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Journalists and Media Accountability

An International Study of News People in the Digital Age


Edited By Susanne Fengler, Tobias Eberwein, Gianpietro Mazzoleni and Colin Porlezza

Media accountability is back on the political agenda. Debates about the phone-hacking scandal at Rupert Murdoch’s News of the World have shown that the need for free and responsible journalism is more pressing than ever. Opinions, however, differ on the measures that need to be taken. Do existing structures of media accountability – such as press councils, codes of ethics, and ombudspersons – suffice, or do we urgently need new instruments and initiatives in today’s converging media world?
These questions were tackled in an international survey of 1,800 journalists in twelve European and two Arab states conducted by the EU-funded research project, «Media Accountability and Transparency in Europe» (MediaAcT). The results provide a solid empirical basis for the discussions taking place. This book advances research on media accountability and transparency, and also offers innovative perspectives for newsrooms, media policy-makers, and journalism educators. Its systematic comparative design makes it an unprecedented venture in international journalism studies.
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14. Media Ethics as Institutional Ethics—the Potential of Corporate Social Responsibility: Matthias Karmasin, Daniela Kraus, Andy Kaltenbrunner & Klaus Bichler



Chapter 14

Media Ethics as Institutional Ethics—the Potential of Corporate Social Responsibility

Matthias Karmasin, Daniela Kraus, Andy Kaltenbrunner & Klaus Bichler

Media as the ‘fourth estate’ are an important factor in criticizing both political developments and scandalous managerial behavior and raising ethical concerns in the public debate on the nature and structure of the globalized economy. The mediated debate on business ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has had an impact on the perception of the social responsibility of corporations as well as of the integrity of managers. But did it impact on the CSR of media enterprises? The discussion about CSR in the media seems to be usually about third parties, but lacks reflection within the media industry.

What is CSR? Carroll and Buchholtz (2000, 36) summarize the new imperative for business: “Make a profit, obey the law, be ethical and be a good corporate citizen”. CSR is understood as “the commitment of business to contribute to sustainable economic development, working with employees, their families, the local community and society at large to improve their quality of life” (WBCSD 2008). The EU Commission1 wants to promote CSR in order to make Europe the leading sphere for CSR and many initiatives are on the way trying to balance responsibility and business performance (e.g. Carroll and Buchholtz 2000; Ulrich 2001; Göbel 2006; Karmasin and Litschka 2008). ← 230 | 231 →

Using the arguments of Ulrich (2001) and Marrewijk (2003), the delicate...

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