2012 Abstracts Stage 3

“The News We Kept to Ourselves”. Can the Media Ever be Justified in Withholding Information?

Maya Verber, 2012, Stage 3

This project is an investigation into when, if ever the media can be justified in WITHHOLDING INFORMATION. This is a question PECULIAR TO OUR TIME, given the fact that the press now possesses MORE FREEDOM than ever before. The implications of the 2000 Freedom of Information Act, the recent PHONE HACKING SCANDAL and the 2011 controversy over the use of SUPER INJUNCTIONS all mean that what the media should do has become TOPIC OF CONSTANT DEBATE. I examined the ethical thought of both DEONTOLOGICAL and CONSEQUENTIALIST thinkers. KANT’S answer seems to be that media deception CANNOT BE JUSTIFIED under any circumstances, on the basis that it will always involve treating someone as the MEANS TO AN END. The UTILITARIAN argument is more forgiving and can justify a lie of omission in some circumstances. These two answers CONTRADICT each other. As such, I moved on to a more MODERN ANSWER, in the form of FOUCAULT and argued that a newspaper can be considered a discourse and as such, can set its OWN STANDARDS OF TRUTH.

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