by International Journalists' Network, www.ijnet.org
In a September 24, 2007 online discussion board posted by the International Journalists' Network, IJNet asks its website users to respond to the question: "Is endorsing political candidates ethical?"
It's common practice in the United States, but the international journalists who responded appear on balance to believe endorsements unfairly limit discussion in the political space to too few candidates.
Here's a sample of responses from the IJNet discussion board:
ken ugbechie | 25/09/2007
I am a Nigerian journalist. I find the endorsement of political candidates strange and unhealthy. Rather than endorse candidates, the media should play up the strengths and weaknesses of candidates and leave the electorate to decide. Endorsing a particular candidate, a decision often informed by pecuniary or anticipated pecuniary gains, tend to shut out other candidates from the political space. Most times the media has come out with more smudge on its face as in the case of John Kerry and Washington Post.
Charles ATANGANA | 25/09/2007
I am an economic journalist from cameroon and i just want to say that in cameron some political parties and the ruling party have their own medias. And it`s now a reality that in cameroon since the early year of 1990, the media have endorse election candidates. The large public funding media has endorse the actual president and all membres of the government. But i think that to be objective in doing our job, even receiving some funding from them, the endorsement of politician running for public office is unacceptable and the media should refrain supporting candidates for the sake of objectivity, meanwhile those medias funding by some sponsors running for public office have no choice of not doing that. It`s for their own sake to support and endorse the boss. Right and left wing or central are only the politician choice on the medias and not the medias themselves.
Augustine Beecher | 25/09/2007
Judging from my country, Sierra Leone, it would seem like endorsing politicians and political parties is a way of life for many journalists. Almost all the newspapers and radio stations were very much one-sided in their reports during the just concluded elections. Whether they were financially rewarded for doing so is not clear to me, but I am very certain that they were not objective as journalists should be.