Introducing the Ward Code for Global Integrated Ethics

The Ward Code for Global Integrated Ethics is one of the first comprehensive statements of fundamental principles for journalism ethics in a global and online media era.

The code is made public for the first time on this web site to mark the launch of this ethics web site. The code summarizes ideas I have put forward at great length in my books and other writings.

The ethics of journalism, to date, has been parochial, mainstream, and professional. The codes originated in the previous century. They were written and endorsed by professional journalists in mainstream news organizations. The ethical standards expressed the duties of journalists to their fellow citizens, not the global world.

Today, journalism is not only global but interactive, online and “mixed” – carried out by professional and citizen. Many new forms of journalism arise, given new media technology.

As a result, existing codes are outdated.

To update journalism ethics, we need principles that apply to a news media with global reach and multiple formats. Journalism ethics must put forward norms that apply to – or integrate – many types of journalism with global impact. That is why the code is for “global integrated ethics.”

I wrote the code to assist journalism ethics in its difficult transition to a new media environment. The code does not consist of absolute and unchanging principles. The field of global media ethics is a work in progress. We need an experimental approach.  The principles are proposals for the consideration of responsible global journalists. I see the code as the first approximation of a fuller and more definitive set of guidelines.

The code provides signposts to a future global media ethics.