The importance of the concept of objectivity in the media is well attested. Since the beginning of the newspaper press in the early nineteenth Century in the United States and in Europe, rising democracy in the Society has produced various economic, political and technological factors which have led to a neutral and "non-partisan" reporting. So what does it mean in this context? Objectivity in journalism can be considered as a synonym of neutral point of view; it is a process in which facts are separated from opinions and ideologies. Stories are therefore organized around facts, and the basis is the neutrality of events: in case of conflict, reporters have to present the views of both sides to balance the situation. This essay will also review the progressive evolution of journalism and the rising popularity of the concept of objectivity.
[...] The introduction of the electronic telegraph in the eighteen forties was the first crucial contributory factor for objectivity as a journalists' professional ideal, enabling the development of value and belief systems. This development went on in the eighteen fifties with the emergence of various social clubs and press societies; the Associated Press was also established by six New Yorker newspapers. This monopolistic cooperative's principal objective was to report non-biased facts, as the Head of the AP argued: business is to communicate facts; my instructions do not allow me to make any comment upon the facts which I communicate”. [...]
[...] However, as Nietzsche claimed, pure fact without interpretation can exist”, which means that even if many attempts have been made to establish a purely factual journalism, it is still today very difficult to report in an impartial manner. And this is especially true in the “non-democratic” systems, where the basic human rights are not respected. Until an international concept of impartiality has been set up for the global media, therefore, the extent to which journalism can be considered as totally objective must remain uncertain. References Books rise of “objective” news reporting”, in Allan S.: News culture (Course reader) News : the [...]
[...] The Libertarian Theory or “Free Press Theory”, in which there are no restrictions on import and export of media messages all around the world, and journalists should have full autonomy, suits well to the concept of objectivity. The Social Responsibility Theory is very well adapted to this ideological mission of impartiality too; it estimates indeed that media have certain obligations to the Society, such as informativeness, truth, accuracy, objectivity and balance. Pluralisation of news media should also be important, to reflect the diversity of the public opinion. [...]
[...] It is evident that the concept of objectivity is related to power: media are, in every country, subordinated to the ruling class. In other words, the dominant class is the one who is the most influent in the media, which explains why news media defend the economic, social and political issues of privileged groups. As Kant reported, sensible intuition without a concept is blind, while a concept without a sensible intuition is empty”, which means that facts as received as sensible intuition are always shaped by an abstract concept. [...]
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