Media Ethics (Section 03003, Fall 2015)

About this class

Studies suggest that the average Canadian spends 31 hours online and 14 hours watching TV every week.  Many of us also listen to the radio while driving, read the newspaper in the metro, and are bombarded with advertising everywhere we go. It is therefore hard to deny that the media plays a major role in our lives. But the media is hardly neutral when it comes to ethics, and it presents us with moral conundrums on a daily basis. Journalists struggle to balance the need for privacy with the public interest when reporting a story; Hollywood Blockbusters have raised questions about the place of sexism and consumerism in popular culture; and communities struggle with the issue of universalism versus particularism in an increasingly global era.

 

This course is designed to engage with these and other ethical issues. Conceptually, it is organized into 4 sections: 1) An Introduction to Ethics, 2) The Media and its role in Creating Normative Values, 3) Ethics and the Media in the Global Era, 4) and The Media, Democracy, and a Just Society. Assignments include in-class activities, program-related posts to be made on an educational networking site called newsactivist.com, and a position paper and formal debate about free speech in a global context. Students must formulate an opinion about the morality of Charlie Hebdo’s publishing project in advance of a classroom discussion designed to challenge their conclusions and encourage them to reformulate their ideas and/or reinforce their arguments. Content will be delivered through a combination of lectures and in-class activities, and a participation mark will be assigned.

Dawson College
by Heroine on December 9, 2015
       In our present consumeristic society, advertising has taken up an important place in the economy. Advertisements can be found in magazines, TV, billboards and now even on social media, for an infinite range of products; from perfumes to fast food to cars to dental floss. If you have the right ads your product will go places. However, although it is not illegal, the over-sexualization in advertising affects the media in troubling ways and is unethical by many standards. 

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Dawson College
by Tolstoy24 on December 2, 2015
From TV shows, movies, radios and the numerous social media platforms; the media is a huge part of our lives and thus has a great influence on ours actions, opinions and attitudes. Regrettably, the media does not always represent people accurately. Specifically black men who are wrongfully being portrayed as dangerous, violent, aggressive and uneducated in numerous spheres of the media suffer from its impact on our society. The bad representation of black men is a much known problem; the hashtag #iftheygunnedmedown went viral recently criticizing this situation.

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Dawson College
by Mr. Blonde on November 25, 2015
On November 4th 2015, Justin Trudeau swore in as Prime Minister of Canada. When a Prime Minister swears in he also unveils his cabinet. Trudeau’s cabinet was multi ethnic and gender equal! Some people were surprised even though this was one of Trudeau’s campaign promises (Trudeaumetre).  

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by Sir de la Souche on November 25, 2015
Japan in Western Cinema  

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by deexrawrs on November 23, 2015
          As the evolution of humankind comes to a realization, the possibilities for us to construct greater things became endless due to our unique intelligence. Perhaps one of the greatest apparent developments of our critical thinking is the advancement of medical technology. Let’s take the creation of medical imaging for example; this invention has revolutionized the medical field as it helps provide a faster and more accurate result for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and tomography (CT) exams.

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by Greenshell on November 23, 2015
I am not currently in any particular program so I have chosen 'arts & culture – journalism' as my field of study. The question I shall be responding to is “Does [ arts & culture – journalism ] influence the media in ethically troubling ways?” I will also be touching on ads and sponsored content in news. Journalists are like any other person on earth. They all eat, drink and sleep like everyone else. Breathe the same air, share the same moon and sun. But, a journalist is a person who collects, writes and distributes news.

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by blackwana on November 23, 2015
“The good, the bad, and the grey areas”

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by iAmAnonymous on November 23, 2015
Advertisement in the media is used to promote or advertise a product or a service. It attracts potential customers, keeps and grows the current ones and creates value for a company. For a business, this is essential to make profit. However, there seems to be many advertisements that are using unethical practices when marketing their products. This has caused immense debates as to whether it should be tolerated. Advertisements often result in sensual content, which many people find offensive.

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by silentlyloud on November 23, 2015
Equality is a difficult notion to define with certainty.  Does this encompass both social and economic equality?  Some may even declare equality of opportunity to be the only one of true importance.  By comparison, inequality is much easier to identify - one cannot refute inequality if a group faces statistical disadvantage within the entirety of the aforementioned spectrum of equality.  Using these standards, it becomes clear that gender inequality is undeniable.  Furthermore, these disadvantages have a long historical standing while providing benefits to men in all relevant sectors of soc

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by titi123 on November 22, 2015
Media Coverage of the Criminal Justice System  

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by incognito on November 22, 2015
  One Life, One World, One Hashtag    

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by nm_ai on November 22, 2015
Art has always been, since the beginning of its era, about nature and its beauty. Plato considered art to be an imitation of nature. Throughout the evolution of time, art has grown into multiple representations such as drawings, paintings, sculptures, expressing the creative skills of the artists’ imagination. Photography took over these functions in the 20th century, where artists elevated their ideas over the execution. Photography over the years has been used in so many different ways.

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by Lornien Sirsel on November 22, 2015
In a world where media seems to be having trouble defining what is morally acceptable, western societies are being exposed to questionable content on a daily bases.  What’s more disturbing is that children are being mixed into this perverseness. Ads like these simply breach all ethics: https://davidahmuty.files.wordpress.com/2012/11/mexx-06.jpg?w=300.

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by Mr.King on November 22, 2015
Nerd? We prefer the term intellectual bad*ss Media plays a major role in our daily life and we get most of our information or knowledge from it. But most of the time, the information that is provided to us from media could mislead us or give us a wrong perspective towards the world.  My essay will be based on the relation of media ethics and science; also, how they intercept with each other. The main focus of my essay will be on the presentation of nerds or geeks in media through ethics.

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by EllaBeauty26 on November 22, 2015
Ethics in Education

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by underthemud on November 21, 2015
  Yet, I Am Beautiful

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by mr.cool.guy on November 21, 2015
Advertising in the name of the Holy Spirit

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3 years 8 months ago

Your article on this ethical dilemma is very interesting. It's a known fact that testing on animals has been a continuous debate. Do they feel pain? Does it even help? Is it right ?
From an ethical point of view, it is possible to prove that animal testing is acceptable.
Firstly animal testing is done out of necessity and not a desire to cause harm, from a deontological outlook as Kant said, "the only thing inherently good is a good will." If it's the will of the scientists to help worlds suffering, to cure diseases and to help then we cannot argue that this is an unethical practice.
By theological standards (another ethical framework based on outcome vs. Action) the action itself isn't bad or good but the outcome of that action on whether it actually help or hurt people is. If we are looking at this dilemma through those lens, the positive outcome of animal testing outweighs the negative, as you wrote " Without animal testing, there will be much less medical improvement than what we have right now, and there will be no new drugs for new or hard-to-treat diseases (815. Lancent)" the outcome of these practices has saved lives and developed more medical resources to continue to help preserve lives. Since the testing is only being done for the greatest good for the greatest number and to benefit our society we can say that it is not unethical but we should not take advantage of and deplete our sources. A solution to this is to making sure the animals are treated and taken care of, that the tests are not deadly and that no animal shall go through testing for the duration of their lives.

3 years 8 months ago

Your article on this ethical dilemma is very interesting. It's a known fact that testing on animals has been a continuous debate. Do they feel pain? Does it even help? Is it right ?
From an ethical point of view, it is possible to prove that animal testing is acceptable.
Firstly animal testing is done out of necessity and not a desire to cause harm, from a deontological outlook as Kant said, "the only thing inherently good is a good will." If it's the will of the scientists to help worlds suffering, to cure diseases and to help then we cannot argue that this is an unethical practice.
By theological standards (another ethical framework based on outcome vs. Action) the action itself isn't bad or good but the outcome of that action on whether it actually help or hurt people is. If we are looking at this dilemma through those lens, the positive outcome of animal testing outweighs the negative, as you wrote " Without animal testing, there will be much less medical improvement than what we have right now, and there will be no new drugs for new or hard-to-treat diseases (815. Lancent)" the outcome of these practices has saved lives and developed more medical resources to continue to help preserve lives. Since the testing is only being done for the greatest good for the greatest number and to benefit our society we can say that it is not unethical but we should not take advantage of and deplete our sources. A solution to this is to making sure the animals are treated and taken care of, that the tests are not deadly and that no animal shall go through testing for the duration of their lives.

3 years 8 months ago

Your article on this ethical dilemma is very interesting. It's a known fact that testing on animals has been a continuous debate. Do they feel pain? Does it even help? Is it right ?
From an ethical point of view, it is possible to prove that animal testing is acceptable.
Firstly animal testing is done out of necessity and not a desire to cause harm, from a deontological outlook as Kant said, "the only thing inherently good is a good will." If it's the will of the scientists to help worlds suffering, to cure diseases and to help then we cannot argue that this is an unethical practice.
By theological standards (another ethical framework based on outcome vs. Action) the action itself isn't bad or good but the outcome of that action on whether it actually help or hurt people is. If we are looking at this dilemma through those lens, the positive outcome of animal testing outweighs the negative, as you wrote " Without animal testing, there will be much less medical improvement than what we have right now, and there will be no new drugs for new or hard-to-treat diseases (815. Lancent)" the outcome of these practices has saved lives and developed more medical resources to continue to help preserve lives. Since the testing is only being done for the greatest good for the greatest number and to benefit our society we can say that it is not unethical but we should not take advantage of and deplete our sources. A solution to this is to making sure the animals are treated and taken care of, that the tests are not deadly and that no animal shall go through testing for the duration of their lives.

3 years 8 months ago

This an interesting article! Hope you don't mind if I have a few things to say about it. I not will hide that I don't agree with corporal punishment.

You wrote: "if a parent is using reasonable force as a tool to educate his child(inside the limits of the law) and to transmit good virtues then using reasonable force to educate a child is good." If I don't misunderstand the good virtues is that the child will learn not to do bad behaviors. But to show a child that hit somebody when that person does something wrong is a virtue?
Maybe spanking does work in the immediate moment to stop the child actual behavior, but beyond that, in most cases not only it’s very ineffective, but also the most common long-term consequence is that children learn to use aggression.

If a mother spanking 4ys old for fighting with his sister, the only thing what the child will learn, that is it ok if a stronger one hit a weaker one. The long-term effect that the child will spank some school mates. It even more ridiculous when a mother hit her child after the toddler either hit or kicked her. In this case, what is the moral lesson? If the child hit that is a vice, but if the mother hit that is a virtue?

I would like to approach this question from deontological view. Positive moral behavior is considered to be good and we must do that things, but negative behaviors considered to be bad and we must not do those. In this case if to hit somebody is bad, and it is BAD, then doesn't matter that the child hit somebody, or the mother hit the child, it is still unethical.

Spanking teaches the child that violence is an acceptable way to express her/his anger, deal with her/his conflict and solve any problem. This completely contradicts with all that you really want to teach a child.

3 years 8 months ago

This post is very interesting and thought provoking and has made me research a little about organic food! I agree with you on the part that organic food is important for the lives of children (and everyone for that matter). However, there are some flaws with organic food that I would like to point out. First of all, for an organic product to be organic, it has to be produced using no pesticides and harmful products. The thing is, how do we know that there is no harmful products being used? For example, if a farmer uses pesticides on his farm in a town, the wind and rain will collect these toxins and may be transported to the farmer’s field who grows organic food. There is no control for this. Second, most organic food has to be imported. There are emissions caused from the shipping of these goods. Also, your focus was on children in schools. I agree that children need better food in schools, however, most parents now a days have a hard time providing breakfast for their children in the morning. Organic food is more expensive and some parents may not be able to afford the luxury of organic food. If one were to use utilitarianism to describe this dilemma, which is “the doctrine that an action is right insofar as it promotes happiness, and that the greatest happiness of the greatest number should be the guiding principle of conduct” ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Utilitarianism ) then we have to evaluate the majority of the children. Organic food would not promote the greatest good for the greatest number because a majority of the children cannot afford it. While this article presents some strong ideas, there are flaws to the idea of organic food that must be evaluated.

-iAmAnonymous

3 years 8 months ago

Fascinating article, I'm equally impressed with your grounded stance on what is often a very heated debate. Your approach of weighing the possible gains against the dangers reminded me of an ethical framework known as utilitarianism: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Utilitarianism

By attempting to attain results for the greater good for the greatest number of individuals, much may be risked. Usually, one might implore the strengths of an ethical framework to highlight the merits or flaws of an ethical dilemma - however in this case, examining the very flaws of utilitarianism conclusively deems engineered salmon to be unethical. Most notably, the notion of limited knowledge proves too dangerous in regards to toying with the ocean. In fact, even research data spanning centuries would prove insufficient when analyzing ecosystems. Though I lack the preliminary research to pinpoint the historical emergence of ecology as a study, we can determine with certainty that the impact of the human race when measured on the timeline of the universe proves to be infitesimal. Why is this claim relevant to our topic at hand? Well, the answer becomes clear If one were to further divide this lack of knowledge within the confines of relevant ecological data. With this in mind, can unnamed scientists lacking research method transparency accurately project ecological impacts within the next century alone?

This is not to declare utiliarianism strengths as supportive to this cause - in fact the aforementioned conclusion will also be reached. At first glance, a lack of food sources for the ever growing population will seem the most logical motive. With this thought process, countless will be saved from hunger. The crux of this notion is this: the current distribution of food, or lack thereof, cannot solely be attributed to the lack of sustainable food sources. Much as you have done, one must ultimately link this motion to eventual profit to the government or regulating third parties involved; not necessarily linked to the individual consumer. To paraphrase your post once more: the basics of demand and supply cannot be used to highlight the benefits of these salmon with certainty. Even if prices were to fall and offer increases, the controlling shareholders of the fishing industry will shift from the many to the few. For example, fishing villages relying on fish as a primary source of income will suffer. A very contradiction to the goals of utilitarianism.

In conclusion, as viewed through the lens of utilitarianism, this motion is deemed unethical. Uncommon as it is, the flaws of this framework prove most effective in demonstrating the shortcomings of introducing engineered salmon into the marketplace. In addition, the strengths of utilitarianism cannot directly be applied to this topic without contradiction. One has to wonder, if we are ready to dabble in genetics for the greater good - will this not lead to a favorable outlook on playing with human genetics? The implications would represent a most worrying trend indeed.

Works Cited

Pollack, Andrew. "Genetically Engineered Salmon Approved for Consumption." The New York Times. The New York Times, 19 Nov. 2015. Web. 25 Nov. 2015.

3 years 8 months ago

Hi iAmAnonymous,
I would agree with your argument that these enormous profitable companies seduce their buyers. It leads to companies to even rule on their buyers life and to manipulate them. The companies are fooling and cheating the consumers but the consumers are giving in to this seducing game. Everyone is free. They can decide for themselves. So they are also lying and deceiving themselves. And so, in the deontological perspective, it is ethically immoral from both parts, the major companies and the consumers themselves.

3 years 9 months ago

I didn't realize that become a nurse could face some serious moral problems. I agree with you, and I think maybe sometimes people do not want to divulge the private information of their patients, but their some actions are unintentional. Social media bring us a colourful life and convenient way to achive news, but at same time it brings us some bad effects that we should really pay attention on this problem .

3 years 9 months ago

Your post is really interesting and it is nice to shed some light on what is going on around this world. It caught my attention how racism still exist and it shouldn't even exist. We should all work towards ending racism once in for all. As you were mentioning on your post, Torrence Collier who is eleven years old boy and have been facing struggles throughout his early stages of life. Torrence and any other individuals should never be treated any differently. I personally believe that it can impact their lives mentally and physically. This young boy Torrence was going to commit suicide thinking he shouldn't live anymore because of his skin colour. Should people be treated any different based on their skin colour? Many individuals have been mentally and physically affected because racism and bullying. It has led to many tragic event including suicides. We can possibly solve this dilemma by using the deontological approach. Deontology approach is described as following rules, if you are following them you are ethical and if your not then you are considered unethical. It focuses on the nature of actions. According to Kant’s theory you must follow the universal law. All the teachers should be aware of bullying and racism. They should educate students to never bully and to respect everyone equally. Governments should design new programs to overcome racism and educate the young population on the importance of treating every skin colour with equal respect. Furthermore, I believe that to overcome this issue the parents have to also aid in educating their children as well. If the parents and the schools make these small changes , we can hope for a positive outcome. Racism is happening everywhere in the world and has impacted the life of many. We all want the same thing: a better life for all the kids and children, and a racism-free future for everyone!

3 years 9 months ago

Your article caught my attention because i read "Kitkat bar". I in fact enjoy this chocolate very much. But it is rather grad to hear that Nestlé is taking a stand and does not use 'child labor' to make their delicious chocolate bars. Child labor could be abolished through deontological maxim. Deontology is the normative ethical position that judges the morality of an action based on the action's adherence to a rule or rules. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deontological_ethics

Nestlé has taken a great initiative of setting an example by saying no and stopping child labor. A child should not be forced into working until they have reached legal working age. In Canada, the legal working age for children roughly being around 14 years of age as the minimum requirement. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legal_working_age
All children have the right to their childhood, learn and play. They must develop mentally, physically and socially, appropriately with time. Having a child working at such a young age can be very dangerous and harmful to their overall growth. All industries around the globe should follow Nestlé and the action they have taken against the child labor force. Say no to child labor, it is wrong. If everyone stopped using children as labor we could make a real change in this world.

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