Abdel Aziz Aluwaisheg in his article, “Journalism ethics and feeding business bubbles,” (Nov. 25) has touched upon a sensitive, yet a very important issue about increased dependency of the media on advertisements. And, more often than not, many newspapers too, though unconsciously, blur the lines between advertising and impartial reporting.
It is common knowledge that the price, which the readers pay for a newspaper or a magazine just cannot cover the cost of printing leave alone other expenses. The media industry therefore chiefly depends on advertisements to satisfy the stakeholders.
Moreover, unlike other industries, it is not easy for the print media to pass on the increased cost of production upon the readers. All these facts notwithstanding, the basic ethics of journalism does not allow any newspaper to become a mouthpiece of any company and publish its advertisement in the guise of an impartial report. No journalist is worth his salt unless he does an independent research to ensure that the facts and figures that the company has provided to him are true in all respects. The readers who are also consumers have the right to get correct knowledge about the products and services the company is presenting through the newspaper.
As rightly pointed out by Abdelaziz, uncritical reporting eulogizing the booming financial industrial overlooked the financial bubble. In fact, a lot of people base their decisions to buy and sell shares in the companies on the reports and analysis published in newspapers, which place a further burden on the shoulder of newspapers.
Further, it is the duty of the media to highlight the wrongdoings and malpractices by any organization. For instance, Arab News took the lead last week in drawing the attention of the readers and general public toward the gross negligence by a well-known hospital in Jeddah.
From : Arabnews