Published October 2, 2007
I took part in a rousing three-hour forum on media ethics at De La Salle Lipa last week; there were so many questions we didn’t have time to answer them all. I had described a journalist’s fundamental moral obligation as one of fidelity — to the situation (or the news event), to the “language” of journalism (the craft), ultimately to the journalist’s conscience. One question, in particular, stood out, not least because it conflated all three dimensions.
A discussion on the sensational coverage of the seven-year-old girl found dead and stuffed in a suitcase reflected the dilemma that I said many journalists experience when they handle rape stories or stories about minors. Inevitably I made a reference to the “Nicole” case, where the name of the victim was protected. This led one student by the name of Kristine to ask: Why name minors who are rape victims just because they are dead?
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