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Journalism between cultures: ethical ideologies and the challenges of international broadcasting into Iran

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Drawing on interview data from research with Persian language international broadcasters (IBs), this paper asks which ethical ideologies journalists draw on when their work is dislocated between contexts? IBs are both spatially displaced from, and often operate within a journalism culture that is extraneous to the traditions of their audiences. Persian language IBs offer a salient example. Here, the pertinent question about differences in journalism culture and ethical ideology across contexts becomes one about dislocation between contexts. The challenges of dislocation are manifestations of the more general challenge of moving between universal principles and particularistic conditions. At stake are questions about the kind of ethical ideology that should inform journalism. Interpreting conversations with journalists, the analysis follows three directions of ethical ideologies, understood as rationales of journalistic decisions, in the newswork of IBs’ - a) relativist considerations of contextual particularities, b) means-oriented considerations of principles, and c) ends-oriented considerations of consequences. It finds all three orientations present within the newswork of Persian language IBs, suggesting that this diversity can be understood as a product of dislocation. Further, the paper argues that diversity in ethical ideologies challenges assumptions of internal coherence, raising the question whether an emphasis on coherence focuses attention on a false dichotomous choice between universal and particular. As a way forward this paper suggests a distinction between ethical ideologies as normative and pragmatic resources, and that a pragmatic focus has advantages when it comes to supplying global journalists with the resources most useful to doing their work.

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en

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http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/41673/

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