VIGILANT JOURNALISM: ETHICAL AND DEONTOLOGICAL DILEMMAS
Keywords:Journalism, surveillance, deontology, ethics
This papers investigates whether forms of caring surveillance exist in journalism alongside the better known form of threatening surveillance. It explores which ethical and deontological approaches regulate them, and whether journalists, who rightly fear surveillance technology when used to threaten their professional independency, suddenly see it as a useful and beneficial tool when it’s put into use by journalists themselves. Surveillance in journalism has been depicted under an Orwellian aura that implies an inner negativity and malignity. Given the worrisome number of published on the mounting dangers and threats that journalism faces, especially in the digital realm, this scary depiction of surveillance is still dramatically true. Still, forms of surveillance practices daily occur in the exercise of journalism, with journalists regularly using tools and equipment that hold immense intrusive capabilities. While this surveillance capacity is partially regulated by local and international laws, deontological norms lack careful considerations. In the light of the challenges brought arising from the surveillance cultures, do journalists need to review their ethical guidelines for the use of surveillance technology? Is there an uncritical and "self-absolving" approach to its use? Should a debate within their community be stimulated through a bottom-up approach, and foster a new professional culture more aware of the opportunities, dangers and responsibilities connected to such technology? Interviews with journalists attempt to reveal common patterns on how journalists perceive the use of surveillance technology, outlining potential paths for self-regulatory deontological norms produced by the journalistic community itself.