Most of Somaliland media is either loyalist to the government or loyalist to the opposition and our National TV has become an advertising agency for the government that speaks against the opposition parties

media

Journalism is gathering, processing, and dissemination of news and information related to the news to an audiences Journalism can never be silent: that is its greatest virtue and its greatest fault. Great is journalism. Is not every able editor a ruler of the world, being the persuader of it? The public have an insatiable curiosity to know everything, except what is worth knowing. Journalism, conscious of this, and having tradesman-like habits, supplies their demands. Journalism is the only thinkable alternative to working. Journalism without a moral position is impossible. Every journalist is a moralist. It’s absolutely unavoidable. A journalist is someone who looks at the world and the way it works, someone who takes a close look at things every day and reports what she sees, someone who represents the world, the event, for others. She cannot do her work without judging what she sees. There is much to be said in favor of modern journalism. By giving us the opinions of the uneducated, it keeps us in touch with the ignorance of the community. Literature is the art of writing something that will be read twice; journalism what will be grasped at once. Journalism is to politician as dog is to lamp-post. Journalism is popular, but it is popular mainly as fiction. Life is one world, and life seen in the newspapers another. 

Every journalist who is unintelligent or too full of himself to notice what is going on knows that what he does is morally indefensible. He is a kind of confidence man, preying on people’s vanity, ignorance, or loneliness, gaining their trust and betraying them without remorse. The journalists have constructed for themselves a little wooden chapel, which they also call the Temple of Fame, in which they put up and take down portraits all day long and make such a hammering you can’t hear yourself speak. I still believe that if your aim is to change the world, journalism is a more immediate short-term weapon.

 The media through which journalism is conducted vary diversely to include content published via newspapers and magazines (print), television and radio (broadcast), and their digital versions published through digital media news websites and applications.In modern society, the news media is the chief purveyor of information and opinion about public affairs. Journalism, however, is not always confined to the news media or to news itself, as journalistic communication may find its way into broader forms of expression, including literature and cinema. In some nations, the news media is still controlled by government intervention, and is not fully an independent body. In a democratic society, however, access to free information plays a central role in creating a system of checks and balance, and in distributing power equally amongst governments, businesses, individuals, and other social entities. Access to verifiable information gathered by independent media sources, which adhere to journalistic standards, can also be of service to ordinary citizens, by empowering them with the tools they need in order to participate in the political process.

 

The role and status of journalism, along with that of the mass media, has undergone profound changes over the last two decades with the advent of digital technology and publication of news on the internet. This has created a shift in the consumption of print media channels, as people increasingly consume news through e-readers, smart phones, and other electronic devices, challenging news organizations to fully monetize their digital wing, as well as improvise on the context in which they publish news in print.Ethics, also known as moral philosophy, is a branch of philosophy that involves systematizing, defending and recommending concepts of right and wrong conduct often addressing disputes of moral diversity.  The term comes from the Greek word ethos which means character or moral behavior. Respect for truth and the public’s right to information are fundamental principles of journalism. Journalists describe society to itself. They convey information, ideas and opinions, a privileged role. They search, disclose, record, question, entertain, suggest and remember. They inform citizens and animate democracy. They give a practical form to freedom of expression. Many journalists work in private enterprise, but all have these public responsibilities. They scrutinise power, but also exercise it, and should be accountable. Accountability engenders trust. Without trust, journalists do not fulfil their public responsibilities. The journalists should educate themselves about ethics and apply the following standards and differentiate between news and opinion  

In addition to the legal rights and obligations set forth in the relevant legal norms, the media have an ethical responsibility towards citizens and society which must be underlined at the present time, when information and communication play a very important role in the formation of citizens’ personal attitudes and the development of society and democratic life. The journalist’s profession comprises rights and obligations, freedoms and responsibilities. The basic principle of any ethical consideration of journalism is that a clear distinction must be drawn between news and opinions, making it impossible to confuse them. News is information about facts and data, while opinions convey thoughts, ideas, beliefs or value judgments on the part of media companies, publishers or journalists. News broadcasting should be based on truthfulness, ensured by the appropriate means of verification and proof, and impartiality in presentation, description and narration. Rumour must not be confused with news. News headlines and summaries must reflect as closely as possible the substance of the facts and data presented. Expression of opinions may entail thoughts or comments on general ideas or remarks on news relating to actual events. Although opinions are necessarily subjective and therefore cannot and should not be made subject to the criterion of truthfulness, we must ensure that opinions are expressed honestly and ethically.

Opinions taking the form of comments on events or actions relating to individuals or institutions should not attempt to deny or conceal the reality of the facts or data. The media’s work is one of “mediation”, providing an information service, and the rights which they own in connection with freedom of information depend on its addressees, that are the citizens.Information is a fundamental right which has been highlighted by the case-law of our national constitution.  The public authorities must not consider that they own information. The representativeness of such authorities provides the legal basis for efforts to guarantee and extend pluralism in the media and to ensure that the necessary conditions are created for exercising freedom of expression and the right to information and precluding censorship. Moreover, the Committee of Ministers is aware of this fact, as demonstrated by its Declaration on the Freedom of Expression and Information adopted on 29 April 1982.When dealing with journalism it must be borne in mind that it relies on the media, which are part of a corporate structure within which a distinction must be made between publishers, proprietors and journalists. To that end, in addition to safeguarding the freedom of the media, freedom within the media must also be protected and internal pressures guarded against.

News organisations must show transparency in matters of media ownership and management, enabling citizens to ascertain clearly the identity of proprietors and the extent of their economic interest in the media. Inside the news organisation, publishers and journalists must co-exist, bearing in mind that the legitimate respect for publishers’ and owners’ ideological orientations is limited by the absolute requirements on truthful news reporting and ethical opinions. This is essential if we are to respect the citizens’ fundamental right to information.

These requirements are such that we must reinforce the safeguards of the journalist’s freedom of expression, for they must in the last instance operate as the ultimate sources of information. In this connection we must legally expand and clarify the nature of the conscience clause and professional secrecy vis-à-vis confidential sources, harmonising national provisions on this matter so that they can be implemented in the wider context of democratic Europe. If we are to ensure that information is treated ethically, its target audience must be considered as individuals and not as a mass. The importance of information, especially radio and television news, for culture and education was highlighted in Assembly. Its effects on public opinion are obvious. It would be wrong to infer from the importance of this role that the media actually represent public opinion or that they should replace the specific functions of the public authorities or institutions of an educational or cultural character such as schools.

Therefore journalism should not alter truthful, impartial information or honest opinions, or exploit them for media purposes, in an attempt to create or shape public opinion, since its legitimacy rests on effective respect for the citizen’s fundamental right to information as part of respect for democratic values. To that end, legitimate investigative journalism is limited by the veracity and honesty of information and opinions and is incompatible with journalistic campaigns conducted on the basis of previously adopted positions and special interests.The right of individuals to privacy must be respected. Persons holding office in public life are entitled to protection for their privacy except in those cases where their private life may have an effect on their public life. The fact that a person holds a public post does not deprive him of the right to respect for his privacy.In the journalist’s profession the end does not justify the means; therefore information must be obtained by legal and ethical means.Within the newspaper business, publishers, proprietors and journalists must live side by side. To that end, rules must be drawn up for editorial staff in order to regulate professional relations between the journalists and the publishers and proprietors within the media, separately from the normal requirements of labour relations. Such rules might provide for the setting up of editorial boards. Having regard to the requisite conditions and basic principles enumerated above, the media must undertake to submit to firm ethical principles guaranteeing freedom of expression and the fundamental right of citizens to receive truthful information and honest opinions.

In order to supervise the implementation of these principles, self-regulatory bodies or mechanisms must be set up comprising publishers, journalists, media users’ associations, experts from the academic world and judges; they will be responsible for issuing resolutions on respect for ethical precepts in journalism, with prior commitment on the part of the media to publish the relevant resolutions. This will help the citizen, who has the right to information, to pass either positive or negative judgment on the journalist’s work and credibility. The self-regulatory bodies or mechanisms, the media users’ associations and the relevant university departments could publish each year the research done a posteriori on the truthfulness of the information broadcast by the media, comparing the news with the actual facts. This would serve as a barometer of credibility which citizens could use as a guide to the ethical standard achieved by each medium or each section of the media, or even each individual journalist. The relevant corrective mechanisms might simultaneously help improve the manner in which the profession of media journalism is pursued.

Human existence cannot be silent, nor can it be nourished by false words, but only by true words, with which people transform the world. To exist, humanly, is to name the world, to change it. If there is no struggle, there is no progress – Those who profess to favour freedom and yet renounce controversy are people who want crops without ploughing the ground. When women and men understand that working to eradicate patriarchal domination is a struggle rooted in the longing to make a world where everyone can live fully and freely, then we know our work to be a gesture of love. Let us draw upon that love to heighten our awareness, deepen our compassion, intensify our courage and strengthen our commitment. For we have built into all of us, old blueprints of expectation and response, old structures of oppression and these must be altered at the same time that we alter the living condition which are the result of those structures. For the master’s tool will never dismantle the master’s house. We have always lived here: we have the right to go on living where we are happy and where we want to die. Only here can we feel whole; nowhere else would we ever feel complete and our pain would be eternal.We cannot allow some people to be left at the back of the human rights bus… Ethics, too, are nothing but reverence for life. That is what gives me the fundamental principle of morality, namely, that good consists in maintaining, promoting, and enhancing life, and that destroying, injuring, and limiting life are evil.
You can only find truth with logic if you have already found truth without it. I have observed on plenty of occasions that some journalists reports his own opinion while broadcasting or reporting and this influences the public to switch off from that reporter.   Ethics knows the difference between what you have a right to do and what is right to do. Without ethics, man has no future. This is to say, mankind without them cannot be itself. Ethics determine choices and actions and suggest difficult priorities. Rumors, personal interest or personal few points shall not be considered as news and that what many of us have observed. Additionally, I have noticed quite often some of our journalists tries to make influence with his interviewer and telling him words like ” is not you wrong and they are right, The  interviewer play both both roles.    

Ismail Yusuf 

rabasoro55@hotmail.co.uk