Investigative journalism is under scrutiny because of the exposure of the immoral work ethic at the News of the World. But it was also “investigative journalism” of a commendable nature by Nick Davies from the Guardian who surfaced the scandal.
Recently, undercover exposures of corruption in FIFA, abuse at Winterbourne View care home in Bristol and MP’s fiddling of expenses – were all success stories of investigative journalism. Stories such as Winterbourne View, required a reporter to go undercover with the use of hidden cameras. But was this unethical or wrong? This revelation prevented further abuse and monstrosities against fragile patients at this care home.
The media requires freedom. How else can reporters produce unbiased, credible news if they cannot work without restriction? Granted, there is some need for regulation – hence the phone hacking scandal. But over-regulation would blight the future of media and news coverage. It would suffocate the two pillars of journalism – impartiality and credibility.
So, the question shouldn’t be about whether journalists should have hacked into phones, but about the ethics of the industry – good investigative journalism versus bad. Exposure of scandals and wrongdoing are testament to the fact that investigative journalism is crucial. However, reporting shouldn’t all be tarnished with the brush of doubt and disapproval over the phone hacking inquiry. If anything, this has sparked debate on fair practice and boundaries. Rather than pigeonholing all media, we need to voice our concerns, thoughts and suggestions of how to move on. Equally, we need to acknowledge the positive impact journalism has had on society by exposing wrongdoing, abuse and corruption.