Theoretical frontiers in international media ethics

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This essay describes three crucial issues for media ethics at present. On the theoretical frontiers, three problems need to be clarified and solved: philosophical relativism, presuppositions and the common good. One challenge for media ethics is whether cultural diversity can be honoured while simultaneously rejecting moral relativism. The proposal here is to decouple cultural diversity from ethical relativism, and then deal philosophically with moral relativism in terms of realism. Second, moral theory must be retheorised with presuppositions sine qua non for a new generation of media ethics that is multicultural and transnational. Rather than the single-strand theories of rationalism that are rule-ordered and gendered masculine, worldviews must be interwoven into theory making. And the third issue results from the technological character of the industrial world today. It has become instrumentalist, preoccupied with means, in opposition to ends, and the moral imagination atrophies. For ethics, the problem of the common good appears nearly unsolvable, since this concept depends on human communities, and such communities are tenuous in a technocratic culture.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5-18
Number of pages14
JournalAustralian Journalism Review
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication


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