Opinion / From the Press

Opinion: Pros and cons in stampede reports

(China Daily) Updated: 2015-01-07 07:45

Journalists mostly play by rules

Fudan University alumni have criticized journalists for filing sensational reports on the Shanghai tragedy. The alumni said journalists used the stampede to attract eyeballs. But the fact is that, journalists are doing their job and sharing information with the public.

After such tragedy, people expect journalists to inform them about the details. They want the media to be their agents of information. In this sense, journalists act as a bridge between the people and events. And that is exactly what journalists should do.

Of course, journalists have to have high morals. But more than anything else, they should exercise discretion while reporting on sensitive issues. An unwritten rule in journalism is to share the grief of people who have lost their loved ones.

Besides, the Chinese government has laid out the ethical code for journalists, which requires them to share the feelings of victims and their families, and avoid hurting them during interviews.

Journalists across the world have established some detailed principles, which includes not causing pain to victims, not using words or expressions that could hurt the victims' families, and avoiding the publication of bloody images and close-up of victims.

Zhuang Yongzhi is an associate professor of journalism studies at Nanjing University and a former anchor on CCTV.

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