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Impartiality Essay Example
“…Due impartiality Lies at the heart of the BBC. All programs and services should be open minded, fair and show a respect for truth… The BBC applies due impartiality to all its broadcasting and services, both to domestic and international audiences…”
From “The BBC’s Charter”
Impartiality is very important for everybody, particularly for reporters. Practically, everyone aims to achieve impartiality but only a few can do this. From the philosophical point of view impartiality is a dualistic notion and it is not always and not by everybody perceived as something positive. On the one hand, impartiality is good because, for example, it provides for the audience an objective representation of this or that event or also it gives a possibility to regard the same problem from different standpoints. On the other hand, impartiality may be negative, for example, a serial killer, who is definitely seriously ill, may choose his victims among those who are the most resembling to his favorite celebrity. His choice may be quite impartial because he may choose his victims taking into account to what extent their occupation, appearance, habits, etc. are close to those of the celebrity but such impartiality has nothing in common with a desirable moral impartiality. Nonetheless, people representing different occupations should avoid such extreme but still I strongly believe that impartiality is necessary for journalists, reporters or presenters in order to give an objective highlighting of events or discussion of some ideas or problems.
Actually, there are a lot of reasons which explain the necessity of being impartial but it is not so easy to realize such intentions. In terms of example I would analyze the situation with one of the most widely spread broadcasting companies – the BBC. It is a very authoritative company but it also couldn’t be objective one hundred percent. Moreover, specialists state that the BBC is quite subjective in some questions that is proved by recent researches. These researches revealed the fact that in the coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict the company’s reporters tend to pro-Palestinian position that, without any doubt, do not permit to receive objective and real, in broader sense of this word, information about the conflict, its roots and probable solution. It becomes particularly obvious when we compare the reports about actions of coalition troops in Iraq and Israeli army, which, actually, deal with similar problems, that make think about a sort of discrimination of Israel from the part of the BBC. By the way, many experts consider the highlighting of Iraqi war by some British and American mass media as partial and not objective.
Nowadays, it is evident that TV and other mass media may be a very convenient mean of propaganda or at least promotion of certain ideas and views. The latter should be avoided by all means if we want to sustain a democratic society. Consequently, reporters or presenters should strive for impartiality if we want to develop as a highly democratic society. That is why, I am going to present some conceptual ideas about what should be done to provide the audience for impartial reports and TV programs (though I don’t know to what extent these ideas will be impartial). Firstly, it is necessary to underline that all programs or reports of different genres must represent as wide range of ideas and opinions as possible. In other words, impartiality must become the basis of any broadcasting company or any other mass media regardless the problems it deals with because, practically always, there are at least two views on one and the same problem or event and all of them must be presented by reporters. That is why I think that it would be better if reporters or presenters didn’t express their own opinion on current affairs whether international or national.
Then, factual programs may concern any problem and they can choose any subject to explore. Moreover, I think that they may present arguments of one side but only on the condition that it will remain fair and impartial that could be provided by non-discriminating or misleading of opposing views and opinions. Anyway, any program must tend to the presentation of all views either in this very program or in some link programs what the audience must be informed about. The same may be said about series of programs that must be either accompanied by a follow-up discussion program or it must be well planned and present a wide spectrum of views and opinions through out the series.
As for the news programs, I think their impartiality is of paramount importance because they inform people and the way they do this will often define the public opinion about different events and affairs in the society and the world. Consequently, any personal views of presenters should be absolutely forbidden, particularly on all controversial moments of public affairs. They must just present information and fact as they are without any emotional and subjective impacts. Also we shouldn’t forget about all other programs and reports for which the demand of impartiality remains sustained.
Finally, I want to say that for me, in person, the notion of a good reporter, TV program or company, as well as newspaper, will always associate with impartiality. Certainly, it can be done only if mass media are independent from any political or financial power. Otherwise, it will be impossible to realize the main democratic principles of freedom of speech that, in its turn, will make mass media a mean for achieving aims of different political or financial groups. Thus, impartiality must be the cornerstone of the ideology of all sorts of mass media companies as well as it should be a moral norm of any reporter who is a really self-respecting professional whose aim is to give people objective presentation not only of current affairs but also of any event, idea or viewpoint that appears in the world regardless national, religious, or any other aspects, and his personal opinion. But, at the same time, it doesn’t necessarily mean that he hasn’t got the right to express his personal views. He may do it if it doesn’t contradict to the principles of impartiality and objectivity and if it permits the audience to form its own viewpoint on the problem.
1.Darwall, Stephen L. (1983). Impartial Reason. Cornell University Press.
2.O’Neil, Shane. (1997). Impartiality in Context. State University of New York Press.
3.Wiggings, David. (1978). Universalizability, Impartiality, Truth. In Needs, Values, Truth. Oxford University Press.