Open Access
UNESCO and AU's Media and Information Literacy Course


Open Access
UNESCO and AU's Media and Information Literacy Course

Unit 7 – Media and Information Ethics in Relation to the Needs of Big Business, Politics and Development


‘The central purpose of journalism is to tell the truth so that people will have the information to be sovereign.’

Jack Fuller, in News Reporting and Writing

A woman is holding a handmade sign that says "We aew watching you watching us and it is akward."

Today, much of what we think of as media and information is intimately connected with business and politics. It is ironic that, as more and more citizens gain access to media and information, the sources of that information are shrinking. Media companies buy out their competitors and merge into a few corporate giants that both control information and have close connections with political power.  

 On the one hand, the tremendous resources of the media can be used for the public good in protecting democratic freedoms, enabling debate on important issues, advocating for social and economic development, and facilitating citizen participation. On the other hand, this power can be abused. It is therefore especially important for journalists and editors to maintain professional ethics and some degree of independence against the forces of media ownership and political interest.

It is also necessary for watchdog organizations to make sure that the media are open and accountable. And it is just as necessary that citizens demand that media professionals provide fair and accurate information.  

Photo credit: Restore the Fourth Amendment 25 by Stephen Melkisethian CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Check out the Course Glossary.

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