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1291-1991 Switzerland Switzerland's birthday and SRI

1291-1991 Switzerland Switzerland's birthday and SRI
1291-1991 Switzerland Switzerland's birthday and SRI
Swiss Radio International
SBC Swiss Broadcasting Corporation

1291-1991 Switzerland

1291-1991 Switzerland Switzerland's birthday and SRI
Switzerland's Birthday and SRI

Roy Oppenheim

Values
In 1991, Anniversary Year, the words "value" and "virtue" will figure prominently in discussions and speeches. A nationwide debate on the fundamental values of Switzerland has been in the making for years. The media, an essential component of this country's political culture, will be included in the debate. The electronic media, in particular, will have to come up with an answer to the accusation that, day in and day out, by pumping out racy headlines and reducing events to a few short lines, radio, television and the press stage what has been called "a secularized he|l". In this way, so the critics say, curiosity about the unusual, the sensational, the spectacular — i.e., the negative — has come to determine the quasi-mythical pattern of present-day news reporting.
But if one takes a closer look it becomes apparent that, by and large, journalists are by no means particularly fond of bad news. Extraordinary events need not necessarily be negative. But to a person firmly rooted in a particular system of values, things to which he is accustomed are normal while the unfamiliar is perceived as abnormal.

Good and Evil in the Media
And yet- something really seems to be wrong. The discomfort provoked by the media must be taken seriously. The point is worth pondering for a moment or two. In present-day life, an accurate and realistic definition of "positive" (="good") and "negative" (="evil") is hardly possible. As never before in the history of mankind, society today is multicultural, pluralistic — and increasingly permissive. In democracies as we know them today, the spectrum of opinions, attitudes and values is growing wider and wider. Even values considered abnormal by the majority are tolerated. Such ideological pluralism can easily result in a state of disorientation and confusion, unless alternative value systems of what we might call a spiritual nature are available and intact.

The Call for an Ethical Yardstick
To conclude from what we have just said that the uneasiness with which many people react to the modern style of news reporting is not the problem of the media but solely a result of the direction in which society has evolved, would be making things too easy for ourselves. The media and the people who work in the media are, of course, also part of the permissive society, but this does not exempt them from the obligation to play their role in public communication with a high degree of responsibility and independence. It is, however, not enough simply to call for the establishment of a professional ethic and the definition of a set of "fundamental values". To strive for "objectivity of values" in the media world is a somewhat difficult undertaking. And yet, there are certain values by which a journalist can and should take his bearings. Such values or sets of values can be derived from our common history and they must be examined and judged anew by each successive generation.
In the final analysis, it is the duty of each individual working in the media to question his own role and behaviour against the background of the specific historical situation in which he finds himself. Time-tested virtues such as truthfulness, tolerance, objectivity, empathy, level—headedness, frankness, solidarity and a sense of justice are as useful for such sceptical self-analysis today as ever before.

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josef_zenchan

Author:josef_zenchan
Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem!
Behold, thy King cometh unto thee; He is the righteous Saviour, and He shall speak peace unto the heathen.

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