Media Ethics (Section 07)

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 ethically neutral 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 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 a reflection paper, program-related posts to be made on an educational networking site called newsactivist.com, and a position paper and formal debate about WikiLeaks.

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5 années 6 mois ago

Giving friendship and affection to people which rarely receive these things because of their disorders, you must almost feel like a super hero. By giving happiness to others, not only do you help these people feel more confident and positive about themselves, you also give happiness towards yourself too. You even get new friends by volunteering with Parrainage Champlain! I find it very respectable that you've decided to give your time to help people like Amélie to feel happy and less alone in our society. The fact that one of your family members has down syndrome must've been quite a source of your determination to be able to give other people with disabilities the love they rarely or never received. The already strong experience that you've had with people with disorders is clearly shown in this post because not many people would offer to help these people in need, which is obviously a problem that should've been solved yesterday. I truly think that what you've done, even if it was for one person and it may have seemed small, was maybe one of the biggest things you could've done to help a person!

5 années 6 mois ago

Reading your post is a good reminder to the reality of islamophobia and gender inequality that is present in our society. By participating as a volunteer in Justice Femme, you were able to face this reality by meeting a real victim of islamophobia, Hanane Mehdi. By listening to her voice and by sharing your experience with this non-profit organization on various social media and on this website, people will surely take the issue at hand more seriously, especially yourself as you were present at the conference and you have more knowledge on the situation than most people now. Also, it is really good that you have shared a video. Now, other people will be able to have the opportunity to understand a bit more how women that are affected by this kind of racism and inequality feel. Simply viewing the video is a sign of participation made by the community. Your post caught my interest because it reminded me about another issue that involves racism and gender inequality that i have written about recently. It may not relate directly with the issue of islamophobia that you've written in this post, but it does show how this kind of racism and sexism can affect a women in terms of education: http://newsactivist.com/en/articles/flacks-newsactivist-winter-2015-comp...
This link in relevant because it introduces another issue that can come along with the problem you've written about in your post as a volunteer.

5 années 6 mois ago

Interesting and enlightening, this article gives hope that peace may someday be achieved. I could not agree more with what Dallaire suggests in his novels. It is imperative for the U.N to take a stand against the brutality of warfare and rid the world of child soldiers. Furthermore, the article makes a great point by stating that it is humanities moral obligation eliminate such cruelty. Indeed, I would stress the deontological and Kantian principles lurking behind the idea of peacekeeping. It is the world’s moral duty to preserve peace and to protect its inhabitants. Other moral frameworks, however, must not be forgotten. In fact, it would be great to add a paragraph concerning the morality of peacekeeping from a utilitarian and teleological perspective. These missions benefit the greater good of our community while the principle and summum bonum of global peace is ethically just. Lastly, while I am fully in line with the idea of increasing the U.N’s peacekeeping activity throughout the world, it is important to address the failures and vulnerabilities of these tactics in order to effectively strengthen your position and ultimately prove your opinion on the matter is justified. This paper could be greatly strengthened by illustrating how Canada increased its amount of soldiers while simultaneously decreasing their involvement in peacekeeping missions throughout the war in Afghanistan and the possibly negative outcomes this had on the war. Another way to validate your position is to mention Canada’s success in peacekeeping during the Suez crisis, the event that granted our nation its reputation as the world’s peacekeeper. Overall, I believe Dallaire’s story accurately reflects the need to shift U.N’s global policy towards one that views peacekeeping as a priority. It remains, however, imperative to dismiss contradictory evidence and justify these claims through the various ethical frameworks existing in today’s society. Global peace is humanities dream and this article provides the initiative to make that dream a reality.

5 années 6 mois ago

I really like how you explained the issue. I completely agree with your conclusion because I find it true that people must ‘know their body’ in order to exercise in a safe way. In effect, over-exercising is not only scientifically-proven to be bad for your body, but it is unethical from a teleological point of view. Teleology (from the Greek ‘telos’ meaning ends) is a theory of ethics which determines an action ethical by evaluating the ends. In this case, the result people want is to be healthy, strong, and achieve that ideal body physique. However, over-exercising has more negative consequences than positive ones; the body is working out without the sufficient rest it needs in order for it to regrow, repair, and replace all types of cells. As well, the “do-it-yourself” tendency is unethical because performing physical exercises without the proper technique can lead to torn, pulled, and sprained muscles. Even though the intent is to become healthy, the consequences are quite serious. For this reason, over-exercising is unethical from a teleological perspective.

5 années 6 mois ago

I really enjoyed reading your post about obesity. Especially since there has been a huge increase of obesity and diseases related to it in such a short period of time. You included statistics that I find quite alarming; the number of men and women who are overweight doubled in a period of 20 years. Also that the number of people that take part of physical activity has decreased incredibly. It is clear that something nationwide must be done. You also brought up an interesting argument from a journalist who believes that help from communities would be one of the solutions to decrease obesity. However, a great way to make your post stronger would be to evaluate and use arguments from the teleological perspective. Here is a website that will give you a proper definition of teleology: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teleology. The Sommum Bonum, the end goal, would be to have the greatest good for the greatest number of people. Here the Sommum Bonum would be to lower the percentage of obesity. They would do so with the help of communities.

5 années 6 mois ago

I really enjoyed reading your post on the lack of exercise in our everyday lives, it is important to be aware of the changes that are occurring in people’s everyday lives.In evaluating the issue concerning the growth of obesity amongst a population, I believe that your post truly captured the consequences of an increasingly inactive population. However, in considering the reason for why the obesity levels have increased, I do believe that a part of this has to do with calorie intake as well. With the emergence of technology, individuals have found easier ways to accomplish previously difficult tasks. Furthermore, when considering the social media’s part to the issue, the new trend is to post countless pictures of a their meals whether its on instagram, tumblr, pinterest or Facebook you see something new everyday. With so many photos of food being spread, we can conclude there may be a shift in eating habits from 1988 to 2010. People should start to be more energetic and active in order to stop the bad habits that have been occurring, if this continues who knows what will happen in the next coming years. As obesity is increasingly becoming more prevalent in todays world we should try to incorporate different programs and messages to ensure a change.

5 années 6 mois ago

I find this subject of freedom of expression and privacy quite interesting as it has become a topic that resulted in a vast amount of polarized opinions. Furthermore, the emergence of WikiLeaks and ex-officials such Edward Snowden have underlined not only the need to address the issue of privacy of the individual but also the ethics behind the concepts of privacy and freedom of expression. The acknowledgement of Charlie Hebdo is a stellar example of the conflict between freedom of expression and privacy because the event itself can be seen as a reason for the French Government to crackdown on privacy and legislate anti-privacy laws which would justify security activities the government indulges in. Also the event undermines freedom of expression as it questions whether the concept allows for the mockery, caricature and potentially the stigmatization of a religion such as Islam. Although you suggest that the subject of privacy and freedom of expression can be analyzed through the scopes of political science, history, and psychology, it can also be analyzed through the scope of ethics as it begs the question whether the legislations that limit freedom of expression and privacy are morally justified. The mentioned Canadian legislation that prohibits the expression of religious views can be seen morally unjustifiable as it violates the fundamental rights of an individual to express and practice freely their religion. On the other hand, it can be seen as morally justifiable as, from a utilitarian perspective, it can be viewed as doing more good than harm by diminishing the threat of a terrorist attack or uprising thus ensuring security of its citizens.

5 années 6 mois ago

This article is strong in terms of explaining the recent events that have occurred in the conflict in Mali. I found the specific examples of casualties that you provided to be extremely useful in understanding the scale of the problem. However, the article can be improved even further if you were to make your argument for the duty of other countries to send more aid and troops to Mali. As you mentioned, since the conflict began in Mali, several peacekeepers have been killed or wounded by attacks made by the extremists. At the same time, this also means that the various countries involved are becoming more hesitant to send in troops due to the possible level of danger posed to their troops. Citizens of those countries may also oppose involvement because the conflict is in Africa, far away from where they live. To respond, you could say that, from a deontological perspective, people have the moral obligation to obey certain principles. In this case, people have the duty to stop needless bloodshed whenever they can. Specifically, Immanuel Kat proposed the categorical imperative, which states that one should always do that which one wills everyone should do. Thus, if all the countries currently involved sends in more aid and troops to Mali, the conflict can be contained or even resolved more quickly. Hence, your article is already very informative, but can be made even more convincing if you had used ethics arguments to back up your points.

5 années 6 mois ago

This article is strong in terms of explaining the difference between long-term homelessness and transitional homelessness. I found the statistics that you provided to be useful in understanding the scale of the homelessness problem in Canada. However, the article can be improved even further if you were to make your argument for the duty of the average citizen to help homeless people. As you mentioned, the 2008 recession increased the number of transitional homeless people. This also means that the economy overall became more strained compared to before, and citizens might feel that the money, either in the form of personal savings or in the form of tax dollars, could be better used on other areas of public interest. In response, you could say that, according to the deontological framework in ethics, people have certain moral obligations that they must always fulfill. In this case, people have a duty to help those less fortunate than them in whatever way that they can. Specifically, Immanuel Kant proposed the categorical imperative, which states that one should always do what one wills that everyone should do. Indeed, to combat homelessness, if every citizen contributed by donating according to their means, as if it were a universal law, then society would make much progress towards reducing homelessness in Canada. Thus, you could have used ethics arguments to call for action, which would have made your article much more persuasive. Overall, though, it is still very informative and convincing.

5 années 6 mois ago

I agree with the concern you have about the Kardashian family but I feel that Bruce’s “stunt” isn’t done to promote his family’s’ show “keeping up the Kardashians”. I think that he is expressing himself through the use of his well-known name to bring awareness about an important subject. Since Bruce is always in the public eye, it’s a great opportunity for him to do some good in the world and spread awareness about an injustice. With the use of the Utilitarianism approach, doing the greatest good for the greatest number of people, Bruce is exposing himself to the public for everyone to judge and scrutinize him for the greater good of society. By using his power to educate and raise awareness about transgender terms. He brings a lot of hope to others in the same situation, who are to scared to come out find guidance. Not only that but to also educate the society about the oppression and injustices they have received. Although many people find the idea of transgender as abnormal and is frowned upon, Bruce Jenner is bringing out an important issue in the hopes that people in today’s society start accepting them as equals and nothing different. Many people consider him a role model because of his inspirational story.

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