Ethics of Photojournalism

What distinguishes Photojournalism from other closer genres of Photography, such as Documentary and Street photography, is the ethical framework in which it operates. Professional practice of Journalism is held to a standard of ethics that rule the publication of writers, editors and photojournalists. Visual imagery is a powerful tool for communication and has the ability to reach audience emotionally and directly. With this power comes ethical responsibility to offer truthful and accurate representation of subjects to the audience. This ethical framework is continuously developing over time following the evolvement of social and legal policies as well as technological developments of the photographic medium.

International news agencies and media associations have set strong ethical framework and guidelines to secure the core value of objectivity and public service. It is an effort to maintain the credibility of the textual and visual content both in individual and institutional level. More specifically photojournalist’s role is strictly to document his subject without trying to alter it by any means before or after taking photographs. Editor’s ethical concerns to publish photographic and textual material focus on authenticity, privacy and reader’s sensitivity. In addition media associations have to keep a substantial pressure to their employees in order to operate under the ethical agenda of Journalism.

However modern technology and world wide web threaten these principles and also the dynamic role of newsroom and print sector. Nowadays online “journalistic” material is published 24/7 , leaving enough space for misrepresentations and manipulation of the audience having at the same time a huge impact on profession’s credibility and deontology. Probably technology will be once again the main factor of influence upon the codes of ethics which afterall due to their normative value shape the integrity of Journalistic practice.

In the links below you can see in detail all the ethical codes that world wide news agencies apply to their professional practice.

Link 1: The Associated Press

Link 2: The Gurdian