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This book uses global perspectives to address questions of media ethics and justice in a local and transnational global environment, and examines the common denominator running through such disparate investigations of theories and practices of media ethics and justice in the democracies of India, South Africa, Pakistan, and the United States.



1. Introduction

For the past two decades, ‘globalization’ has been the buzz word within and beyond media and journalism studies. Globalization has decisively unmade the coherence that the modernist project of the 19th-and 20th-century nation-states promised to deliver — the neat marriage between territory, language, culture, and identity. As Geertz noted, ‘All modern nations — even Norway, even Japan — contradict themselves: They contain multitudes’ (Geertz 1973, p. 122). Scholars have generally acknowledged the multiple trajectories to and dimensions of globalization, as reflected in its various histories, processes, and forms of interconnectedness. The multidimensionality of media globalization was exemplified, for example, in the way in which mobile phone video footage of the execution of Saddam Hussein rapidly circulated around the world within hours of the event via a combination of mobile phone cameras, Internet access, and transnational media organizations. Audiences as far afield as Australia, Bangladesh, and Chile awoke to grainy images of the noose around Hussein’s neck as he argued with his executioners. Each media culture, however, reserved the right to disseminate the information as it saw fit: media in the United States largely shied away from showing any of the gory footage; meanwhile, media in India and Al Jazeera, broadcasting throughout the Middle East, ran the majority of the video.
Shakuntala Rao, Herman Wasserman

2. The Moral Priority of Globalism in a Media-Saturated World

The greatest task of moral theory today is to transform itself into a global ethics that challenges dominant forms of parochial ethics, from ethno-centricity to nationalism and political realism. We should be radical in the ways of moral invention, envisaging a global ethics and a global media ethics for our interconnected world.
Stephen J. A. Ward

3. Global Justice and Civil Society

Justice means giving everyone in society their appropriate due. Retributive and distributive justice in procedural terms are the standard framework for elaborating that definition. For the ethics of social justice to work productively in an international context, the meaning of justice must be given a different conceptual formulation and fundamentally new orientation than the way that retributive and distributive justice have been conceived up until now. The news media ought to base their rationale and mission on this alternative understanding of justice.
Clifford G. Christians

4. Social Justice and Citizenship in South Africa: The Media’s Role

This chapter will focus on some specific issues pertaining to media ethics, democracy, and citizenship in South Africa. As a postcolonial, ‘new’ democracy marked by huge socio-economic inequalities, while at the same time emerging as a regional economic growth point, South Africa’s struggles to deepen democracy via media may suggest some similarities with other emerging economies, for instance India, one of its partners in the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) alignment of states. The growing socio-economic inequalities that accompany South Africa’s rise as an emerging economy bear resemblance to the double-edged story of ‘unprecedented success or extraordinary failure’ that can be told about contemporary India (Dreze and Sen 2011) and also characterize countries like Brazil, where contradictions between economic growth and internal inequalities are also stark. Comparisons between India and South Africa have indeed been suggested by scholars working in comparative political studies (e.g. Heller 2009), as well as scholars in the field of ‘Indian Ocean Studies’ (e.g. Moorthy and Jamal 2009), who studied the socio-cultural exchanges between these two countries and their neighbors in early stages of contemporary globalization. Some research has also been done in comparative media ethics between South Africa and India (see Rao and Wasserman 2007, Wasserman and Rao 2008).
Herman Wasserman

5. Paying for Journalism: An Ethics-Based and Collaborative Business Model

Journalists need others to get their jobs done. They require sources, documents, and access to people and institutions to report stories. To massage that raw information into news and distribute it to others, they need a team — editors, photographers, layout and design professionals, web designers, editors, and programmers. Some modes of doing journalism foreground cooperation. Producing broadcast news — both radio and television — has always required a team. Despite a resurgent myth that focuses on the lone individual, producing journalism historically has been a cooperative activity, whether that cooperation is likened to a factory assembly line or a more densely networked effort. In contemporary journalists’ daily lives, cooperation, while sometimes filled with small frictions (all reporters clash with editors), is the norm.
Lee Wilkins

6. News for Sale: ‘Paid News’, Media Ethics, and India’s Democratic Public Sphere

It is difficult to theorize the practice of ‘paid news’ in routine democratic discourse. As such, sociologists have been skeptical of media’s objectivity or selective perceptions, but even by those standards putting a price tag on news coverage is the new low for India’s thriving quality press. Ample literature has been written on how media is linked to the exercise of power and hegemony, how it helps in manufacturing consent and steering of public opinions, or how concerns of the marginalized citizens seldom make news (Gramsci 1971, Adorno and Horkheimer 1979, Herman and Chomsky 1988, Entman 1989, Nimmo and Combs 1990, Entman and Bannett 2001). More specifically, some research is now available on the awesome spread of the Indian media, particularly in the language market, and also on its pro-urban and pro-market predispositions (Jeffrey 2000, Ninan 2007, Thakurta 2009, Mudgal 2011, Krishnan 2012). But the issue of selling editorial space by the ‘free press’ still baffles the believers and the skeptics alike. What is now (in)famous as ‘paid news’ in India is the practice of charging a fee, in cash or equity, from politicians, film stars, businessmen, or from private companies, for presenting biased and one-sided news items to be passed off as routine news coverage. Its occurrence goes up during elections, when individual candidates or their parties could do with orchestrated hype, or when a private company enters the equity market or even when a new movie is about to be released.
Vipul Mudgal

7. Practices of Indian Journalism: Justice, Ethics, and Globalization

Globalization defines our era. It is what happens when the movement of people, goods, or ideas among countries and regions accelerates. In recent years, globalization has come into focus, generating considerable interest and controversy in the social sciences, humanities, and policy circles and among the informed public at large. Throughout most of history, the vectors that organized and gave meaning to human lives and human imaginations were structured primarily by local geography and topology, local kinship and social organization, local worldviews and religions. Today the world is another place. While human lives continue to be lived in local realities, these realities are increasingly being challenged by and integrated into larger global networks of relationships. Media are at the heart of such changes. The multidirectional flow of media and cultural goods is creating new forms of convergence and identities. These forms are often received either with exhilaration or panic (Mattelart 2002). Yet no one can disregard that there is an acceleration of media convergence exemplified by various intersections among media technologies, industries, content, and audiences.
Shakuntala Rao

8. Justice as an Islamic Journalistic Value and Goal

Justice is a central component of Arab-Islamic morality,1 often viewed as an indispensable condition for the institution and sustainability of the virtuous Ummah (community of believers). In broader abstract ways, justice in Islamic traditions epitomizes equilibrium in the Universe as created by God in the most perfect of ways. Through Islamic intellectual history, this comprehensive perspective of justice, with its physical and moral manifestations, has received profound attention in religious and philosophical traditions. In those traditions, justice derives much of its significance from its association with two overarching ethical concepts: fairness (Qist) and responsibility (Masooliyya). Fairness defines values like accuracy, balance, honesty, and respect, while responsibility embraces adherence to divine Shari’a (law) and ‘bold advocacy of good and combat of evil’.2 In this sense, it may not be adequate for the individual to be accurate, balanced, honest, respectful, and law-abiding; he/she should also be proactive in ensuring that those values are maintained and acted upon in the community.
Muhammad I. Ayish

9. Rammohun Roy’s Idea of ‘Public Good’ in the Early Days of Journalism Ethics in India

The main purpose of this chapter is to provide a historical context and reference point against which the development of journalism ethics in India in a global context can be framed. At a time of democratic deficit due to ‘paid news’ seriously narrowing the range of facts and opinions available to citizens to enable them to make informed choices (Guha Thakurta 2011), the reference point is important if only to assess — or lament — the state of journalism ethics in contemporary India. The effort is more to set out the context in which ethical considerations engaged the first Indians who ventured into modern journalism, than to build or explore theory. The chapter is focused on a point in time when the first printed journals — in English and ‘native’ languages — came into existence and marked a significant height in India’s ancient tradition of argument and debate. Several events and issues of the period between the late 18th and early 19th centuries sowed the seeds of political activism, prose and literature in Indian languages, social and religious reform, and the conceptual beginnings of an imagined nation. After 1780, when the first journal was published by James Augustus Hicky, print journalism soon outlined the contours of a reading public, a colonial public sphere, and became a forum of debate between the colonial
Prasun Sonwalkar

10. The Chief and the Channels: How Satellite Television Sparked a Social Movement for the ‘Rule of Law’ that Is Restructuring Political Power in Pakistan

It started with a single photograph of Pakistani government security forces making an arrest in Islamabad on March 13, 2007. The photograph, a miscellany of limbs and heads, captures perfectly the commotion that would have ensued outside the building of the Supreme Court of Pakistan that afternoon. A hand clutches a head that is half obscured by someone else’s shoulder, pulling it down by the hair and forcing it through an open rear door of an official-looking car. Just enough of the eyes are visible in the photograph to suggest that the person being arrested is Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, the Chief Justice of Pakistan. The photograph appeared the following day in the pages of the Nawa-e-Waqt, one of the largest Urdu daily newspapers in Pakistan, and The Nation, its sister English publication. The caption in The Nation read: ‘ISLAMABAD: Police “requesting” suspended Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry to sit in the police car after he refused to do so’.1
Shahan Mufti

11. The Changing Structure of Media and Ethics in India

In discussing the changing structure of media and ethics in India, my emphasis in this chapter will be not so much on ownership patterns but on the internal structure of the media and its impact on media practitioners and journalists.
Bharat Bhushan


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