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Friday, April 22, 2022

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Global journalism ethics in a time of nationalism and populism

In order to better understand the relationship between global journalism ethics and nationalism and populism, I first looked for the definition of the “isms”. In the article “Nationalism and Populism: What is the difference? How are they connected?” by Liberties, the author defines Nationalism as a “belief and political ideology that the sovereignty, interests, and identity of one’s own nation take precedence over other states and groups of people.” Populism is described as a “political strategy of appealing to “the people” in opposition to ‘elites’ who are making the lives of ‘the people’ worse.” 

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Understanding the meanings was important to observe how society has changed due to the use of these strategies and how they contributed to the shift in people’s attitudes towards the media. Moving forward, it was relevant to realize how global journalism ethics is necessary to help solve that issue. 

In the article “Global journalism needs global ethics”, published by The Conversation, Christopher Kremmer mentions the book Radical Media Ethics: a global approach (2015) and how the author claims that “in a global, media-linked world where stories cross borders and can inspire positive change – but also incite massive violence – we need globally-minded journalism.” 

As Stephen J. A. Ward says, new forms of communication are reshaping the practice of journalism at local, regional, national, and international levels. One of the imperatives of global journalism ethics states that journalists must act as global agents with a focus on serving the citizens of the world. “The goal of their collective actions is a well-informed, diverse and tolerant global “info-sphere” that challenges the distortions of tyrants, the abuse of human rights, and the manipulation of information by special interests.” 

That implies being objective to avoid bias, being accurate and balanced, and producing content with relevant international sources and multiple perspectives. Global journalism also asks journalists to be more conscious of how they frame the global public’s perspective on major stories. According to Ward, “Public duty calls for independent, hard-edged news, along with investigations and analysis.” 

In my opinion, the set of principles and standards for the practice of journalism proposed by Ward is the way to survive this age of nationalism and populism. We, as journalists, have to stick to the basic core and values that the profession implies: be objective, accurate, factual, and serve the public but, in addition, carry a global perspective, embracing diversity. 

Globalization and digital disruption brought us into a different world. To keep up with the constant changes, journalism ethics needs to re-invent itself. It must decide which principles can and should be preserved, while other ideas are no longer maintainable. To sum up, I agree with Kremmer when he says that “if the purposes of our work, and how it is funded, and the methods we use to perform it change, ethical principles can and do evolve to meet the changed realities.”

*This article was submitted as a memo assignment for the course "Current Issues of Journalism" at the University of Illinois.

About Manu Ferreira

Hi, my name is Manu Ferreira. I am multimedia producer. I hold a bachelor's degree in Social Communication - Radio, TV, and Internet, and a Master's degree in Journalism. Here, I want to share my ideas and some of the work I've done in my career.


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