Monday, March 16, 2015

2015 Workshops open for registration!

CIME 2015 Workshops are now open for registration! Click here to register or check our CIME Workshops page for more information.

This year we've added new workshops dates to accommodate increasing demand. We look forward to another year of exciting progress in media ethics with partners & participants across the world. Any questions, please let us know and we'll be in touch!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

En Mexico se necesita una voz como la de periodista #CarmenAristegui una voz que lucha ante de corrupción y ocultamiento pero parece que hay fuerzas externas que le están impidiendo incluso los dueños de los medios que suelen apoyar mas a regímenes de gobierno que a periodistas contundentes

In Mexico a voice is needed like that of #CarmenAristegui a voice that fights against corruption and secrecy but it appears there are external forces standing in her way including media bosses who tend to be more beholden to government regimes than to hard-hitting investigative journalists

Thursday, March 12, 2015


CIME is growing! We’re currently developing our regional team, and are welcoming some very talented professionals from around the world. So far, we’ve added 8 new associates from Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania, Pakistan, Nepal, India, and Uganda.
We’d also like to welcome Vladimir Peric, our new IT Manager. Keep an eye out– we should be adding more members to our team soon!

Do please email us if you know anyone in your are who is interested in media ethics - we're always keen to have more people involved!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Cybervigilantism: new tumblr "racists getting fired (& getting racists fired)"

Photo credit: BuzzFeed
You may of heard of the recent internet tumblr sensation “racists getting fired (& getting racists fired)”. It operates by uploading screenshots of racist comments posted on social media, and “encourages people to track down where outspoken racists work and then post details of their hate speech to the employers’ social media accounts demanding punishment. In some instances, racists are “doxxed”, meaning they have their personal identity and contact information shared without consent.”

Many of the screenshots on “racists getting fired” pertain to the events occurring in Ferguson, Missouri. One twitter user, “VA Truck Driver,” issued a series of tweets about Ferguson (the complete sequence can be found here), but ended up issuing a public apology after social media users discovered his identity and he was suspended from work without pay. Other people featured in screenshots have issued similar apologies after internet users tracked them down and complained to their employers.

However, some people have also been innocently caught in the cross-fire of the tumblr, including one young woman whose ex-boyfriend framed her for several comments on Facebook. Unfortunately, “before the site [racists getting fired] realized the trick and issued something resembling a correction, the Brianna smear racked up tens of thousands of reblogs and notes and prompted readers to bombard the real Brianna’s workplace with phone calls and tweets. Probably because RGF provided instructions on doing this exactly."

The original moderator of the tumblr has also faced considerable backlash, posting recently “i began this blog much to publicly, with an excess of personal information bc i could not have forseen the skyrocketting of attention this blog has received. i was not prepared for the legal threats, nor for being hunted by 4chan doxxers and other anti-social justice websites. so it is too late for me.” (sic) The moderator has reported that within the first 8 hours of the tumblr’s existence they received 15,000 submissions.

Photo credit: TechCrunch
Is this type of cybervigilantism a good idea? Does it make people think twice about what they post online, and help curb those anonymous and hurtful comments the internet is known for? Or does it cause just as much harm as it hopes to resolve? One article, titled “Bullying the Bullies” states, “Humans haven’t quite gotten the hang of human rights, let alone social media. Combined ignorance of the two leads people to spew hate from the safety of an Internet connection, writing their bigotry into the public record. Now these moments are being put display [sic] for public shaming by a Tumblr seeking justice against racists. It’s a form of cybervigilantism...The question is whether cybervigilantism is ethical or productive for a society trying to overcome bigotry.”

- Kate Davidson

Business Insider
racists getting fired (and getting racists fired)
racists getting fired - Brianna correction

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Style over substance

Photo credit: Poor Richard's News
On November 20th from the Cross Hall of the White House, U.S President Barack Obama gave a speech on immigration. The primetime address laid out a series of executive actions proposing to take aim at fixing a “broken immigration system” in the United States. Like most presidential speeches this particular address has drawn substantial praise and criticism. In essence the speech has provided a platform and incentive for Americans and people around the world to engage in dialogue and debate about U.S immigration policy. The discussions and debates have occurred despite the fact that Obama's speech was not aired by the so-called “Big Three” American television networks: ABC, NBC, and CBS. According to some, the networks decided against airing the speech because it conflicted with a time slot that equates to peak ratings and vital advertising dollars. The decision not to broadcast Obama's speech is not surprising, considering that November TV ratings are especially important for the networks because they occur during what is called a “sweeps” period, which is when viewership ratings are used to determine future scheduling, programming, and advertising decisions. While the decision not to air the speech may make financial sense for the networks, does it also say something about our overall sense of values as a society?

When three large television networks are more concerned with ratings and advertising dollars than they are about the consciousness of the viewing public, should that be a cause for concern? What ever happened to the media’s responsibility to make journalistic decisions that were best for the universal needs of society? By choosing money and ratings (things that are seemingly perfunctory when compared to the pressing and controversial issue of immigration) did NBC, ABC, and CBS fulfill their moral obligation as stewards, purveyors, and promoters of ethical journalism?

One of the preeminent functions of the media is to provide the public with information and awareness. You can go back to the days of Julius Caesar or the Han Dynasty in China and one can find remnants of that same basic principle, that the public has a need and a right to be informed. Over time we have come to expect basic things from our media; in many instances we expect them to be exemplary in how they act and how they manage their part of the interdependent relationship that we share with them. In many instances they are our mentors, as they set many precedents and examples that we often follow, sometimes to such an extent that it mimics patterns of indoctrination. When they convey to us that dollars and Nielsen rating points are more important than keeping us informed, or providing us access to information that is relevant to many of our families, communities, and lives, what are they really telling us? If we want to stay informed perhaps it is incumbent for us to tell them what we are thinking, and not the other way around.

- William Korte


Monday, November 24, 2014

Covering every angle of the debate: going to war in Syria and Iraq

Picture credit: FAIR

Sometimes it can be difficult for the news to cover every aspect of a hot topic. There are so many opinions, and only so much time to devote to each story. However, a media consumer can reasonably expect a certain spread of voices. But that is not always the case.

The organization Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) recently released a report on how corporate TV news has covered the U.S.’s involvement in Syria and Iraq. Titled “Debating How - Not Whether - to Launch a New War,” the report found that during two weeks of heavy coverage of the topic in September “of the more than 200 guests who appeared on network shows to discuss the issue, just six voiced opposition to military action.”

In an interview on Democracy Now!, Peter Hart, the activism director at FAIR, explained that “the debate sometimes looked rather passionate; it had the appearances of a real debate. But what they were really debating was the mechanics of war, whether we should drop bombs just on Iraq or on Iraq and Syria, whether Obama was aggressive enough. There were critics of the White House, but they were critics that were pro-war.” What appeared to be a range of opinions seems to have only debated part of the issue.

Hart argued that there are strong similarities between this coverage and the pre-war media response back in 2002 and 2003. He asked “Has anything changed from 2002 to 2003 to right now? And the answer in the study is, absolutely not. If anything, the debate is more restricted now.”

How important is it to have many different opinions in our news? How can you as a media professional or a media consumer help ensure we have a range of voices represented?

- Kate Davidson

Democracy Now!
FAIR report

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Publishing the repugnant: Editorial Ethics

In a recent CIME blog post, author Kate Davidson discussed the implications of the “watermelon flavored toothpaste” cartoon run by the Boston Herald. The paper, its editor, and the cartoonist immediately apologized for their gaff and insisted the cartoon was not meant to be racist. The cartoonist claimed that there was a tube of kids watermelon flavored toothpaste left at his house and he simply took the flavor and put it into the copy. Whether this is the truth or not, the editor of the Herald should be held responsible for the decision to print the cartoon.

The chimpanzee is commonly believed to represent President Obama.
Rev. Al Sharpton stated at the time that the cartoon "is troubling at
best given the historic racist attacks of African-Americans as being
synonymous with monkeys," and since the stimulus bill was
"the first legislative victory of President Barack Obama."
Photo credit: Think Progress
An editor’s job is complex. They deal with a myriad of issues that surround publishing, including being the ‘taste monitors’ of their papers (or magazines, online blogs, etc.). In fact, it could be argued that in today’s hyper pace news world, the most important job of an editor is to ensure there are civility, integrity, and ethical standards to which their employees are held. A political cartoon, just like a front-page story, has protections and privileges under the first amendment. These factors do not absolve the editorial staff of their responsibility. A cartoonist can draw up whatever Obama is a pimp racist rants they choose- but it is the job of the editor to ensure these outlandish cartoons never see the light of day (as was the case with the aforementioned cartoon. The editorial department of the Rome News-Tribune killed the story, but the artist sold it to other outlets). At the very least cartoons that can be considered extremely offensive should be placed in the opinion.

News Editors in the past have come under fire for their role in the publishing of offensive materials. In fact, according to this story from, an editor in Los Angeles was fired from their posting at the Brentwood Patch for the publishing of an offensive Cinco de Mayo themed cartoon. With the rise of social media, editors must be in tune more than ever to how the cartoons and the images housed within their pages will be received by the general public. Images and stories surrounding this cartoon related to Ferguson Missouri and this cartoon from The New Yorker spread across the Internet like wildfire. (In fact, you can view every New Yorker cover featuring Obama on their special slideshow here). The news outlets received backlash from one side of the country to the next, something that would seem unlikely in the past due to the limited circulation of some of these outlets.

Some claim these cartoons are not intended to be racist, that in fact it is the public who has become too sensitive to this type of humor, or simply just does not ‘get the joke.’ That is one opinion, another is that maybe the general public has simply evolved from the ‘level of humor’ that can be found in these ’50 most offensive’ compilation. Whichever the reason for the rise in the backlash felt by editors, one thing is clear… with social media and ethical watchdog groups everywhere, cartoonists and editors alike should be wary of a joke in which they are the only ones laughing.

- Carol Davey

CIME blog
imediaethics - Obama watermelon toothpaste cartoon?
imediaethics - Former editor says he was fired for cartoon patch said was racist
New York Magazine
The Guardian
The New Yorker - Obama on the New Yorkers Cover
The New Yorker - Judging a Cover