Asia Pacific Media Educator


Keeble, Richard (2001)
Ethics For Journalists,
Routledge, London.

Reviewed by Ian Richards

At the height of the “cash for comment” scandal in 1999, former Australian radio talkback host Derryn Hinch was asked on ABC Radio about “king of talkback” John Laws’ defence that he was an entertainer not a journalist (and so not bound by journalistic ethical considerations). “Just because you’re an entertainer, it doesn’t mean you rob a bank,” Hinch replied. A few minutes later, in the same interview, Hinch was asked whether he had been made aware of Australian commercial radio’s codes of practice at any of the stations which had employed him over the years. “Didn’t have them, didn’t know about it, didn’t need it,” he replied. Such comments reflect a contradiction inherent in the thinking of many, possibly most, journalists – the view that, on the one hand, ethics are irrelevant while, on the other, there are ethical standards which one must respect.