When Might It Be Appropriate to Use
Deception/Misrepresentation/Hidden Cameras in Newsgathering?
(You Must Fulfill All of the Criteria to Justify Your Actions.)
- When the information obtained is of profound importance.
It must be of vital public interest, such as revealing great “system failure”
at the top levels,or it must prevent profound harm to individuals.
- When all other alternatives for obtaining the same information have
- When the journalists involved are willing to disclose the nature
of the deception and the reason for it.
- When the individuals involved and their news organization apply
excellence, through outstanding craftsmanship as well as the commitment of time
and funding needed to pursue the story fully.
- When the harm prevented by the information revealed through deception
outweighs any harm caused by the act of deception.
- When the journalists involved have conducted a meaningful, collaborative,
and deliberative decisionmaking process on the ethical and legal issues.
- Winning a prize.
- Beating the competition.
- Getting the story with less expense of time and resources.
- Doing it because “others already did it.”
- The subjects of the story are themselves unethical.