When campaigning journalism backfires

A decision by an Australian court that an accused paedophile must be set free because he could not get a fair trial sent a clear warning about the limits of campaigning journalism in free societies. While the media play a vital role in exposing crimes and corruption, we are just one of the four pillars holding up western democracies. Independent courts are another and it pays not to cross them without a very good reason. Read More

Dilemma of receiving lost documents

Finders keepers? A highly sensitive, controversial, confidential document found on a train seat or cafe table is every journalist’s dream, presenting the possibility of a scoop of a lifetime. But it’s not yours, right? Should you give it back unread or publish and be damned? The practical and ethical choices – and the consequences – should give us all pause for thought. Read More

Prince Harry at war

When should the media exercise self-censorship? Reporting when the British Royal Prince Harry was posted to his army unit in the Gulf sparked an international debate about media responsibility when lives might be put at risk. It also contained some useful lessons for the spin doctors on how they should relate to journalists when trust is required from all parties involved. Read More

Journalists killed on duty

Journalism can be a very dangerous business. When we hear that as many as a hundred are killed each year just doing their job, we immediately picture war reporters. But for all the glamour attached to the dangerous lives of front-line correspondents from the western media, most journalists are killed reporting in their own countries, often in oppressive regimes or lawless societies. And the toll continues each year. Read More