Creative Access host a fantastic masterclass on ethics and the media
Creative Access Autumn masterclasses kicked off with a brilliant session on ethics and the media, which was hosted by the law firm Osborne Clarke. In the aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo attacks, the phone hacking trials and the uncovering of the MP expenses scandal, the way in which the media obtains and reports stories has become an issue of public scrutiny, specifically with regards to their ethical and moral code of practice. Last night’s masterclass session aimed to highlight this and our fantastic panel of experienced industry members did a wonderful job of discussing the delicate subject of ethics in the media.
Kicking off the session was the BBC’s Commissioning Editor for Religion and Head of Religion and Ethics, Aaqil Ahmed, who opened up the discussion by getting our interns to think about how they would act if they were faced with a ethical dilemma at work. He said “When considering ethics, you always need to think, is it the right thing to do and does your audience really need to know about it?”
Next up was George Pitcher who is the Editor-In-Chief at the International Business Times, Contributing Editor at Newsweek Europe, PR Pioneer and an Anglican Priest.
He talked about the some of the ethical threats that the journalism sector is currently facing. From the development of technology to the aggregation of content, George emphasised the importance of ensuring the next generation of journalists address the sector’s ethical problems. He said “there is nothing more important in this world than addressing the way we fix the ethical issues in the media. The more competitive journalism gets, the more some journalists will compromise their morals.”
CNN journalist Urmee Khan was the next panel member to share her experiences. As the former showbiz correspondent at The Daily Telegraph and former investigative reporter at The Guardian, Urmee was on hand to deliver some great first hand anecdotes, including the time she had to camp outside Russell Brand’s house during “Sachsgate” for two weeks in a cold December to get a quote. Urmee said “When you’re faced with an ethical issue as a journalist, you have to be transparent and convince people that you can present a story in a balanced and fair way.”
Finally, Adrian Bott, who is a partner at Osbourne Clarke and Head of their Digital Business Division, closed the session by going through where the law stands on ethics within the media. From the issues surrounding privacy and phone hacking, through to the development of technology and how social media is used in harassment cases, Adrian offered a fascinating insight into the potential legal ramifications if it is proved that the media has acted in an unethical way. Adrain said “We are not able to be more intrusive in people’s private lives because the case may be of public interest. Unfortunately, the law is really struggling to keep up with the technological consequences and ethics.”
The evening ended with a lovely networking session with the speakers and our interns and we would like to say a massive thanks to all our speakers who contributed to a fantastic evening.
- Aaqil Ahmed, Commissioning Editor Religion and Head of Religion & Ethics, BBC
- Adrian Bott, Partner and Head of Digital Business Division, Osborne Clarke
- George Pitcher, Editor-In-Chief International Business Times, Contributing Editor, Newsweek Europe, PR Pioneer and Anglican Priest
- Urmee Khan, CNN journalist (former showbiz correspondent at The Daily Telegraph and investigative reporter at The Guardian)