There are many parallels between the field of journalism and code of ethics. In the field of journalism, a code of ethics is ensuring the free exchange of information that is accurate, fair and thorough. However, at times, there can be a dilemma between journalism and the code of ethics; a tug of war between reporting the truth and sacrificing a career. However, with the prominence of social media in our daily lives, we shouldn’t be pointing the finger at just journalists to uphold a code of ethics, we should be looking in the mirror and examining our own actions. Let me explain.
Journalism has greatly shifted as a result of social media; individuals are reporting their own stories, experiences, struggles and tribulations on different platforms of social media such as a twitter and facebook. Social media has become a space where the average citizen has a voice and this is quite powerful. There have even been case studies of social movements emerging ignited by social media such as the Green Revolution in Iran and the Arab Spring in Tunisia and Egypt. At the same time, there have been cases where individuals have committed suicide as a result of images that had been posted about them on social media. This is exemplified by the very famous case of Amanda Todd in Canada who committed suicide due to the online harassment and cyberbullying she suffered.
These cases demonstrate that what we post on the internet is powerful and it has consequences which raises some questions. Should we all have a code of ethics on what we post on our social media pages? Should the people who have posted about Amanda Todd uphold the code of ethics values of journalism of : respect, integrity, transparency and honesty? How do we monitor and ensure that all social media users abide by the code of ethics?