Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Investigative Journalism

I feel like we've been talking about the ethics of journalism a lot lately. Something that also reminded me about the debate on ethics in journalism was when I watched the documentary Chocolate: The Bitter Truth. It's about the child labour used in the chocolate industry. It's clearly horrible and unethical what some people in the chocolate industry have done to children (child labour, which doesn't allow them to attend school), but as a young journalist I was wondering was it ethical how they uncovered the issue? In the documentary a journalist goes undercover, and does some investigate journalism. Basically, the journalist lies and says poses as a chocolate trader. Is this ethical? Journalists are always told to identify themselves as journalists. Does this go away when it comes to investigative journalism? In the case where a journalist is trying to uncover injustice is it okay to be unethical by journalism standards? I think when uncovering injustice and when it comes to saving people's lives, you have to weigh the good compared to the bad. A little fib about being a chocolate trader vs. saving children's lives seems worth it to me. Here is the beginning of the doc below. You can watch the full doc at cbc.com and I really recommend it.

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