Truth as an Ethical Principle

  • Clifford G. ChristiansEmail author
Part of the Contemporary Gulf Studies book series (CGS)


Truth is typically understood as the primary standard of news media organizations and of social media networks. Most codes of media ethics, including Al Jazeera’s, specify the reporters’ duty to tell the truth. Though interpreted in various ways, truthtelling has been centered on human rationality and empirical methods. In the traditional view, objective reporting is not only the goal of competent professionals, but neutrality is considered a moral imperative. The dominant scheme is increasingly controversial, and theoretical work in international media ethics contributes by finding a new pathway intellectually. A different concept of truth as authentic disclosure gives the idea of truth a global understanding. News, defined as disclosing the inside meaning, brings to light the underlying puzzles that enable audiences to work constructively on socio-political problems themselves. For research on Al Jazeera, the question is whether it practices what might be called interpretive sufficiency or in Geertz’s terms “thick description.” Interpretive sufficiency locates cultures in a non-hierarchical relationship to the moral dimension of human life. In this view, news is a form of knowledge production, in contrast with news as an information system. The intellectual history of truth in the Occident is accounted for, with the universal idea of aletheia providing the assessment of the Al Jazeera Media Network worldwide.


Information Globalism Language Media ethics Objectivity Truth 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of IllinoisChampaignUSA

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