3GJ312 Global Media Ethics

All versions:
3GJ312 (2022—2023)
3GJ312 (2021—2022)
3GJ312 (2020—2021)
3GJ312 (2019—2020)
3GJ312 (2018—2019)
3GJ312 (2017—2018)

Course code: 3GJ312

Course name: Global Media Ethics

Semester: Spring

Location: Kristiansand

Academic year: 2019–2020

Language: English

Credits: 10 ECTS Credits

Single subject: No

Required prerequisite knowledge

Admission to the MA Programme in Global Journalism

Relevance within study programme

GJ 312 Global Media Ethics is an optional course in the MA Programme in Global Journalism at NLA University College and takes place in the second semester of the programme.

Introduction

GJ 312 Global Media Ethics covers both the broader field of media ethics, which regards overall ethical and philosophical issues arising from media communication on a general level, and the more defined field of journalism ethics, which regards the question of ethics and good behaviour in professional media work.

A crosscutting theme of the course is the question of universals and differences in Global Journalism and media ethics. Major ethical frameworks will be addressed, and examples will be given of professional approaches in different societies and under different conditions. Particular attention will be given to the problem of relativism and the discussion of culturally bound models in journalism/media/communication ethics. For example, several scholars have called for a uniquely African approach to professional media practice in the African context, exemplified by an ethical framework based on the ubuntu philosophy. Others warn against tendencies of essentialism and cultural exceptionalism which they claim is a fallacy of culturally bound ethical frameworks. This will form an important discussion in the course.

Additionally, the course will entertain practical ethical issues raised by local and global media practice, including ethics related to social and new media practices.

Learning outcomes descriptors

Knowledge

The student:

  • can identify and explain major approaches to media ethics
  • can explain common concepts used in the global media ethics literature
  • has knowledge of various cultural-specific ethical frameworks

Skills

The student:

  • can discuss universal and cultural-specific aspects of media ethics and argue for a preferred approach
  • is able to consider different aspects of potentially problematic media practices using ethical reasoning

General competence

The student:

  • can assess ethical approaches to the media and journalism in a given society and between societies in global perspective

Content

Course details

GJ 312–1: Theoretical foundation

The first section of the course treats fundamental issues related to media and journalism ethics, including the problem of ethical relativism and the discussion of universals and particulars in media ethics.

GJ 312–2: Global experiences and alternative frameworks

The second section of the course discusses ethical experiences from various media societies around the world. Particular attention is given to identifying and assessing proposed cultural-specific frameworks relating to journalism and media ethics.

GJ 312–3: Current issues

The third section of the course focuses on practical ethical issues emanating from the contemporary global media situation. Main emphasis is placed on two areas: firstly, issues pertaining to digital media and citizen participation; and secondly, global crisis and conflict reporting.

Teaching and learning methods

The course is taught by means of lectures and seminars. The seminars are mainly student-led. Because several students in the programme are expected to be abroad for studies at partnership institutions during the semester when the course is offered, the exact teaching arrangement will be determined when the number of participants is settled.

Scope

250-300 hours.

Coursework requirements

Compulsory components

Lectures in GJ 312 are not compulsory, but students are encouraged to be present in order to create a fertile learning environment. The written exam and the assignment are compulsory.

Final assessment

Assessment

The assessment of GJ 312 comprises two parts:

  • 4000 word written assignment/paper (51 % of the final grade)
  • 30 minute oral exam covering issues within global media ethics (49 % of the final grade)

Permitted aids under examination

1. Written assignment: All

2. Oral exam: None

Grading, examination

Both parts shall be individual assignments and are assessed according to the standard A–F grading system. One final grade is given for the course.

Assessment language

English.

Practice

None.

Course evaluation

Annually course evaluation in accordance with the quality assurance system for NLA University College. Students may also give their feedback on the course in the student group/ in class.

Available for Course Students

No.

Syllabus

Total reading: Approx. 730 pp.

GJ 312-1: Theoretical foundation

Readings:

  • Christians, Clifford (2013) Global ethics and the problem of relativism. In Stephen J.A. Ward (ed.), Global media ethics: Problems and perspectives, 272-294. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell.
  • Christians, Clifford (2014) Primordial issues in communication ethics. In Robert S. Fortner and P. Mark Fackler (eds.), The handbook of global communication and media ethics, 1-19. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell.
  • Christians, Clifford (2014) Universalism versus communitarianism in media ethics. In Robert S. Fortner and P. Mark Fackler (eds.), The handbook of global communication and media ethics, 393-414. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell.
  • Couldry, Nick (2013) Why media ethics still matters. In Stephen J.A. Ward (ed.), Global media ethics: Problems and perspectives, 13-29. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell.
  • Ess, Charles M. (2013) Global media ethics? Issues, requirements, challenges, resolutions. In Stephen J.A. Ward (ed.), Global media ethics: Problems and perspectives, 253-271. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell.
  • Hanitzsch, Thomas, Patrick Lee Plaisance and Elizabeth A. Skewes (2013) Universals and differences in Global Journalism ethics. In Stephen J.A. Ward (ed.), Global media ethics: Problems and perspectives, 30-49. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell.
  • Lee, Philip (2014) Fragments of truth: The right to communication as a universal value. In Robert S. Fortner and P. Mark Fackler (eds.), The handbook of global communication and media ethics, 133-153. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell.
  • Rao, Shakuntala (2014) Global media ethics. In Robert S. Fortner and P. Mark Fackler (eds.), The handbook of global communication and media ethics, 154-170. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell.
  • Ward, Stephen J.A. (2014) Multidimensional objectivity for Global Journalism. In Robert S. Fortner and P. Mark Fackler (eds.), The handbook of global communication and media ethics, 215-233. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell.
  • Ward, Stephen J.A. (2010) Global Journalism ethics. Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen's University Press. (237 pp.)
  • Ward, Stephen J.A. (2013) Global media ethics: Utopian or realistic? In Stephen J.A. Ward (ed.), Global media ethics: Problems and perspectives, 295-313. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell.
  • Ward, Stephen J.A. (2013) Introduction: Media ethics as global. In Stephen J.A. Ward (ed.), Global media ethics: Problems and perspectives, 1-10. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell.
  • Wasserman, Herman (2011) Whose ethics are they, anyway? In Nathalie Hyde-Clarke (ed.), Communication and media ethics in South Africa, 9-24. Cape Town: Juta.

GJ 312-2: Global experiences and alternative frameworks

Readings:

  • Banda, Fackson (2008) Negotiating ethics in Zambia: Towards a 'glocal' ethics. In Stephen J.A. Ward and Herman Wasserman (eds.), Media ethics beyond borders: A global perspective, 124-141. Johannesburg: Heinemann.
  • Berenger, Ralph D. and Mustafa Taha (2013) Contextual ethics and Arab mass media. In Stephen J.A. Ward (ed.), Global media ethics: Problems and perspectives, 89-109. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell.
  • Fackler, P. Mark (2014) Social responsibility theory and media monopolies. In Robert S. Fortner and P. Mark Fackler (eds.), The handbook of global communication and media ethics, 98-118. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell.
  • Fourie, Pieter J. (2008) Moral philosophy as the foundation of normative media theory: Questioning African Ubuntuism as a framework. In Stephen J.A. Ward and Herman Wasserman (eds.), Media ethics beyond borders: A global perspective, 105-123. Johannesburg: Heinemann.
  • Hafez, Kai (2002) Journalism ethics revisited: A comparison of ethics codes in Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, and Muslim Asia. Political Communication 19(2): 225-250.
  • Kasoma, Francis (1996) The foundations of African ethics (Afriethics) and the professional practice of journalism: The case for society-centred media morality. Africa Media Review 10(3): 93-116.
  • Moemeka, Andrew Azukaego (1997) Communalistic societies: Community and self-respect as African values. In Clifford Christians and Michael Traber (eds.), Communication ethics and universal values, 170-193. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
  • Wasserman, Herman (2013) Media ethics in a new democracy: South African perspectives on freedom, dignity, and citizenship. In Stephen J.A. Ward (ed.), Global media ethics: Problems and perspectives, 126-145. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell.

GJ 312-3: Current issues

Readings:

  • Chung, Deborah S. and Seungahn Nah (2013) Media credibility and journalistic role conceptions: Views on citizen and professional journalists among citizen contributors. Journal of Mass Media Ethics 28(4): 271-288.
  • Debatin, Bernhard (2014) Ethical implications of blogging. In Robert S. Fortner and P. Mark Fackler (eds.), The handbook of global communication and media ethics, 822-843. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell.
  • Díaz-Campo, Jesus and Segado-Boj, Francisco (2015) Journalism ethics in a digital environment: How journalistic codes of ethics have been adapted to the Internet and ICTs in countries around the world. Telematics and Informatics 32(4): 735-744.
  • Hanson, Jarice (2014) Authors, authority, ownership, and ethics in digital media and news. In Robert S. Fortner and P. Mark Fackler (eds.), The handbook of global communication and media ethics, 802-821. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell.
  • McBride, Kelly and Tom Rosenstiel (2014) Introduction: New guiding principles for a new era of journalism. In Kelly McBride and Tom Rosenstiel (eds.), The new ethics of journalism, 1-6. Los Angeles: Sage.
  • Tumber, Howard (2013) The role of the journalist in reporting international conflicts. In Stephen J.A. Ward (ed.), Global media ethics: Problems and perspectives, 50-68. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell.
  • Wahl-Jørgensen, Karin and Mervi Pantti (2013) Ethics of global disaster reporting: Journalistic witnessing and objectivity. In Stephen J.A. Ward (ed.), Global media ethics: Problems and perspectives, 191-213. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell.