Professionalism is a principle discipline in development of an individual in the line of duty. However, maintaining professionalism will demand concise understanding and adopting of professional codes of ethics. Codes of ethics are set standards governing the morals and discipline of a professional in his/her line of duty. Just like many other professionals, journalists have to be fervent on their professional code of ethic.
In USA, citizens enjoy the right to freedom of speech and press, courtesy of the First Amendment on the Bill of Right in US constitution. The constitutional right accords the citizens the freedom to speak openly without fear of being inducted or incarceration. On the same footing, the constitution grants individuals or cooperate bodies the right to obtain and publish information with fear of censorship from the government (Cohen 1-2). According to Kevin Smith the two sets of rights have been believed to be the driving forces for democratic leadership in a country. However, it should be remembered that speech can crumble democracy and development in an overnight when improperly employed.
Though the constitution has provisions for both the freedom of speech and press, there are limitations that check the extent of this right. The exception of freedom of expression prohibit individuals from employing speech or press to incite, threaten, use fight words, promote child pornography, engage in obscenity, offer false fact or even own somebody else speech (Cohen 1-15). Violation of these limits may lead to impeachment. Using somebody else speech is not only morally and literally wrong, but also unconstitutional.
Journalism is the most affected profession by the right to freedom of expression. The code of ethics guiding journalists champions for fairness, justice, integrity, accuracy, honesty, original work and act independently. Therefore, they should not accept favors or corrupt moves in an attempt of publishing or advertising a given piece of information (Smith 2012). This would be violating their code of ethics, which can lead to impeachment. Exceptions to freedom of speech serve the interest of the public and are also constitutional while code of ethics safeguards the welfare of the public. The latter is constitutionalized through act of parliament on journalism.
In conclusion, despite the constitutional right to freedom of speech and press, individuals need to understand the constitutional exceptions.
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