ethics in communication

A good example of the role of normativity in ethical questions of power relates to the questions of national and world languages. The area of justice provides yet another means by which power interrelates with communication ethics. As a branch of philosophy, ethics concerns questions about what makes some actions right and some wrong in a given context. Communication is one of the most basic of human activities, a process by which we engage ourselves with others for understanding, for cooperation, and the accomplishment of a variety of goals. Rather than theorizing an ethics based in individual character, duty, outcome, or interest, dialogic ethics locates the ethical in the intersubjective sphere of communicative relationships between and among persons. Communication, Ethics, and Society In the work of DeFleur the portraying of content in the media determines the extent in which the same will be accepted by the media (78).This is to mean that if content is relayed in the wrong way by the media, it is easily erased from the minds of the audience. To be an ethical communicator means to practice being truthful, honest and accurate in communications. Thus, issues of communicative competence are not ethically neutral but can in fact become political means of social stratification employing linguistic, discursive, and social norms. Communication ethics focus primarily on duties, obligations, rights, and responsibilities.The National Communication Association believes that ethical behavior is a hallmark of. Ethics gives us a guide to what is acceptable and what is not acceptable. 5. Ostensibly, “whistleblowing happens when ethical discourse becomes impossible, when acting ethically is tantamount to becoming a scapegoat” (Alford, 2001, p. 36). In the context of a religious setting, for example, reasoning based on tradition and authority might take precedence over reasoning based on compassion and care. The implications of exclusive usage and public acceptance of English-only policies and laws involve a constellation of ethical questions ranging from access to recognition (in terms of citizenship, voting, education, courts, medical care, etc.). The relational thread of communication ethics calls upon us to never lose sight of the radical alterity, or otherness, of the other. Other forms of the power of force can be seen in the selective aggregation of “big data” by media and Internet conglomerates, or the everyday silencing, censorship, coercion, compulsion, confession, diagnosis, interrogation, negation, marginalization, repression, and prohibition that occur in workplaces, schools, governments, and other organizations where force overtly and covertly serves power (Fairfield & Shtein, 2014; Nunan & Di Domenico, 2013). In the case of hate speech, for example, the values of free speech bump up against the values of freedom from intimidation, harassment, and violation. When communication ethics examines concerns of power, it also explores how struggles over meaning and meaning making are always in dialogue with past and present discourses and regimes of power. CCO Public Domain Ethics refers to a set of rules that describes acceptable conduct in society. Codes and credos can also interfere with individual ethical agency and decision-making by removing from conscious awareness the need for vigilant attention to ethical issues that may be hidden. A host of other issues, such as censorship, omission, bias, confidentiality, deception, libel, misrepresentation, slander, and witness, have long been central to ethical concerns in journalism. Ethics in Communication Many people assume that in a conversation, we had to use ethics to appreciate and respect the other person. Developed at a time when access to education and the democratic process was shifting from elites to the masses, these scholars focused on speech education as a means to develop moral excellence in psychological, cognitive, and communicative terms they traced to the classical canon of rhetoric, such as the great Roman teacher/scholar Quintilian’s definition of rhetoric as “the good man speaking well” (Quintilian, 2006). In the 1980s and 1990s, communication scholars affiliated with what was then the Speech Communication Association (now the National Communication Association) inaugurated the first communication ethics commission and, subsequently, the first national conference on ethics (Arnett, Bell, & Fritz, 2010). Even the 18th-century American political virtues of Jeffersonian democracy (inscribed in the Declaration of Independence as life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness) derive in part from the Aristotelian idea of eudaimonia, the happiness caused by living a virtuous life. Instead of “What ought I to do?” communication ethics compels us to ask, “How ought I to respond?” It takes up concerns about how, in the absence of a universal, overarching ethical perspective in today’s world, we can best live together amidst often incommensurable differences. Thus, unlike a Habermasian discourse ethics of the ideal speech situation, where interlocutors are instructed to “bracket status differentials and deliberate as if they were social equals,” (Fraser, 1994, p. 117), or a Rawlsian theory of justice, which asks interlocutors to deliberate behind a “veil of ignorance,” alterity deliberately invites and acknowledges difference, acknowledging that each of us arrive “on the scene” of communication with different histories, traditions, values, and experiences. In short, communication ethics concerns the discernment of the good, seeking to balance the competing values, needs, and wants of multiple constituencies inhabiting pluralistic democracies. Historically communication ethics arose in conjunction with concerns related to print media, so that it requires work to extend the original developments to the more prominent digital technologies. As she noted in her classic treatise On Lying, Sissela Bok argues that few if any human groups, organizations, institutions, or states could succeed without the background assumptions of truthfulness (Bok, 1979). )In class we learned about how certain communication technologies have an impact on civic engagement and may even move people to work for social justice. Influenced in part by Alasdair MacIntyre’s neo-Aristotlean work, “After Virtue,” as well as Jürgen Habermas’s discourse ethics, public sphere theory, and theory of communicative action, scholars in the last part of the 20th and first part of the 21st century became increasingly interested in ethical questions pertaining to truth conditions in political discourse, such as journalism, political rhetoric, and discourse in the public sphere (Baynes, 1994; Ettema & Glasser, 1988). In the Aristotelian sense, then, ethics are a human activity rather than a creed, principle, or goal. Utilitarianism, associated with the 18th-century British philosophies of John Stuart Mill and Jeremy Bentham, theorizes that we are ethically bound to do what is best for the most people.

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