Media Ethics

Moiz Karim is a visiting journalist from Pakistan, working in the Michigan Radio newsroom for three weeks.
Reem Nasr / Michigan Radio

During my 25-day stay in Michigan, I found public media working for a mission, which is progress of the society, not money and power.

I am a Pakistani journalist and currently work at Michigan Radio in Ann Arbor, Michigan, under the journalist exchange program by the International Center for Journalists.

The people of Michigan and people of my home country face some common problems, especially issues related to health, broken roads, bankruptcy, crime and others. But I never saw public media reporters and editors take sides on these issues. Nor did I see them blame all the problems on the government.

From what I saw, public media teaches their society about their responsibilities and duties towards resolving the issues.

Once upon a time, there was a quaint notion that someone accused of a crime was considered innocent till they are proven guilty. I’m not sure where we ever got such an idea.

Oh, wait a minute. It goes back at least as far Ancient Rome, was always a part of English common law, and has been affirmed by the United States Supreme Court. 

Many years ago, when I began practicing journalism, it was drummed into me that since this was fundamental, and since innocent people are sometimes accused of crimes, we ought to assume in the course of writing and broadcasting that people are, indeed, innocent until proven guilty.

Rick Pluta / Michigan Public Radio

It’s been quite a week in Michigan. Maybe you heard about it?

Our legislature introduced and passed so called “right to work” legislation in two days and Republican Governor Rick Snyder signed it within hours, dealing a harsh blow to the more than 12,000 union supporting protestors surrounding the building.

But – did you see what I did there? Did my bias jump off the page at you?

Vincent Duffy

Last week, a bomb threat called in from Canada shut down the tunnel that runs under the Detroit River between Detroit and Windsor. The tunnel is the second busiest crossing between the United States and Canada. The busiest crossing is the Ambassador Bridge just more than a mile down river. The tunnel was closed to traffic for most of the afternoon while authorities from both countries inspected the tunnel and found no bomb.