Newsworthy ethical dilemmas

I struggled with this initial assignment for awhile. I kept searching for the perfect newsworthy ethical dilemma and then realized while fumbling through the drawers of my mind – what story doesn’t deal with some kind of ethical issue?

I finally recalled a story I read on GlobalPost not too long ago. It’s an older story, but the topic at hand is still very relevant. The story enlightened readers to the many men who are kidnapped, sold and forced to become fishermen against their will.

If you scroll through the story, you will see encounters from men who say they had not seen land in years as well as accounts of murder on these slave ships. Once these fisherman slaves were deemed unwanted or useless, many would get murdered or thrown overboard. The story begins with a Thai boat mechanic, Jord, sharing his life at sea.

Quickly, yet smoothly, Jord’s life at sea is unveiled carefully. I never really gave it much thought before, but taking a second glance I realize how carefully crafted these encounters are. It describes Jord as one of the laborer buying, boat lords by merely insinuating it. I bring this up, only because I found it interesting. As stated in The News Manual, “confidentiality of sources is central to the ethics of journalists.” And while, maybe Jord’s full name is not disclosed — essentially, they are describing him as one of the many who lords over fisherman slaves. Obviously, things like this should and need to be reported.

The only reason I found it interesting is because it must be difficult to not reveal someone who is harboring slaves. In the end, it’s my opinion that these difficult situations can best be helped by  revealing them in a story. I respect how the journalists handled the story. I thought it was a finely crafted display of reporting a story that needed to be told with respect to ethical boundaries on confidentiality.


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