THE EXISTENTIAL CRISIS OF MEDIA ETHICS DURING WAR
NEED FOR A SENSITIVE CODE OF CONDUCT
This essay argues that the maintaining of objectivity, impartiality and neutrality during times of war to streamline the quest for the elusive ‘truth’ in journalism is largely a futile exercise. Part I of the essay juxtaposes notions of journalistic ethics, viz. objectivity and neutrality with the reality of war and argues that a ‘journalism of attachment’ is a necessary consequence of this juxtaposition. Part II provides a small critique of this journalism of attachment, and then highlights the use of the State apparatus in forcibly transforming the media into an outlet of State propaganda, thus concluding that truly ethical journalism during war is an extremely daunting task. Finally, Part III outlines the need for a sensitive codification of the norms of ethical journalistic conduct in India during war, keeping in mind the ground reality of war –correspondents. Further, Part III also advocates for the amendment and updating of the existent legal and ethical framework vis-à-vis press ethics in India.
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