Media ethics is an elusive topic that will change from medium to medium from the audience to audience and from person to person. Thus, I cannot write this paper from the perspective of right and wrong (MARLIN 2002, pg34). Whenever a group of individuals is posing some power to influence the lives of others, ethical obligations becomes domineering. Ethical issues are imperative in considering different courses of action, and as a potential for targeting customers with “ green” related products. I always believe that the mass media wield considerable power over the way society lives.
As Rory Sutherland (President of the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising) states; “ The truth is that marketing raises enormous ethical questions every day— at least it does if you’ re doing it right. If this were not the case, the only possible explanations are either that you believe marketers are too ineffectual to make any difference, or you believe that marketing activities only affect people at the level of conscious argument. Neither of these possibilities appeals to me. I would rather be thought of as evil than useless” (MARLIN 2002, pg23). Hence the ultimate power that the mass media has forces and obliges them to work within ethical parameters.
It is worth noting that ethical obligations in mass media communication are aimed at ensuring order in the media industry so that our lives become flourishing, worth living and successful (SHEEHAN 2004, pg21). Every advertisement is intended to persuade people to take some action hence much sensitivity revolves around the product, strategies, and tactics used in persuading. Three specific moral principles of advertisement include: respect truthfulness, respect the dignity of human person and respect social responsibilities.
It is worth noting that there are almost no national laws regarding advertising (SHEEHAN 2004, pg90). The advertising is, therefore, a self-regulated industry although FCC does regulate the media which advertising is communicated.
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