An inventory of major studies between 1986 and 2006 indicates the public has continuing and in some cases increasing concerns about specific ethical practices in the mass media industries. While some concerns such as deception, invasion of privacy, advertising saturation, and excessive violence apply to multiple channels of communication, others are medium specific. For example, the public's primary anxieties about the Internet include fraud, spam, and the availability of pornography to children, while the primary concerns about telephone have included telemarketing (...) and wiretapping. Overall findings suggest several substantial and escalating concerns such as the erosion of press credibility and trust in the media at large. These findings proved consistent with a recent national poll commissioned for the second U.S. Media Ethics Summit conference. (shrink)
Reviews show that comprehensive studies of international media ethics are necessarily incomplete because not all countries have either media codes or comparable measurement instruments. This article reviews major studies of international and national approaches to media ethics and describes contexts for global studies and comparisons. The three likely universals of truth, responsibility, and the drive for free expression are hypothesized, and codes are explored to see which patterns endured.