Journal of Legal, Ethical and Regulatory Issues (Print ISSN: 1544-0036; Online ISSN: 1544-0044)

Research Article: 2021 Vol: 24 Issue: 1S

New Media Journalism in the Context of Communication Ethics and Basic Legal Codes: A Review of the Presentation of Judicial News in the Trnc

Ayhan Dolunay, Near East University

Fevzi Kasap, Near East University

Keywords

New Media, E-Newspaper, News Websites, Ethics, Communication Ethics, Violation of Personal Rights, judicial news, TRNC

Abstract

In this study, especially within the frame of speed phenomenon, the new media sites that have a much higher importance than the mainstream media journalism are dealt with in the light of the story reporting concepts, the principles of communication ethics and the basic legal codes of the new media news sites. In this case, the focused example which is Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), the principles of press ethics and in this context, especially the principles of personality rights, the right against self-incrimination and the presumption of innocence are also taken into consideration in the context of the new media news sites and the determination of Legal News in order to overcome this problem. In the study, five internet websites sites operating in the TRNC, who have executive team, at least limited political approach and original story production, which is being published for at least two years and also with a printed newspaper, have been taken into consideration. On the related websites, a review of media was carried out on the judicial News published in November-December 2017 and the collected data were evaluated by means of content analysis method. As a result of this study, it was determined that the new media news sites of the TRNChas contrary issues while serving the story in the name of communication ethics principles and human rights. It has found out that, the biggest factors of this issue are the deficiency of education and high clicks expectation (circulation).

Introduction

In the first quarter of the twenty-first century, there are changes and developments in many different disciplines. Important changes have been made in terms of communication science too. In the 2000s -digital age-, the use of new media, which is accepted as an important communication tool, became widespread, developed and changed.
Mainstream media, has now started to share their missions (informing, educating and entertaining of peoples etc.) with the new media and the social media that is in the process of development and change.

In this context, the title of “press rights and freedoms”, which deals with the rights and freedoms of mainstream media workers and, more importantly, draws the limits of these issues, started to cover new media and new media employees too. Because the new media has started to take the place of the mainstream media to a significant extent; this has led to discussion of the professional rights, freedoms and the limits of the employees performing their duties through the new media. The professional rights and freedoms of the individuals concerned and their limitations are very similar to the professional rights, freedoms and limitations of the mainstream media employees; but it brings with it a more important responsibility. Because, in the new media, there is a speed phenomenon that is more than the mainstream media. While mainstream media professionals are required to carry out their work in accordance with natural professional ethics; when it is thought that all of its work will be served to individuals (society) and even to other societies at a rapid pace, it is concluded that new media employees should have an even higher obligation of care.

In this context, the employees of the new media news site should pay high attention to legal-based restrictions on communication ethics as well as personal rights, presumption of innocence and the right to not be stained in their publications in the context of their rights and freedoms.

Literature Review

New Media Journalism

Unlike traditional newspapers, internet newspapers have no beginning or end; in other words, random access to internet newspapers is provided. This caused the desired data to be reached at the desired time. In this context, internet news sites have been able to meet all kinds of news and information needs of individuals.

New media - Internet news sites have five main features (Manovich, 2001: 21): (i) Digital representation, (ii) modularity, (iii) automation, (iv) variability, (v) transcoding.

With these features, new media, journalist and citizen concepts are intertwined; It has given every citizen the chance to become a journalist with the interaction feature.

The diversity of information, new media that provides the basis for faster and interactive dissemination; disinformation, because it sees everyone in a position to produce content; There are also approaches that suggest that they will further consider their disadvantages in the future (Gitelman, 2006).

With the new media technologies, the concept of classical literacy has become new media literacy. Despite efforts to increase the importance of new media literacy among researchers, educators, and politicians trying to understand the new media, uncertainty about new media literacy has not been completely eliminated (Lin et al., 2013: 160-168). Beyond the traditional newspapers that have the opportunity to reach a certain audience within the country; with the development of internet journalism, a global dimension has been reached. Therefore, every internet newspaper can be accepted as an international newspaper (Dolunay, 2018: 24).

The most important development that internet publishing has brought to our lives lies in the fact that, like McLuhan's approach, we have the opportunity to learn the developments in every point of the world that has turned into a global village (Rigel, 2005: 17; Dolunay, 2018: 18).

Within the framework of developments in the field of communication, an interactive and rapid understanding of journalism has emerged and human life has been facilitated; On the other hand, the efforts of the new media news site employees to adapt to the age, technology and speed have also fed the understanding of publishing that ignores ethical and legal values.

In such a way, some internet news site employees carry out -which is directly proportional to the goal of providing a higher source of revenue by clicking more ads on the relevant news site-, “more interesting/surprising”, “more damaging/harsh” publications in the context of lack of educational activities and lack of professional awareness and/or concern for high circulation of news sites. This sometimes happens, in the title of the news, sometimes in the content of the news, and sometimes in both. (Banar, 2006: 130; Dolunay, 2018: 232; Dolunay & Kasap, 2018: 681). Moreover, these reports can reach a much wider audience with the ease provided by social media, without the “need to be verified" (Allcott & Gentzkow, 2017: 211; Ünal & Taylan, 2017: 85).

As the main problem, while ignoring the principles of communication ethics and basic legal codes; at this stage, it is appropriate to define the concept of communication ethics.

Communication Ethics

Badiou (2004: 41) states that there is no such thing as ethics; he argues that it is only the ethics of something (politics, science, art). Pieper argues that ethics is not merely a theoretical scientific work. According to him, it can be done scientifically in practice, general ethics, the application of a specific life and action on the finding, it becomes special, concrete state (Uzun, 2007: 26; Dolunay & Kasap, 2017: 3).

Aside from the ethical issue related to other fields; within the scope of the study, communication ethics refers to the professional ethics of the employees performing the communication related professions. In this context, communication ethics, covers, news agencies, newspapers, radio and television organizations or in the virtual environment (via the Internet), individuals who perform the profession of journalism and, in addition, and it coversrelated areas too as the professional ethics of non-news content creators, advertisers and public relations experts (Uzun, 2007: 27; Dolunay & Kasap, 2017: 3).

In the context of the field of study, communication ethics is the set of rules and principles that journalists have to follow in the exercise of their profession. These ethical principles guide journalists by stating which actions are good (or better) and which practices should be avoided (İrvan, n.d; Ceylan, 2012: 45).

Within the scope of communication ethics of media members; -although there may be nuance differences from the country to the country- they are expected to practice their professions in accordance with the general principles:

i) The public interest,

(ii) Impartiality and objectivity,

(iii) Personal rights and respect for private life (Material & Spiritual),

(iv) Accuracy – integrity

(v) The distinction between news and Comment,

(vi) The respect for the source and the secret and loyalty,

(vii) Exceed the limits of criticism – slander, libel, Avoidance you put him down,

(viii) The denial of personal interests,

(ix) Terrorism, violence and taking a stance against pornography.

As seen above, together with all importance, the study featured in the context of communication within the framework of the principles of ethics, journalists and new media journalists who perform a task through- of course with higher attention, in their publications;

• Should show objective approaches: avoid an understanding of Journalism between the parties involved in the news (and/or between the parties involved in the news and the parties not involved in the news), which “favours” one party, and also criticizes it in a way that exceeds objective limits (Banar, 2006: 132)

• One should respect for private life and personal rights: Individuals first name, last name and the unauthorized use of their photo being in front of the community, honor and dignity, impairing the dignity-in this context, again, violating their civil rights and the presumption of innocence staining in - a journalistic approach; the intimate area that is defined as secret domains; their homes, their lives, the understanding of journalism refrain from intrusive (Öngören, 1996: 26-27; Banar, 2006: 31; Long, 2007:100-106),

• Comply with the principle of truthfulness-honesty: They should avoid publishing and making false reports without confirming whether the information they have obtained is correct or not. (Erol, 2012: 103; 148).

• Must comply with the distinction between stories and comments: They must refrain from making publications that are not newsworthy, based only on personal comments, and/or giving comments within the news in a way that exceeds the acceptable extent (Erol, 2012: 127; 132),

• Protecting the limits of criticism – slander, insult and put him down, you must adhere to the principles of avoidance: Again, way impairing the rights of persons, unacceptably to go beyond the limits of criticism; slander, insults and refrain from posting abusive content News (Dolunay & Kasap, 2017: 539; Dolunay, 2018: 35)

• Should reject personal interests: Journalist should avoid biased, “bespoke” news publications in order to provide personal interests (Erol, 2012: 129).

Within these groups, the principles of impartiality and objectivity, respect for personality rights, separation of news-comments and non-exceeding the limits of criticism will be taken into consideration in the context of examining the paragraphs to be discussed in the following news analyses.

On the other hand, the principles of communication ethics can be normed by the legislator. Of course, laws differ from country to country due to the differences in the political, cultural and legal traditions of countries, and therefore, if we accept it as self-regulation, the legislator's self-regulation, ie legal regulations for communication ethics, is a universal ethical principle. Since, it may vary between countries (Uzun, 2007: 28-29). However, it should be noted that, for the TRNC, the limitations of communication ethics, which are important in terms of press rights and freedoms, and the subject of work, have not been regulated by law, unlike many other countries (Dolunay, 2018: 44-45).

Methodology

In this study, because the number of new media news sites operating in the TRNC could not be determined "scientifically", the "random sample" of qualitative research methods was chosen and the following 5 news sites were selected: The aim of the study is to create statistical information about the new media news sites of TRNC (the number of published news - nominal, political, and other-related to the occurrence of ethical/legal infringement in related news, (November, December 2017). The identification of relevant sites, as noted, is based on the differences of the new media from the mainstream media; Due to the fact that the internet news sites operating in the TRNC are not required to register as TRNC media or printed newspapers and the exact number cannot be determined within the framework of not carrying out such a scientific study before; as was the case with the printed newspapers, due to their lack of a long history and political lineage, they were carried out with random sampling in qualitative research. The detection of related news sites, as stated, has been determined incidentally, a number of considerations have been considered.

Each of the related internet news sites;

1. Does the website have an executive team shown on website?

2. When did the publication start?

3. What is the political approach of a web site?

4 Does it publish only through new media? Are they also carrying out printed publications at the same time?

5 Is there any stories (original) created by the correspondent? Or does the website get stories and news releases/newsletters from other websites and agencies?

In qualitative research, considering the foregoing, the analysis conducted within the framework of randomly determined news website sample (suitable sampling/easily accessible status sampling within the scope of qualitative research); as in quantitative research methods.

Easily accessible case sampling in the construction of the sample has been preferred to give the research speed and practicality. Easily accessible case sampling is generally preferred in situations where it is not possible to use other sampling methods (Yıldırım & Şimşek, 2008).

Within the framework of the mentioned scanning, the number of news-forensic news of the related sites were determined; the highest number of ethical violations within the framework of the figures obtained from the total of five sites was accepted as variable; the highest ethical violations were found to be related on “car crash news, theft news and drug news alt.

Accordingly, the analysis of the news that contains the ethical violations identified in judicial news on “car crash news, stealing news and Drug News” was carried out by the method of content analysis

Content analysis is a research technique used to draw reproducible and valid conclusions about its content from data (Krippendorff, 1980: 25).

In this subject, together with the lack of scientific data; it has not been possible to determine the relevant number since there is no obligation to record in a formal and/or informal way new media news sites, such as printed newspapers from the mainstream media group.

In this subject, together with the lack of scientific data; it has not been possible to determine the relevant number since there is no obligation to record in a formal and/or informal way new media news sites, such as printed newspapers from the mainstream media group.

In this context, the data reached as a result of the media review; paragraphs in the contents of the news are examined, detailed descriptions of the above, “Impartiality and objectivity, respect for the rights of personality, news-commentary separation and criticism within the framework of the principles of non-transcendence” has been analyzed. Related analyses are grouped under one category and theme: “Human Honour and Dignity”.

In line with the content of the study, sometimes a very detailed coding is required; sometimes, such a comprehensive coding is not needed (Yıldırım & Şimşek, 2008: 233; Karataş, 2017: 80). In this context, due to the nature of the study, it was not deemed necessary to create a more complex coding and category and theme within the framework of the nature of the easy evaluation of the data obtained in the review of new media.

In addition to the basic method of the study, in-depth interviews were also conducted. An in-depth interview is a technique that allows one-to-one information gathering, in which detailed answers are taken by asking more open-ended questions, covering all dimensions of the research subject. (Johnson, 2002: 106; Tekin, 2006: 102).

In this context, members of the press who perform the task through the new media, “and limits the rights and freedoms of the press” and “communication ethics” to detect the angle of view issues, “in qualitative research purposive samples” under appropriate sampling/easily accessible case sampling” (convenience sampling) as determined by applying the method of the application Group (Twenty) with “semi-structured” in the form of in-depth interviews were also undertaken.

Research

Figure 1: Total; News - Forensic News Ratio

A total of 4676 (100%) news were reported on the relevant 5 news sites in 2-month period. Those news are generally found under "Cyprus", "Turkey" and "World" categories; some sites have "forensic news", "political news", "magazine news", "educational news" etc. As the example of TRNC is focused in this work, in 4676 news, mainly TRNC news was taken into account; within the framework of the methods of sorting by categories that can be distinguished in the above graphic on the sites;

• TRNC-focused forensic news: 1050 (22%),

• Other news (TRNC oriented other news and/or Turkey and world news in category: 3626 Total (78%) was identified as.

In this context, 1050 news (22%) consisting of TRNC-oriented forensic news in the published 4676 news items were examined.

Judicial Article Types

Figure 2: Distribution According To Types Of Judicial News

The types of judicial stories detected in the media (new media) research are as follows; the headings of relevant forensic news genres and/or genres were added to the study:

1. Murder Stories: 52 articles (5%),

2. Battered Articles: 110 articles (11%),

3. Other Judicial Articles: 5 articles (0%),

4. Suicide Articles: 10 articles (1%),

5. Car Accident Articles: 223 articles (21%),

6. Damage on Property Articles: 33 articles (3%),

7. Death Articles: 21 articles (2%),

8. Theft Articles: 296 articles (28%),

9. Rape-Harrasment Articles: 28 articles (3%), Drug Articles: 272 Articles (26%).

Proportion of Articles Containing Ethical Violations in Judicial News

Figure 3: Distribution According to Judicial Articles Which Have Ethical Violations

Ethical violation has been identified in 670 of the above mentioned 1050 judicial reports. The numerical/proportional distribution of detected news containing ethical violation by type is as follows.

Total number of articles containing ethical violations of;

1. Murder Articles: 36(5%),

2. Assault Articles: 59(9%),

3. Other Judicial Articles: 5(1%),

4. Suicide Articles: 5(1%),

5. Car Accident Articles: 168(25%),

6. Damage on Property Articles: 15(2%),

7. Death Articles: 3(1%),

8. Theft Articles: 188(28%),

9. Rape Articles: 8(1%),

10. Drug Articles: 182(27%).

As mentioned above; the subject which matter includes ethical violations (forensic news); have been identified in 3 sub-categories with the highest violation rates; the quota has been determined within the sample; it should be reiterated that the relevant categories are: "Theft news", "drug news", "accident news".

In the analysis of 5 internet news sites operated in the TRNC between November and December 2017, the most frequent publications in the forensic news and the most frequent ethical violations were identified as theft, drugs and accident news; In the context of the relevant categories, the ranking on the sites in terms of ethical violation rates are as follows:

Diyalog; 194 Stories/142 Stories containing ethical violations≌ 73%

Ada Haber; 21 Stories/15 Stories containing ethical violations ≌ 71%

Havadis; 222 Stories/154 Stories containing ethical violations ≌ 69%

Yeni Bakış; 271 Stories/149 Stories containing ethical violations ≌ 54%

Detay Kıbrıs; 72 Stories/11 Stories containing ethical violations ≌ 15%

In this context, in the category of judicial stories, the Diyalog internet news site was identified as the site with the most ethical violations; Ada Haber and Havadis internet news sites followed the Diyalog news site with close proportions, The Yeni Bakış internet news site has been identified as an internet news site with the lowest ethical violations followed by approximately 10% fewer ethical violations than the previous sites.

We have to mention first, it should be pointed out that there is a point of error about quantitative data. That is, in the sample, the ethical violation rate of the Havadis internet news site with the highest ethical violation in the forensic news category is 69% and the related rate of the new internet news site, Yeni Bakış is 54%. On the other hand, the number of news articles that contain ethical violations on the Havadis website 154; on Yeni Bakış it is 149.

Figure 4: Total Accident-Drug-Theft Stories/ Number of Car Accident Stores/ Number of Ethical Violations

In the analysis of 5 internet news sites operated in the TRNC between November and December 2017, the most frequent publications in the forensic news and the most frequent ethical violations were identified as theft, drugs and accident news; In the context of the relevant categories, the ranking on the sites in terms of ethical violation rates are as follows:

Diyalog; 194 Stories/142 Stories containing ethical violations≌ 73%

Ada Haber; 21 Stories/15 Stories containing ethical violations ≌ 71%

Havadis; 222 Stories/154 Stories containing ethical violations ≌ 69%

Yeni Bakış; 271 Stories/149 Stories containing ethical violations ≌ 54%

Detay Kıbrıs; 72 Stories/11 Stories containing ethical violations ≌ 15%

In this context, in the category of judicial stories, the Diyalog internet news site was identified as the site with the most ethical violations; Ada Haber and Havadis internet news sites followed the Diyalog news site with close proportions, The Yeni Bakış internet news site has been identified as an internet news site with the lowest ethical violations followed by approximately 10% fewer ethical violations than the previous sites.

We have to mention first, it should be pointed out that there is a point of error about quantitative data. That is, in the sample, the ethical violation rate of the Havadis internet news site with the highest ethical violation in the forensic news category is 69% and the related rate of the new internet news site, Yeni Bakış is 54%. On the other hand, the number of news articles that contain ethical violations on the Havadis website 154; on Yeni Bakış it is 149.

This is in direct proportion to the number of publications of internet news sites. Because, as the number of articles increases, the number of stories that contain ethical violations that are proportional to this number appears to be lower as a percentage.

However, more than half of the relevant judicial news reports on 4 of the 5 sites reviewed were of ethical violation. And this situation points to a very serious problem that there is a high rate of violations of personality rights in the news.

Interviews

Analysis

Figure 5: Sources and Confirming The Accuracy of News

Figure 6: Confirming The Accuracy of The News

Reasons and Preventions methods of Ethical Violations

Figure 7: Reasons of Ethical Violations

Figure 8: Preventions of Ethical Violations

Conclusion

Raising Awareness and Vocational Educational Activities

In particular, there are a number of discrepancies in the basic values of the basic press rights and freedoms and limitations mentioned above in publications made through new media, which are exemplified in other countries as well.

One of the most important violations in the TRNC is the stories about judicial events that are still in trial. In those related events, as the person has not yet been sentenced, and presumtion of innocence is the principal case of journalism, name and surname of the suspect, his/her photograph being publised is a major contrariety we faced in our analysis. Again, and again, some of the new media news site members, even the most restrictive approaches, and copyright infringements are also problematic. This and many other ethical violations in the new media journalism are based on two issues:

• Lack of Eduation/Lack of Professional Consciousness,

• Expectation of high clicks on website

In this framework, the first title, lack of education/vocational consciousness, may only be relevant in the context of increasing educational-awareness activities.

Firstly, it is necessary to mention that in order to be able to work as a member of the press, people should be graduated from the Faculty of Communication of the universities. However, in this field it is important to graduate from related undergraduate programs of universities, which is a basic condition for fulfilling the task, just like the profession of a lawyer or the profession of a doctor. Otherwise, insufficiently educated individuals are seen as "cheap labor"; and accordingly, legal and ethical principles will not be able to be prevented in the sector.

If educational deficiencies are addressed on the basis of inadequacy of professional consciousness, the problem is also related to the lack of knowledge and/or ignorance of professional principles of members of the press. Overcoming this situation, again, is to increase the awareness raising activities; It is necessary for universities to participate in these trainings and provide educational benefits before and after graduation, supplementary trainings, symposiums, conferences and panellars, support of education and important to all.

Improvement of Legal Regulations/Making it operative

• Revision of Press Act
It will be appropriate to emphasize once again the necessity of revising the TRNC Press Act. Because the limits of the ethical and moral boundaries are not drawn in the media. However, like the new media, there is now an important platform that is an alternative to the mainstream media. And the subject matter of the new platform, from the mainstream media, is quite different in terms of speed and accessibility. And the subject matter of the new platform, from the mainstream media, is quite different in terms of speed and accessibility.

In the study, how it has been revealed that ethical violations reaching to the advanced point can be discussed with the publications realized through new media news sites. Of course, there is a need for a psychological examination in addition to legal and ethical examination of the consequences of these issues. Because the honor and dignity of the individuals, which are contrary to the ethical and legal principles, and which are damaged in front of the society, may cause many psychological problems to arise. In this context, both the mainstream media and the media should be included in the media in order to regulate and broaden the rights and freedoms of new media members in a comprehensive manner.

• Making the Act of Information Operative
Again, the necessity of publishing through the media and new media within the framework of ethical and moral values stated above; should be regulated under the rules of law as well as Acts of Information.

The emergence and change of the internet, following its stages, as mentioned, is based on the high importance in the period called "digital age" it became apparent that the activities carried out in this environment should be regulated by the legal profession, functionally studying irregular human behavior.

In the framework of technological developments, the information law, which is the collection, processing, preservation and protection of the information that human beings use in technical, economic and social fields via electronic and similar machines, and the settlement of the disputes arising therefrom, is used in various countries, legal data (positive law). In the TRNC, the related offenses remain unpunished, as there is no currently enacted Act of information. This is one of the most important reasons for ethical violations.

On the other hand, in the Republican Assembly of the TRNC, despite the decision to draft a Act of Informaion in the related commission and the decision of the General Assembly to discuss the draft law, there has been no development yet. In this context, there will be no criminal offense or punishment. According to the basic criminal law principle, those who contradict the ethical and moral values stated in the publication, prepared and published on the new media can not be punished.

In the case of a long-lasting need for information law, all sharing on the new media, and therefore the publications of members of the press, will be subject to denial, thus avoiding ethical and non-ethical publications and/or deterring the publication of such publications; if they are done, they will be punished.

Equipping the Media Ethics Board or Equivalent to Build with a Power of Sanction

The necessity of using important journalistic principles and press rights and freedoms in this framework, which the Media Ethics Committee, which is mentioned in detail in the study, includes under the professionalism of journalism; As mentioned above, the media ethics committee is not fully effective in making ethical violations, although it has high importance, because it does not have material sanctions.

The Board does not have any power of sanctions on the complaints or decisions made by the Court. In other words, the board cannot remove the issue of infringement from a media organization that has committed an ethical violation or to a new media organization/site; imposing material sanctions such as ensuring compensation for violations; more often, it applies spiritual sanctions such as condemnation and warning.

The main duty of punishment, of course, is the courts, but the behavior and publications of members of the press, contrary to the limitation of press rights and freedoms, must also be restricted by the press law in advance; On the other hand, regarding the sharing of these news on the internet, it is necessary to punish these actions by entering into the Act of Information.

Moreover, when the decisions made by the foundation are examined, it is seen that a significant proportion of the mainstream media is related to ethical violations over the new media. The fact that violations of ethics in internet journalism activities are at a high level is the reason why these violations are going to go unpunished.

In particular, there are a number of discrepancies in the basic values of the basic press rights and freedoms and limitations mentioned above in publications made through new media, which are exemplified in other countries as well.

However, in the study, as we are not dealing with the Supreme Broadcasting Board established by the TRNC State, which regulates broadcasting of radio and television stations, is capable of enforcing power of sanctions in its decisions, including having principles similar to the principles of the ethics committee, and may make decisions such as monetary penalty (compensation), broadcasting suspension. Thus, media organizations feel obligated to comply with ethical standards.

Equal authority and equality of ethics (or any other body to be created by the state, based on legal grounds, and to conduct an ethics breach inspection in the media and in the new media) should also be recognized as a legal contradiction at the same time, it will be possible to make decisions that can be supported by material sanctions for the compensation of the damages.

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