The Australian Journalists’ Association (AJA) Code of Ethics 1994 states that each member of the Australian Journalists’ Association is bound by its rules to observe their Code of Ethics which include among other things:
To report and interpret news with a scrupulous honesty; not to suppress essential facts nor distort the truth by omission or wrong or improper emphasis; not to allow his personal interests to influence him in the discharge of his duties; and to do his utmost to maintain full confidence in the integrity and dignity of the calling of a journalist.
I can name many journalists, in both the print media and radio talk-back programs, who clearly do recognise this Code of Ethics, and actually practice it, but I am sad to say that I could list several prominent journalists who don’t even come close. And they have huge followings who hang on to every word that they utter.
I remember one day a few years ago standing in a queue in a shop in Geelong behind two middle aged ladies who were happily chatting away, as they do, when all of a sudden, one of the ladies stood back, looked at her friend with serious intent, and said: “of course it must be true, Deryn Hinch said so”.
Why doesn’t the AJA bring these disreputable journalists into line? Or are they powerless to do so?