CHALLENGING THE INTEGRITY OF THE MEDIA – The old saying goes; ‘You can’t trust anything you read in the papers’, appears to be what most people think is true. What does this statement and the public’s perception say about today’s journalism? Is any of it really worth reading?
I have been criticized on more than one occasion about articles I have written, but as I have always maintained I’m not a journalist; and I have never tried to disguise the fact. My writing may appeal to some but for the purists it’s often viewed as unintelligent clap-trap.
That’s fine with me, everyone is entitled to a voice and have their opinions heard and I have never once deleted a derogatory comment. I set meebal.com up with the intention of voicing my opinions and welcoming anyone to do the same by submitting their articles and views on almost any topic they like.
I often find that journalist simply stick to the facts without expressing their personal views. Obviously large news agencies have to be careful about what is printed to avoid prosecution or a civil lawsuit. However, this practice often makes for a very boring read – most often articles lack conviction or passion.
When it comes to trusting the press, especially in the UK at this time, people appear to approach the media with suspicious trepidation and this is mainly due to the recent ‘phone hacking’ scandal; which caused the collapse of the News of the World operated and owned by Rupert Murdoch.
It was, without question, a most unprofessional approach to getting at the ‘inside story’ but the result has severely damaged the reputation of journalists worldwide. Due to the discovery of the phone hacking a lengthy inquiry ensued which produced the Leveson Report; which in turn is now being used against the press in order to form some type of ‘regulatory body’. Many news organisations and journalists are currently fighting attempts to create such an entity as it is perceived this is nothing less than an attempt, by the Government, to shackle or even silence the press.
The Government, are without doubt, treading on very even ground as freedom of the press and freedom of expression advocates voice their concerns over democracy.
While the press may not always get it right (that’s a bit tongue in cheek) we should never forget that they do at least have the power to enlighten us with facts and figures and more often than not our Governments would get way with an awful lot more if they didn’t have the press looking over their shoulders.
People just have to accept the fact that the press is flawed, in many respects, but what isn’t in our society? While it may be flawed we do have the right to question and challenge their integrity, as was the case with the Leveson Inquiry. However, gagging, shackling or worse silencing the press is no answer, regardless to what Hugh Grant might have you believe.
Now I quite like Hugh Grant, in the sense that he is entertaining enough on the big screen, but Hugh, like many others have over stepped their area of expertise and while I am sure he is extremely angry and upset over the phone hacking scandal, to which he was a victim, he really shouldn’t be making rash decisions while in a state of anger; especially when the wider consequences are directed at our right to be heard and the foundations of democracy.
While I have had a number of readers accuse me of little more than bashing the keyboard, there are others who have sent messages of encouragement – some people find my open, honest and plain writing rather quite refreshing. Again, it’s about personal taste and views, but at least I, or anyone else, is currently able to scribble their thoughts and publish them with ease.
News, for me at least, is about reporting something but in a way that my readers are able to determine my views; whether they are right or wrong in the eyes of the reader. I perceive that this adds to the integrity of my articles due to their open and honest approach.
We should of course continue to question the integrity of journalism as this is the only way in which journalists can improve on their approach in writing and delivering news that does provide the public with factual information.