The Ethics And Social Impacts Of Photojournalism

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Introduction This essay seeks to discuss the ethics and social impacts of journalism practices today. To achieve this, it provides an overview of photojournalism, image manipulation, journalism objectivity and the use of image made by citizen journalists. Similar to editors, writers and news reporters, photojournalists are equally held to a standard of ethics to guide their profession. In the modern media practice, photojournalism refers to the process that entails the gathering, analysing, and disseminating of pictures and images about events, people and issues in the society (Vakkai, 2014). In other words, photojournalism primarily denotes communication through pictures to provide a description, narration and explanation of what is occurring,…show more content…
In photojournalism, the notion of ethics is relatively complex and challenged by a myriad of concerns. Whilst the adoption of codes of ethics to guide the digital photography seeks to control image manipulation and its effects on journalism and the society, the actions of image manipulation contradicts the fundamental call for journalistic objectivity in the photojournalism field (Lester, 2014). Without journalistic objectivity, it is difficult for people to trust the accuracy and integrity of the news images utilised in print and electronic media, and this can mislead the viewers or misrepresent subjects. However, the objectivity ideal has remains relatively challenging in the case of photojournalism based on the cultural status of the viewers or target audience; for instance, where disturbing, graphically violent images are printed (Maenpaa, 2014). As mentioned by Roberts and Webber (2013), the challenged idea of professionalism in amateur photography has continuously undermined opportunities for collaboration between professional and amateurs, and thus journalistic objectivity has evolved to include gate-keeping and control over decision-making in relation to the selection and use of audience visual…show more content…
For photojournalists, citizen journalism can become a crucial source images with high credibility and evidential value to improve the professional public service role of the media. As Roberts and Webber (2013) mentions, the utilisation of citizen eyewitness images has significantly challenged the monopoly of professional photojournalists; the context of amateur news photography has been cited to be relatively distinct. With the rising significance of real-time reporting, the pressure for instant publication may drive media professionals to use images made by amateurs. Accordingly, the increasingly supplementary role of citizen journalists in the contemporary journalism environment has to a large extent contributed to breakdown of established standards in conventional media (Lester, 2014). In the context of photojournalism, while the absence of professional skills in amateur photography remains a key issue of concern, the use of eyewitness material during notable global events such as the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the US, the South Asian Tsunami in 2004, the London Bombings in 2005, the Charlie Hebdo terrorist attacks, recent Ebola crisis in west Africa, and many others cannot be under-estimated. The involvement of ordinary people in news gathering and distribution prior to professional photographers is a common occurrence in disaster situations, and hence amateur

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