Term paper 

Mainly, it examines the problems we face in the media business. That’s probably where the rain first began pelting us…

Ethics and Media Objectivity

In the middle of a crisis that seems to
challenge the existence of the industry of journalism, it may appear odd to
describe the contention surrounding objective reporting of news. Since the
start of the 20th century, the objectivity doctrine which represents
the canon of professional journalism is faced with a heated debate regarding what
the future of journalism could look like. In the current era, objectivity is
the tool that has caused the failure of the mainstream media in building a
strong connection with the public (Riegert, Roosvall, & Widhold, 2015). Whenever
objectivity is ascribed as the panacea or the problem, the two schools of thought
attempt to borrow a leaf from the idea that journalists ought to pick either of
the options; renewal of the commitment that sustains the image of objectivity
or embracing opinion journalism.

The contemporary state of media
objectivity in Kenya can be described by a case study of the Presidential
debate of 2017 in how Jubilee as a political formation demonstrated the state
of media in connection to the organization of the debate. During the party’s
pronouncement of its withdrawal from the presidential debate, Raphael Tuju,
then Jubilee Party Secretary General posed a claim implying “whole things smell
of conmanship”. The leader triggered a debate that propagated the need to know
who the organizers were and their intentions. He went deeper in castigating a
tainted image of the media as he wondered whom the organizers acted for and the
mandate they had to prepare and organize the debate. It can be opined that such
words used by a prominent figure in the political space had consequences that
were far-reaching on the position and the role taken by the Kenyan media.
Majorly this impact indicated greater weight because the questions targeted the
media essence in the national democracy and politics. Besides, it touched on
the media’s ability in providing important and objective information that determines
the basis of public decisions. If the media lack of trust of the journalists
and the various organizations they represent is a huge blow and attacks how
objectivity is attained in later productions (Miladi, 2022). Thus, if media
personalities fail in rolling up their sleeves with an aim of producing
objective information that connects them with the public, it points out that
objectivity in media is becoming outdated.

In the general election discussion in
August 2022, the same scenario was replicated. Candidates from various regions
of the nation did not participate in the county debates that were hosted by
various organizations. The head of the Azimio party, Hon. Raila Amolo Odinga,
called on the secretariat to resolve the problem of what topics and questions
would be covered during the discussion. Questions that candidates did not want
to answer were frequently put aside due to candidate’s demands. The debates
brought out the sharp emphasis on the topics that should be covered, dealing a
blow to press objectivity, and ethical standards. The press then as stated as
the fourth estate lost its magnanimity and focus as the society’s advocate.


Impartiality and Objectivity in the
Digital Age, is it possible?

            In the digital age, impartiality and
objectivity are two aspects that are expected to go through a test of time in
how professional judgment is reported. When it comes to the concept of
impartiality, there are a number of unique characteristics that describe its efficiency;
honesty, openness, accuracy, clear sourcing and evidence, and independence of
mind (Ward, 2014). All these features do not ascribe to agonistic reporting in
journalism. However, other circumstances require more application of
objectivity such as when a climate of hate speech is the scenario or while
reporting genocide. For instance, taking a study on the media role in 2007 when
there was tribal violence following the announcement of the Presidential
elections indicated the need for a media public service that is stronger. A
media service with both impartiality and objectivity values would have engaged
in far-reaching approaches to hinder hate speech and promote free debate bearing
in mind that there is a rise of numbers in terms of unregulated media content
in this new digital era.

            The current contention here
according to my opinion as opposed to the focus on the main purpose of
impartiality and objectivity, these disciplines have become devalued in their
sense of application leaving a loophole for debate about attachment journalism
and views from other impromptu sources. Confrontation of the issues facing the
digital information era will require a build-up of the left values around these
two important media ideas (Sambrook, 2012). It is evident that the new
information age crops great challenges affecting the impartiality and
objectivity norms that are over a century old. Disconnecting with the unique
standards these norms were designed to propagate in media will be highly sloppy
and dangerous to an extent of accelerating a ‘post-truth’ media environment.

            Stronger values of impartiality and
objectivity can be possible in Kenyan media and journalism at large when a
number of approaches are stressed in information management. Media houses and
journalists should cultivate the aspect of attaining greater transparency.     

            As noted in the COVID- 19 pandemic Impartiality
and Objectivity of the information required to pass to the general public from
the mainstream media was seen as a key information point for many as an
avalanche of news items, fake stories, and unfiltered information later known
as the infodemic was noted with great concern. As noted by researchers the
Corona Virus information was sourced mainly from Social media rather than
mainstream media houses
(Ogweno, Oduor, & Mutisya, 2021).

The need for active engagement of the
general public on where to source the information has been noted as a key gap in
the communication era of digital media. 
(Metzger, 2007) Defining
objectivity as a process that involves identifying the purpose of the site and
whether the information provided is fact or opinion, which also includes
understanding whether there might be commercial intent or a conflict of
interest on the part of the source, as well as the nature of relationships
between linked information sources (e.g., the meaning of “sponsored links” on a
Google search output page), Metzinger has shown the areas and curriculum used
to develop key tenets in defining objectivity and reality on the online
platforms.  Tools developed by several
organizations to check on the reality of the day have come into play and have
over time been seen as the backbone of developing objectivity online as well as
calling out the players in the space who have become key sources of information


            Transparency which is perceived as
the new objectivity is the primary tool for enabling openness and trust in
media (Harvey, 2021). When transparency is achieved, the reader acquires the
intended information and fosters reliability in media content.  Besides, I would suggest that more emphasis on
media literacy and education will be a resolved weapon in tackling the
challenges that come with the information era. People ought to be concerned
more with the information itself (authenticity, objectivity, factuality, and
impartiality) than they are interested in the sources of this information.
Finally, it is significant for the general media to focus on emerging
communications technologies to develop a certain journalism that connects
citizens with journalists in a transaction that recognizes mutual discovery. Therefore,
through these strategies, it is possible to attain impartiality and objectivity
values of media in the digital age.



Harvey, S.
(2021). Impartiality, fairness, and the bias of Empire. Global Media Ethics
and the Digital Revolution
, 1(3), 38–52.

Miladi, N.
(2022). Global Media Ethics and the Digital Revolution. Routledge,
Taylor & Francis Group.

K., Roosvall, A., & Widholm, A. (2015). The political in cultural
journalism. Journalism Practice, 9(6), 773–790.

Sambrook, R. (2012). Delivering trust: impartiality
and objectivity in the digital age (Publisher’s version, Reuters Institute for
the Study of Journalism Reports). Reuters Institute for the Study of
Journalism, Department of Politics and International Relations, University of

Metzger, M. J. (2007). Making sense of credibility on the
Web: Models for evaluating online information and recommendations for future
research. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and
, 58(13), 2078–2091. https://doi.org/10.1002/ASI.20672

S. O., Oduor, K., & Mutisya, R. (2021). Sources of information on COVID-19
among the youths and its implications on mental health. A cross-sectional study
in Nairobi, Kenya. East African Medical Journal, 98(1),
3390–3400. Retrieved from

S. J. (2014). Radical Media Ethics. Digital Journalism, 2(4),
455–471. https://doi.org/10.1080/21670811.2014.952985



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