British Journalists Compromise News

The Times in Britain are changing, as journalists for Rupert Murdoch‘s newspaper are being convicted under suspicions of hacking into private phone-lines. In addition to the 32 reporters arrested so far, Police detained six more journalists last week in efforts to protect private conversations by famous individuals. Phone lines of celebrities, politicians, sports figures, and even the British royal family were targeted and breached for the sake of making headline news out of scandal. Mike Darcy, chief executive of News International, describes these heinous incidents as a “huge burden on journalists in the daily challenge of producing Britain’s most popular news.” Police are also investigating further allegations, such as bribing of public officials and computer hackers, in order to prevent further obstructions from the media. This is a huge setback for public journalists everywhere as it compromises the relationship of its viewers, and confuses the public when deciding what issues are actually important to the paper.

Especially in these modern times, a proper journalist must stay loyal to all its citizens by avoiding methods to illegally exploit and unofficially document others. Papers need only to provide news that is relevant so that citizens can make democratic decisions and, in turn, govern themselves. In an ironic sense, the muckrakers compromised their own standing once they used dishonest methods of finding the truth. These journalists must be detained and questioned by police as a way to assure the reader’s trust, as well as the integrity of all newspapers. For if people should ever begin to doubt the validity or ethics of their newspaper, its citizens will stop reading, and the public circulation as we know it will fall to corruption. Daily news would rely solely on how the government wants to inform the governed, rather than a source such as a public journalist or reliable reporter. Papers need only to provide news that is usable to its citizens, not gossip, so that they can make democratic decisions to freely govern themselves. Although there have been few similar cases of this happening in the past, in 2006 and in  2007, Murdoch’s reputation and of his paper are relatively clean; allowing readers some time between scandals to build trust with public reporters.

Do you believe the British government was fair to arrest these reporters? Would you publish a story that was deemed true although the methods of finding it were dishonest? Are journalists conflicted between demands for better news, and the lengths they should go to beat technological media?

Source:

Burns, John F. “Six More Journalists Held in British Hacking Case.” The New York Times 14 Feb. 2013, International News. sec.: n. pag. Print.

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