Scripps Howard Latin American Media Ethics Seminar

The Scripps Howard Latin American Media Ethics Seminar assisted news media and journalists in Latin America to identify common threads of professional behavior, stimulate a dialogue about journalism independence, discuss country-specific principles of conduct, and encourage participants to reflect on their own personal code of ethics and to continue the discussion about ethics in their own newsrooms. This program was sponsored by the Scripps Howard Foundation.

Through round-table discussions, case studies, field trips, formal presentations, panel discussions and small-group discussions, the one-and-a-half week training course utilized a range of different mechanisms to share information, promote collegiality and stimulate critical thinking about ethical dilemmas and appropriate responses. Spanish-language training materials, including journalism and news management booklets and videos were also used.

General topics included:

Emphasizing the independence of journalism as a requisite for ethical behavior and public credibility;

Fostering fairness and accuracy in news coverage;

Identifying conflicts of interest;

Examining the stimulants and antidotes to journalistic corruption;

Discussing ways of coping with threats and violence;

Dealing with censorship and self-censorship; and

Reflecting on the role of Codes of Ethics and the ethical "gray" areas not covered by codes of conduct.