With the constant scandals surrounding all forms of media, we need a charter that is adhered to by all outlets – newspapers, magazines, television, radio, agencies, photographers, etc. and yet at the same time allows freedom of discussion, opinion and debate.
The charter should include the following elements:
- Reporting which is based on facts, which can be verified and based on a number of different kind of sources so as to provide a balanced and fair copy;
- News programmes report on a balanced mixture of regional and international stories covering all continents, showing ‘good’ and ‘bad’ events, as well as items on the main issues of the day as far as people in different countries see them – not politicians or broadcasters – and seeking a balanced viewpoint from the many sides of an argument;
- All stories are to have a follow-up on a regular basis and programmes produced to try and give a balanced and fair overview of the bigger issues surrounding a news item (and included in the main news);
- People stories and other instances of real achievement from around the world should be a regular feature, especially of those not well known in the west;
- Political stories and those of so-called ‘celebrities” should only be included in passing if of a wider issue, so as to not put people off politics nor focus on non-issues such as whether someone has been arrested for drink-driving;
- Investigative reporting should be done in an integral way such that dubious methods such as telephone hacking and invasion of people’s privacy do not take place;
- All photographs, filming and interviews are shown for the wider context of a story and just for impact, and should show appropriate respect to any victims involved, alive or dead.
I do hope the media in all its variety will clean up its act and help the general public to understand the world in all its complexity in a fair and balanced and truthful way.
One thing that would help obtain a standard of trustworthiness is to have reporters not just reporting from capital cities but also from other parts of a country, looking not just for the ‘bad’ stories, but also stories of achievement in the most unlikely places!