laws & Ethics
Updated: Nov 18, 2020
A Photojournalists code of conduct.
The First Amendment
~Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.~
I love to tell stories. I love to show perspectives of people who may have a different point of view than the majority. I love to challenge thoughts and ideas by provoking conversations and open communication. But in being a Photojournalist my biggest challenge will be to leave out my own thoughts feelings and opinions on topics that matter most to me. That no matter how I feel about a situation my work leaves room for viewers to form their own thoughts, and opinions.
A photojournalist Captures images that will help to deliver a message or give perspective. But everyone has a different perspective. The photographer in photojournalist captures the image but the journalist in photojournalist creates the story that best defines the image.
A photojournalists job is to tell the truth. Sometimes the truth can be hard to bare, or to understand but nonetheless a photojournalist has the responsibility to allow the truth to be seen by those whom it could directly affect or potentially. It deserves to be seen by those who may have the power to create change or those who are in the positions to enforce it. But if it is not done appropriately or ethically trust is thrown out of the window.
What is or is not ethical is where things become complicated for some. In short Ethics is defined by moral principles. Things become unethical when it is untruthful, deceiving, or does not relate to the context of the story. Most importantly keeping the images exactly the way they were taken is a huge part in staying truthful and holding credibility.
There are three philosophies of photojournalism. Utilitarian, Absolutist, and The Golden Rule. I feel that I am Part Utilitarian and Part Golden Rule. I understand the weight and fragility of revealing information that may be sensitive to viewers, but understand that when the information and portrayal of the information will be more beneficial than harmful or offensive, it must be revealed. I also have a tendency to hold empathy at the forefront of my decision making and when something may seem a bit less than or beneath my character because of my actions I will always choose empathy.
There is nothing wrong in deciding to put the camera down. If my goal is to help and inform I have to be aware of when my actions become self serving.
Everyone draws their own line but at some point a line has to be drawn.We have a duty to society but we also have a duty to humanity, and if we can remain descent and still accurately do our jobs then we have used the First Amendment to our greatest advantage.