Assignment Task/ Requirement File
ACC717 Law Media Communication
Essay 50% 2,500 words
Strict maximum, 10% under is permitted.
Question: How do ethical regulations and legal provisions compel professional communicators to consider the public interest?
Advice and Guidance
- This is a sustained research reliant assignment.
- You should refer to at least one case study in your answer and refer to topics covered up to the due date of this assignment, without needing to mention topic material that does not relate to your study.
- The idea is to select the material that relates to your chosen case study/studies, and not to refer to all topics for no benefit to your analysis.
- Please answer the question without the use of long, generalised and/or unsupported comment at the introduction. This is NOT demonstrating scholarly research. Avoid statements such as “The media faces many challenges in today’s modern world.” Be precise and specific.
- Professional communication principles apply, i.e. get to the point as concisely and clearly as possible. The reader should be clear about the point before they reach the end of the first page.
This will be easier if you a) keep up with the Topic content and readings, and b)
start the assignment early, recognising that it does require research of scholarly and media material.
Be carefulnottouseunacknowledgedmaterialfromaprevious assignmentin this unit, or from the internet, as this will be detected (even if words arechanged) by Turnitin and/or manual checking of references by marker(s). Weareobligatedbypolicytoreport anysuspectedplagiarismand/orcollusion.
- Pleaseavoidleavingeitherassignmentuntilthelastminute.Ifyouhavedoubtsaboutyourabilitytodevotetherequiredtimetothe50%assignments,and the reading/topicstudyrequiredfor their successfulcompletion,itisadvisabletoconsiderdeferringenrolmentintheunit.
On Content and Format
- Word count does not include reference list or in text references
- It is essential that you follow the Harvard Referencing Guide (available via Deakin Sync/Study or the Finding Academic and Scholarly Sources
module in the Assessments folder in “Resources”
- Format – at least 12pt font, 1.5 or double line spacing, page numbers
- Uploaded file must be in either MS Word or PDF, to enable Turnitin to read it. Other file types will not be marked. Until the correct file is
available for marking and Turnitin checking, late penalties have to be applied until the correct file is submitted.
- English as Additional Language students can obtain assignment advice and support from the Language and Learning Advisors at DSA
- Refer to readings supplied in E Readings and also conduct your own research to support your argument
- You can select your own case study, relevant to your area of communication practice (i.e. journalism, PR, advertising)
Previous students have written about, for e.g.–
- the right to a fair trial and journalism relating to a crime reporting case study or studies (1-2),
- ethical regulations and truth in advertising,
- PR ethics and public interest – whether the law helps or is PR unregulatable?
- A country case study (e.g. India, Philippines) and how the media was supported or constrained by the law and/or local ethical code of practice (for students who are based outside of Australia and wish to focus on their own legal context, you should refer to
international ethical provisions as well as those in your country).
- You can either agree or disagree with the question, but support your position with your selected example (s) and secondary material (readings). Random Google search findings are ok for the early part of your research but should develop from there, into selecting material that complements your clear use of UNIT READINGS
- Wikipedia is not a scholarly research source. It does provide leads to such sources at the Reference List on most entries.
- There is no set number of references required and no need to list items that you haven’t referred to in your essay.
- If you are confused by the assignment question, please ask for clarification early so that the best support/advice can be provided for you.
Complete Solution/Sample Answer
Law Media Communications
The primary objective of legal ethics is to protect the honor and dignity of the profession of law to guarantee that the clients have a cordial and honest relationship with their counsel and that the attorneys are held accountable towards society. Ethics is a set of principles that regulate a person’s behavior, particularly a professional member. While people hold ethical views, the values, practices, and policies that drive the choices made on behalf of their organizations, can also be reflected. Professions and organizations adopt a “Code of Ethics” regularly to govern members’ behavior (Cramer 2015). Doctors, for example, in the medical field take an ethical commitment to “do no damage.” ‘Engineers must take precedence over security, health and the well being of the public in carrying out their professional obligations,’ reads the Code of the United States Society of Mechanical Engineers.’
Legal conduct complies with the requirements of laws created and interpreted by the courts. The availability of legislation, rules and codes facilitates the determination of the legality of a course of action in decision-making. In contrast to ethical concerns, consequences for acting in a manner contrary to the law are imposed (Brooks and Dunn, 2020). But what defines lawful activity is likewise changing as society advances. The possession or consumption of marihuana in the State of Colorado was, for example, until recently, prohibited. The legislation of marijuana would need reinterpretation of current laws and, of course, further legislation to regulate past criminal activity. Whether a person believes it is ethical to use a possibly dangerous chemical or not, this is now permitted by the law. In this essay, we will discuss how ethical regulations and legal provisions compel professional communicators to consider the public interest?
Any system will influence the constitutional culture of public interest litigation. A sense that courts may and must utilize significant review powers is likely to promote an active PIL under a constitution based on participatory democracy. Conversely, the use of courts for public interest organizations is constrained by a system that only provides a limited judicial review and concentrates the powers to assess the public interest in the legislative and executive sectors.
In this view, a method of public interest law would involve both governmental authorities and judges using discretion in following abstract conceptions of universal well-being, such as fairness (Johnston, 2016). This, however, exposes a major institutional blind hole established during the past decade or so of change. Although the state government is arguably less governing than during the communist system, legal reforms are progressively giving public authorities discretionary freedom of decision-making with the legislative process firmly within the competence of the parliament. However, insufficient focus has been put on the essential principles and practices that guide the discretion of public authorities. It has resulted in unfair law enforcement and in an inefficient system for public accountability for governments.
In the judiciary, the situation is similar, since the exercise of the discretion of judges in Central and Eastern Europe is likewise very undeveloped. The first Polish ombudsman Ewa Letowska has described how that is founded in communist history and has become judge of the Supreme Administrative Courts of Poland. ‘There was no just a statute for [Socialistic law] courts, but also for all acts of the norm (Sugiura et al., 2017). The legal system was not only a statute system but also an act made by the government. The courts claimed that, even though the executive was issued by constitutional legislation, they could not [exercise] control.”
As a communications expert, you also need to do your work at several levels concerning your commitment to social responsibility. Due to the overall and influential message of mass communications media organizations and experts are highly qualified. The perspective of social responsibility helps to describe how this works.
Three degrees of accountability influence your job as a communicator. The following are:
Societal: links between media systems and other key social institutions.
Professional / Organizational: self-regulation and norms for the professional behavior of your profession and your media company.
Personal: the duty you are responsible for society, your career, your audience, and yourself.
The societal view explores the interaction of media organizations with other important institutions in society (Napoli 2015). It is vital to understand the societal consequences of your job and the regulations under which you function as a communication professional.
The traditional way through which society has tried to safeguard the legal and ethical conduct of persons with major social obligations has been professional education and licensing. Specific training follows tests, state certification, and administration of the priests, including the pledges to fulfill requirements established for professionals in the areas of law, medicine, accounts, education, architecture, engineering, and other skills.
It inspires and guides the ethical behavior of all computer professionals, including existing and prospective physicians, educators, students, influencers, and everyone who impact fully utilizes computer technology. In addition, the code provides a remedy for infringements. The Code comprises principles established as accountability statements based on the idea that the priority is always the public interest. Each principle is complemented by directives that explain the understanding and application of the principle by computer professionals.
The ethical and legal problems of human participant clinical research have for many years raised the attention of policymakers, attorneys, scientists, and clinicians. The Helsinki Declaration laid out the ethical standards applicable to human participant clinical research. The goal of clinical research is to gather and analyze system data that can generalize findings, enhance clinical practice, and help patients in the future. For this reason, it’s important to know good clinical practice (GCP), the international standard of quality that comes from the ICH, the Central Drug Standard Control Organization GCP (the US Food and Drug Management Industry equivalent of India), and a local version of the GCP, which is the international standard of quality for human use.
Section 1 provides the framework of the rest of the Code for the essential ethical standards. Section 2 deals with further, more specific professional liability issues. Section 3 guides those with a leading role, whether in the workplace or as volunteers. Every ACM member is supposed to be committed to ethical behavior, and under section 4 there are guidelines for conformity with the Code.
The whole Code examines the fundamental principles of ethics in the conduct of a computer profession. Instead, the code serves as a framework for ethical decision-making, not a solution method for ethical dilemmas. A computer expert may find that while considering a given problem, numerous principles must be considered and that there is a difference in relevance to the problem.
2.1 Contribute to society and human well-being, recognizing that all people are computer stakeholders
This concept, which is about quality of life in all people, confirms the computer professionals’ duty to apply their know-how to society, to their members, and their surroundings, both individually and collectively. This responsibility involves the promotion of fundamental human rights and the protection of the right to autonomy of each individual. Computers are primarily designed to reduce the negative impacts of computing, including health, safety, personal safety, and privacy risks (Suter 2015). When the interests of several groups collide, more attention and importance should be attached to the demands of those who are less advantaged.
Computer professionals should examine if the results of their work respect diversity, socially accountable use, social needs, and accessibility. They are encouraged by the pro bono or voluntary labor for the public good to contribute actively to society.
Besides a secure social context, a secure natural environment for human well-being is needed. Therefore, computers should help local and global environmental sustainability.
In this text, the damage is negative, particularly when it comes to large and unfair effects. Unfair bodily or mental damage, unwarranted information destruction or disclosure, and unjustifiable property damage, reputation, and environmental damage are examples (Dudley, 2016). This is not a comprehensive list.
Well-thought-out acts, including those doing the tasks assigned, can be harmful. When the injury is inadvertent, the perpetrators must reverse or reduce the harm as far as feasible. Avoiding damage begins if possible implications on all decision-makers are carefully considered. If the injury is a deliberate element of the system, individuals responsible must guarantee that the harm is justified morally. Make sure all damage is minimized in any situation.
Professionals should insist on high-quality work by themselves and coworkers and encourage that. Duration of the job should be respected for employers, workers, colleagues, clients, users, and everyone else who is touched by the activity, directly or indirectly (Morrell et al., 2015). Professional computers should respect the right of everyone engaged to communicate on the project transparently. Professionals should be aware of significant negative impacts that might come from low-quality work on all stakeholders and should resist incentives to disregard this duty.
High-quality computing depends on the people and the teams responsible for the acquisition and maintenance of professional skills. The technical knowledge and understanding of the social environment within which its work might be used beginning with professional competence. Professional expertise also needs the ability to communicate, analyze and recognize and navigate ethical problems (Bosslet et al., 2015). The improvement of abilities should be a continuous process and may involve individual study, participation in conferences or seminars, and other informal or formal education. These activities should be promoted and facilitated by professional groups and companies.
Confidential information such as trade secrets, customer information, non-public company plans, financial information, research data, pre-publication academic items, and patent applications are routinely entrusted to computer experts. Computing professionals should preserve confidentiality, unless when there is proof that the law, the organizational norms, or the Code have been violated (Lustgarten 2015). In this scenario, it should not be possible to reveal the type of substance of the information except to competent authorities.
In an accountancy business, you are one of three partners. Five years ago, a new, successful, and rapidly expanding business was assigned external accountants, who are engaged in the preparation of financial statements and tax reports. The company has begun trading with a few employees but now has 200 employees and is still below the required audit level.
You are aware that, as a result of a very strong relationship with the business’s directors (who own it) and a number of its employees, managers of production products are authorized to acquire the items produced by the firm and process them outside the accounting system. The funds are utilized to finance the Christmas celebration of the company.
Integrity: Would the omission of revenue from employee sales lead to false accounting and return to the tax authority? Is the practice dishonest and what should your participation be?
Objectivity: How can you retain your objective position while determining what to do, given the confidence that has been established between you and your customer, and the threat of your familiarity with the directors and personnel of the company?
Competency and due care professional: You need to guarantee that your financial information on your customer’s behalf is technically and professionally compatible.
Professional behavior: How should you act to safeguard your company, your professions, and your reputation?
Take accounting standards and related legislation and regulations into consideration. Determine the method presently used to manage the sales of staff and finance the Christmas party employees.
Identify the parties involved:
You and your company, your customer company, its managers and personnel, and your company users, including the Tax Administration, are key parties involved.
Your company’s reputation may be compromised and you should expose your partners to that ethical problem. You should keep your partners aware and attentive to any prospective obligation for notifying your professional compensation insurers throughout the settlement process. The question is not to be debated with any of the client’s employees; however, the administrators should be notified of the situation and involved in the resolution as soon as feasible.
You should address your concerns with the customer’s managers after having drawn notice of your partner’s issues and received the appropriate details of the customer’s sales accounting system. You will also have to decide if the accounts of past years can be deceptive and if so, take into account your (or your client’s) duty to report to appropriate authorities (including the tax authority). You must firmly encourage the managers the implementation of a sales policy to guarantee that these sales are completely documented in the accounting system of the enterprise in the future.
You should explain to the managers what their actions mean and that in advocating how the issue may be fixed, you defend the interests of the firm and its personnel. If the directors are cooperative, you should inform them of the modifications to the accounting system proposed and how the previous unreported earnings can be notified to the tax authority.
When the managers look hesitant to modify the sales system, they are obligated to distance themselves against any participation in the financial statements of the company and this will need your company to quit as an accountant. You can ask your professional body for advice at any time.
You are obligated to examine your duty of reporting to one or more authorities because of the behavior of your customer.
If your ethical judgment is questioned in the future, you should document fully the procedures you follow while resolving your problem.
For professionals in the public relations sector, you may need to respond to a company crisis, therefore it is vital to understand what corporate disclosure regulations demand or limit. Later in this session, we will talk about different legal viewpoints.
Communicators with social responsibility are not happy only with the correct part of the legislation. Whereas a large share of our values is enshrined in law, individuals and organizations who wish to be seen as socially responsible must go above the basic requirements of the law and embrace higher and more deliberate standards.
Finally, certain public ethics bodies perform duties that they were not explicitly established to serve. For example, a committee established to write legislation may be ineffective in one sense but may enhance public awareness of a problem via its debates. The success assessment of a certain public ethical organization might therefore be made more useful if achievements that are accidental or unrelated to the required role of a particular group are also taken into consideration. The question should also be asked whether public ethical groups should be evaluated based on their overall effect or their products. Public trust in the profession of law and the administration of justice must be available. To this aim, it is important, not only so that the profession is aware of its ethical duties, but also because that is in the public interest, that clearly stated norms of behavior are adopted. In the present context, the discipline of a lawyer who abuses his trust position or breaches his ethical responsibilities to his client would be extremely difficult and unlikely. In most instances, the customer is not aware that a violation of professional ethics has occurred. In addition, the operation of administrative procedures should be better understood and instruments developed that facilitate the exercise of discretion by public workers
Bosslet, G.T., Pope, T.M., Rubenfeld, G.D., Lo, B., Truog, R.D., Rushton, C.H., Curtis, J.R., Ford, D.W., Osborne, M., Misak, C. and Au, D.H. 2015. An official ATS/AACN/ACCP/ESICM/SCCM policy statement: responding to requests for potentially inappropriate treatments in intensive care units. American journal of respiratory and critical care medicine, 191(11), pp.1318-1330.
Cramer, B.W. 2015. Privacy exceptionalism and confidentiality versus the public interest in uncovering universal service fraud. Communication Law and Policy, 20(2), pp.149-190.
Dudley, M. 2016. Helping professionals and Border Force secrecy: Effective asylum-seeker healthcare requires independence from callous policies. Australasian Psychiatry, 24(1), pp.15-18.
Johnston, J. 2016. Public relations and the public interest. Routledge.
Lustgarten, S.D. 2015. Emerging ethical threats to client privacy in cloud communication and data storage. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 46(3), p.154.
Morrell, B., Forsyth, R., Lipworth, W., Kerridge, I. and Jordens, C.F. 2015. Rules of engagement: Journalists’ attitudes to industry influence in health news reporting. Journalism, 16(5), pp.596-614.
Napoli, P.M. 2015. Social media and the public interest: Governance of news platforms in the realm of individual and algorithmic gatekeepers. Telecommunications Policy, 39(9), pp.751-760.
Sugiura, L., Wiles, R. and Pope, C. 2017. Ethical challenges in online research: Public/private perceptions. Research Ethics, 13(3-4), pp.184-199.
Suter, S.M. 2015. The First Amendment and Physician Speech in Reproductive Decision Making. Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics, 43(1), pp.22-34.
Brooks, L.J. and Dunn, P. 2020. Business and Professional Ethics. Cengage Learning.
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