Morality and journalists: objectivity versus duty of care
Leshilo, Thabo Maphike
In this research report I address the question: Do journalists have a moral duty towards those they report on beyond the objectivity requirement of their job? I use the famous example of freelance photojournalist Kevin Carter and his iconic photograph of a starving Sudanese child, seemingly on death’s door and being stalked by a vulture. He was roundly condemned for shooting the image but doing nothing to save the child’s life. I examine this classic example of the observance of the journalistic standard of objectivity and non-intervention, against the Kantian imperative to respect human life. I contrast this with two examples in which, in my view, journalists acted correctly in terms of Kantian ethics by putting human life above their own, narrow professional roles and interests.
A research report submitted to the Faculty of Humanities, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts, Applied Ethics for Professionals, Johannesburg 2018
Leshilo, Thabo Maphike (2018) Morality and journalists: objectivity versus duty of care, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, <http://hdl.handle.net/10539/27227>