How New Media Technologies are Impacting Ethical Practices: Perception of Zimbabwean Journalists
Tendai Chari, University of Venda
The study of new media technologies has been dominated by technological deterministic theories which accentuate the capacity of technology to shape and transform society while downplaying human agency. The major pitfall of
this approach is that it ignores contextual factors that have telling consequences on the manner in which new media technologies are deployed. This article examines perceptions of Zimbabwean journalists of the ethical challenges and dilemmas
linked with the use of email, Internet and cellular phones in their newsgathering activities. The idea is to enrich the body of knowledge on the ethical practices of African journalists in the era of new media technology. The study combines a survey
questionnaire and semi-structured interviews to elicit data on ethical challenges and dilemmas faced journalism practitioners in Zimbabwe. Results reveal a dialectical impact of new media technologies on journalism and suggest the salience of the
interpretive flexibility model whereby the design and deployment of technology produces different outcomes depending on the social context in which the technology is used. The study concludes that ethical practices of Zimbabwean journalists are circumscribed by a complex web of structural, institutional and socio-economic factors, both internal and external to the environment in which journalism is practiced.
Index Terms: Ethical practices, New Communication Technologies, Journalism ethics, Journalism practice.
The way in which news is conceptualized, gathered, produced, disseminated or consumed is changing in the context of new communication technologies. Earlier research on the impact of new media technologies on journalism practice has tended to
focus more on how these technologies have reconfigured news production, dissemination and consumption practices. New media technologies, such as the mobile phone enable journalists to gather news from every nook and cranny of the
globe, and send text messages to their newsrooms with relative ease. Others demonstrate how the internet provides media personnel with unlimited access to information on any subject, and how email newsgroups allow journalists to….
For full paper, see:
GSTF International Journal on Media & Communications(JMC) Vol.1 No.1, March 2013