Journalism ethics and values emphasised

The role of journalism ethics and values in an era of technology-driven demand for instantaneous news were highlighted at the International Media Freedom Day celebrations at the Divine Word University Madang campus on Friday 5th May, 2017.

 Keynote Speaker and TVWan Senior Reporter Meredith Kuusa said in an era of demand for instantaneous news the media and journalists ought to be more diligent and professional.

“There has never been a greater time in our history to hold onto our journalism values, then now,” said Kuusa who is a graduate of DWU.

She acknowledged the University MFD theme ‘Media’s role in digital era’, and said news organizations in the country were faced with the challenges of providing factual information ‘instantaneously’.

Kuusa, said the demand for instant factual information created added pressure to journalists and media newsrooms need to be diligent when compiling stories.

She said they should be sensitive and remind themselves of their ethical responsibilities.

Kuusa commended DWU for its emphasis on ethics and encouraged student journalists to be sensitive and credible in their reporting.

Second MFD Speaker and DWU Vice President of Research and Higher Degrees Professor Fr. Philip Gibbs in his speech titled ‘GBV (Gender-based violence): Getting the message across’ said media had a role in how the message of gender based violence was articulated to the public.

Prof Gibbs said that those giving reports should consider the type of language used, and beliefs and actions desired. He added that it was not just a matter of exposing the situation to communities, but to find ways to engage them in ways that make a difference.

He said that use of terms like “victim” can be confusing because depending on your beliefs, the term could refer to a man supposedly harmed by a witch, or else to a woman accused of being a witch. Such confusion could even ecourage violence instead of dispelling it.

In summary, Professor Philip Gibbs reiterated that journalists must consider the target audience response when compiling stories for issues such as GBV.

Students from nearby Tusbab Secondary School also participated in the event.

DWU MFD celebrations are an annual event in which the Communication Arts Department along with sister departments in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences observes the international day set by the United Nation on 3rd May. The global Media Freedom Day theme for 2017 is “Critical Minds for Critical Times: Media’s role in advancing peaceful, just and inclusive societies.”