REPORTING THE TRUTH VS MINIMIZING HARM

According to the Media Council Act, Journalist are required to seek and report truth, minimize harm in what they report, act independently and be accountable. So to what extent should Journalists tell the truth in order to minimize harm?

Corruption is one of the biggest vices in Kenya. It’s screaming in the headlines to the point where (I believe) Kenyans partially suspect that every single person that gets into power could easily slip into this vice. As journalists, it’s our duty to uncover and expose every form of this vice in the country but of course there are times when we are faced with conflicting situations especially when the truth could cause more harm then good. So what should a journalist do when faced with such a situation?

If a particular truth is going to put somebody’s life at stake I don’t think the journalist should expose it. I guess this is obvious to many of you but what if it is corruption for a humanitarian cause? Maybe you find that a particular individual, probably a Minister is embezzling funds of let’s say a Rotary club, and being the journalist you are you approach him on the matter and he tells you that he is only ‘borrowing’ it to pay for his church’s daycare which will collapse if he doesn’t meet its financial needs and that he will repay it back in two weeks. So hearing this, should I just jump unto my computer and just type this matter because anyways I would be doing justice to do so?

Personally, I think I would analyze the situation more especially if the Minister seemed genuine. So before I put him in the news, I would give him time to return the money within the time in which he promised to do so. If he fails to do so I’ll then have no choice but to report his doing.

I conclude by saying that the aspect of minimizing harm is very important for every journalist to consider when reporting news to the public.

Those are my thoughts what are yours?

 

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