Limitation of Harm

The Harm Limitation principle is vital to the world of journalism and deals with whether or not things that are learned should be reported, and how. A reporter often goes through many great lengths to get their information including carrying out interviews, performing background checks, recording sound bites, videotaping, and even taking photographs. It is up to them to decide how exactly to report that information and if it is ethical to do so. Full disclosure sometimes means negative consequences, so occasionally the principle of limitation can create an ethical dilemma for journalists as well.

There are specific guidelines that journalists follow to ensure their limiting harm done to their sources. They include being sensitive when in search of or even using interviews or photographs of those affected by tragedy. It is important to show empathy for those who may be negatively affected by news coverage. When dealing with children or inexperienced sources, it is vital to use unique compassion and be vigilant about revealing their identities, as well as victims of sex crimes. It is also imperative to be extra cautious when handling criminal suspects, avoiding naming them before the filing of charges and trying to balance the suspect's fair trial rights with the right to inform the public.

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