Ethicizing our walks of life [Archives:2005/852/Viewpoint]

June 20 2005

The Editorial Board
At the beginning of humankind on Earth, people used to live a kind of primitive life ungoverned by any rules or laws, a type of life, in a way similar to that of animals. Every individual acts the way he feels suitable to him through which he or she thinks it the best method to attain the target in his mind. People were then following their own instincts because communities and societies as we now know them did not exist. In other words, there was nothing in common among them except the following of their primitive instincts.

It took a long time until people had begun to gather in small groups living at a same place and having common goals and interests. Those groups had gradually developed into families and then tribes bearing distinctive names to differentiate themselves from other communities. To further organize their domestic relationships, those human groups started the introduction of certain rules obliging every individual to pursue for the general benefit and interest of all members of the group. They were not written rules and regulations since writing was not invented yet. They were just norms and customs observed by members of those communities for the organisation of their everyday life. Only after the invention of writing by the Sumerians, codes and regulations had begun to be documented in laws. The codes of Hamurabi of Babylonia were the most famous group of laws known in history. Those rules and regulations constituted the essence and foundation of the written laws and constitutions we are now experiencing in our communities.

Nowadays, with advancement of life and various technologies, laws and constitutions have become the most necessary needs of life, without them chaos would have prevailed every walk of human life. Humankind found out later that laws are not enough to satisfy their need for regulating the relationships of their communities and therefore they have started to introduce other supplementary regulations and organizational methods. In addition to rules of procedure, organisations, trade unions and professions adopted other types of rules calling them codes of ethics, governing the performance and duties of relevant profession. Thus, now we have medical ethics, press ethics, judicial ethics and several other codes of ethics binding members of each profession to abide by them or otherwise those members are banned from practicing the profession and consequently lose the privileges a certain profession bestows on them. Each member of each profession usually takes an oath on abiding by them before he is granted the membership to that profession. Codes of ethics contain principles of the profession and methods of practicing it and the above all there are certain ethics that should be observed when using those methods.

For press, as a profession, there are codes of ethics in practicing it in addition to laws of journalists' unions in this country or that. Styles of writing and the language used in tackling topics of articles and reports should also be fixed as rules in the code of ethics. There must not be any kind of obscene language, especially when writing about colleagues or other publications. They are obligatory to each member of the union of journalists. Members of the press profession are colleagues, respecting each other and defending each other in cases of threat and harassment and violation of their rights. Therefore, it is really tragic that violations and harassments are issued by colleagues themselves. That in fact defames the profession supposed to be a leading medium of making and leading public opinion towards the community aspirations. If journalists in this country or that have not yet created a code of ethics for their profession, they have not to dally and act at ones to coin such a code out of respect of their profession and reputation so that they could be capable of leading opinion-making movement.