Rights, Responsibilities, and Accountabilities of Communicators and Journalists

In modern times, the media have exerted enormous power and assumed a powerful position unprecedented in human history to serve as valuable means for the articulation on a large scale of popular aspirations and problems, of entertainment and pleasure, of advertising and economic information, of shared strengths as well as weaknesses. In this sense, the rights, responsibilities, and accountabilities have to be established to safeguard the integrity of media and protection of the general public in the form of accountability. In the name of freedom of expression, abuses happen and certain aspects remain largely unaccountable. Accountability is a necessity for communicators and journalists.

It is also part of the responsibility of communicators and journalists to ensure that citizens are able to originate content and contribute to media content, and not just remain passive consumers of media output.

There are respective codes of conduct and official laws and rules that regulate these media. However, these parameters do not always work for the citizens. Communicators and journalists have rights, responsibilities, and accountabilities to exercise and live by and which must provide guarantees against censorship and protection of freedom of expression, safeguarding the confidentiality of journalistic sources, and ensuring that information held by the government can be timely and easily accessed by the public. There are also general media laws and regulatory frameworks at both the national and international levels to comply with. There are regulatory bodies featuring existing press councils and relevant professional networks, and different types of media ombudsmen. 

It is the responsibility of communicators and journalists to ensure that citizens have convenient access to all media which is subject to just and fair law and universally recognized principles of human rights.

In 2005, the Global Campaign for Free Expression by the International Federation of Journalists recognized that developing self-regulatory mechanisms across the communication and journalism sector can help ensure a more comprehensive approach to developing and upholding media ethics. It can help to deliver genuine accountability to the public and to protect the principle and practice of freedom of expression. But this is not easy; it is complex and challenging. Codes of ethics provide a way forward in guaranteeing rights, responsibilities, and accountabilities.