A criminological exploration of media ethics in South African Broadcasting Corporation: case studies of KwaZulu-Natal Province.
Hlongwa, Nontobeko Faith Eustancia.
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Media keep us informed about societal issues around us including crime and as such, they enable the broadcasting of criminal cases in many ways. One of these ways is the broadcasting of court proceedings, where the offender comes into contact with the accuser and faces the law which they have broken. Media are responsible for providing the public with truthful information that does not promote any hidden agendas and that is viewer friendly. Honest and truthful information can only be observed if media houses and journalists ensure that they abide by media ethics. These are the rules and principles that govern and guide journalists in their presentation of information without the audience becoming victims of falsehoods and misleading information. Using a thorough investigative research, this study aims at investigating and assessing media ethics in terms of covering criminal cases when it comes to radio broadcasting. The study also aims at establishing the exact codes of ethics that must be followed and their procedures before the actual broadcasting occurs. This research reviews the past literature as well as gaining more insights into the issue under discussion from the participants who work as journalists or editors. The study also theoretically links the topic to the Social Responsibility Theory, the Representation Theory, the Social Control Theory as well as the Authoritarian Theory. To further explain the linkage among these theories, a quantitative approach is applied as the methodology. The data analysis approach is also applied to ascertain whether the adopted methodology generates the desired findings regarding media ethics that are applied by journalists in their broadcast of criminal cases. In addition the findings of the research revealed that journalist were aware that media ethics exist, most the participants highlighted that the importance of media ethics was to not only protect themselves as journalist but the audience as a whole, the findings indicated that there are regulatory bodies that governed radio stations , the most common being the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa and the broadcasting complaints commission of South Africa. This study has revealed that there are still loop holes when it comes to broadcast and there is not a lot of punitive measures that are put in place to ensure that journalist are abiding not only to ethical procedure but to the constitution as a whole.