Journalists in China, Uganda, Brazil and several other countries take ethics a bit more seriously than American reporters, according to a scholarly study of international journalism principles.
A study of 18 countries by a two Colorado and one German scholars also found that American journalists believe that reporting and publishing a story takes precedence over the harm it might cause.
The new study published in the authoritative Communication Research interviewed reporters from every continent, asking them about ethics and codes of conduct. American reporters said that they cherish ethics, but not to the degree of others. For example, asked if ethical principles should be followed by all journalists, 91.8 percent of American reporters agreed. But those from China, Germany, Switzerland, Turkey, Uganda, Austria and Brazil registered stronger support.
When asked if reporting and publishing a story that can potentially harm others is always wrong, just 14.3 percent of American journalists agreed. Those from Egypt agreed the most, at 64.6 percent and even 45.7 percent of Chinese reporters agreed.
But the Americans came up well on several other questions, rejecting the idea that journalists should be allowed to formulate their own codes of conduct and arguing that the media should avoid questionable methods of reporting.