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Ethics in Conflict

No field of news reporting is more dangerous than reporting conflict. Dangers abound for journalists, their crews, their local fixers and their producers. And there are dangers for those they are reporting on. This project explores how journalists apply ethics in the face of these dangers and competing interests, with the aim of sharing insights with humanitarian aid organisations facing similar pressures.

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Research

The tricky ethical decisions facing reporters in conflict zones and in humanitarian crises are not abating. Indeed, they are likely to compound as conflicts and crises continue to be drawn out, and as much legacy journalism finds itself in an ongoing and debilitating financial crisis, paving the way for more fly-in reporters without institutional backing. It is an unfortunate fact that when newsrooms consider budget cuts, they think first of cutting foreign bureaus when they have them, or international coverage generally. All of which makes it vitally important to shine a light on how reporters in conflicts and crises are making ethical decisions. That’s what this project aims to do, for the benefit of journalists present and future, but also for the benefit of those they report on, and, in turn, for the benefit of journalism’s audiences.  

Challenges

How do journalists, how do you, protect sources, and spare them from re-traumatisation?

Highlights

Sophie McNeill's candid keynote  

Sophie McNeill’s journey to becoming a foreign correspondent began when she was 15. She sold Freddo Frogs to raise money for an airfare to East Timor to make a documentary during the nation’s fight against Indonesian occupation. At that tender age, McNeill’s encountered her first ethical dilemma.

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