When approaching ethics we inevitably encounter philosophy – at least its landmarks – and we are led to a terrain of contradictions, which offers few simple “right answers”. But that is precisely what makes media ethics intellectually stimulating. It is much less interesting and challenging to study concepts in an abstract and static world than to wrestle with the three dilemmas that I highlight in my introduction to the special issue of European Journal of Communication on media ethics (Nordenstreng 1995c): universal vs. particular, individualism vs. communitarianism, freedom vs. control. Kaarle Nordenstreng, The structural context of media ethics (2000)
What is the relation of the media power to the people’s power? Taking freedom of speech as a basic principle, the task of the media, and of journalism in particular, is to serve the people and not those who wield power, be that power political or economic. Thus, in Galtung's figure the media should be located closer to the Civil Society. It is not healthy for the cause of democracy that the media should move from the political camp to the economic camp and remain the tool of those elites in society, while the people continue on their own path as consumers and spectators. Nordenstreng, 2000.
1. What do I know? What do I need to know? 2. What is my journalistic purpose? 3. What are my ethical concerns? 4. What organizational policies and professional guidelines should I consider? 5. How can I include other people, with different perspectives and diverse ideas, in the decision-making process? 6. Who are the stakeholders -- those affected by my decision? What are their motivations? Which are legitimate? 7. What if the roles were reversed? How would I feel if I were in the shoes of one of the stakeholders? 8. What are the possible consequences of my actions? Short term? Long term? 9. What are my alternatives to maximize my truthtelling responsibility and minimize harm? 10. Can I clearly and fully justify my thinking and my decision? To my colleagues? To the stakeholders? To the public?