google logo…but nonetheless it’s a hugely important reminder of the role of freedom and independence in the press for democracy.
This year is a particularly notable one for remembering the importance of freedom in the press, only yesterday did The Office for Fair Trading rule that Rupert Murdoch’s price cutting strategies should be stopped. News of the World journalists were condemned for their malpractices, compromising fairness and ethics in the British press. Changes that have taken place throughout the Arab Spring have also shone light on the immense role in openness and freedom, played by journalism, as regime changes see Middle Eastern reporters approaching newspaper editors with stories that they once would not have dared.
So in light of these events and scandals, it is necessary as an aspiring journalist to consider not only how to become a journalist but how to become a good journalist. In Chris Frost’s book: Journalism Ethics and Regulation, he identifies that a journalist must make a moral decision whether to be loyal to their newspaper by sensationalising stories, making it more marketable, or, loyal to the reader by providing truth and accuracy. Frost argues that a good journalist, attributes technical skill with moral judgement. As morals and ethics are subjective and differ according to each individual, the qualities of a good journalist are personal, yet the recent mistakes made by others certainly highlight how bad decisions with negative outcomes can be made.