Archbishop slams journalists over

The Archbishop of Canterbury is to warn journalists against
“lethally damaging” practices in a lecture at Lambeth Palace tonight.
 
Dr Rowan Williams will tell an audience of media
professionals, politicians and Church leaders that the central task of
the media is to “nourish the common good of society”.
 
An advance copy of his speech says: “If the
profession is to perform its necessary job, some aspects of current
practice are lethally damaging to it, and contribute to the
embarrassingly low level of trust in the profession (especially in the
UK) shown in most opinion polls.”
 
He adds: “There is a difference between exposing
deceptions that sustain injustice and attacking confidentialities or
privacies that in some sense protect the vulnerable…high levels of
adversarial and suspicious probing send the clear message that any kind
of concealment is guilty until proved innocent.
 
“That is a case that needs more than just
assumptions to be morally persuasive.
There are undoubtedly facts which would be of huge interest to a
certain sort of public, but are not by any stretch of the imagination
matters of public interest in the sense that not knowing them creates
or prolongs a seriously unjust situation.”
 
Williams will also argue that the media creates “a parallel universe” remote from most people’s real experience.
 
He says: “There is a tension at the heart of the
journalistic enterprise. Its justification is that it promises to
deliver what other sources can’t, information that is needed to equip
the reader or viewer or listener for a more free and significant role
as a human agent. But at the same time, it is bound to a method and a
rhetoric that treats its public as consumers and the information it
purveys as a commodity.”
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