Ethical Angles

Who can see your photos?

As Sophie mentioned in her post Facebook and children, there has been a drastic increase in young users accessing popular social networking sites: Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. However, what most children and adults fail to notice is who can actually access your personal photos?

Once you upload photos to Facebook, they are owned by Facebook. Did you know that? It’s true and although many of you may not remember reading that fact, you certainly accepted to that term and condition!

There has been a lot of news coverage lately regarding photos stolen from young girls Facebook profiles then being uploaded onto pornography sites or even used on online advertisements under the name ‘Facebook Sluts.’

The channel 4 documentary, My Social Network Stalker showed the shocking case of the University student Ruth Jeffery. She told her story from the first abusive message she received in 2008, to the sexually explicit photos and videos her boyfriend Shane Webber circulated on the internet.

‘The internet is a dangerous world when it comes to keeping your privacy.’ (Ruth Jeffery)

Image of Ruth Jeffery taken from Mail Online

Image of Ruth Jeffery taken from Mail Online

Many users do not visit the ‘privacy settings’ on their Facebook account. Once you sign up your account is automatically set to a public setting. This means that everyone can view your profile and find your the URL via search engines. I think this is unethical, as many are completely unaware of this.

Are social networking sites in the wrong for automatically putting us on a public setting?

In everyday life it is down to you to ensure your privacy is kept private. However, the online world is a completely different story.  You could be sharing your photos or information with hundreds or thousands of people worldwide without even realising!

Anyone could be on Facebook and it is not the clean site it originally was, there are countless cyber bullies, spammers, trolls and hackers on it. Times are changing, with primary school children now on social networking sites, should Facebook be taking responsibility and upping their security to keep us safe? I believe a stronger ethical policy should be in place. Although the simple answer would be to stop children using the sites, nowadays it is almost impossible to monitor the ages of users. However, In my opinion I believe we need to consider ethics first! Protecting children should be the priority.

Wouldn’t you feel safer if you or your children were automatically put on a private setting?

It would then be our choice to change our profile visibility.

A tip for us all to take and remember, be vigilant when it comes to posting on the internet, once it is online it is difficult to erase, however unethical it may be!

A question to you all – Is it possible to have social networking profiles, without having the world see your images?

By Saby Salvatierra


Pro Ana, What does this mean to you?

Thinspiration, Thinspo, Pro Ana, Pro Mia, ED. Type any of these into Google, instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest or Twitter and you will be directed to the disturbing world of eating disorders and images of ‘inspiration’ and ‘thin ideals’ for young people to aspire to.

The impact of these sites and images on adults is shocking, let alone children younger than 13, who have access to social media and to Google. The images shown are powerful and can be presented in really quite a persuasive way to young people, with encouragement of extremely low calorie diets and fasting to achieve them. The messages behind these images are that skin and bones are the ideal, the perfect body, and that you will not be happy or successful until you have achieved emaciation.

Although the majority of the pro anorexia sites have been removed from search engines, blogs, Tumblr pages and personal profiles on instagram are still running, allowing young people to bare witness to these frightening images and the lives of those suffering with eating disorders with ease and no restrictions.

Should we ban all promotion of eating disorders and associated blogs to protect children and teenagers?

Although i understand the angle that the internet is freedom of expression, but when this expression affects the health of vulnerable children , we should protect them by any means we can.

Maybe we should be considering why these young people are entering those keywords into search engines or on social media sites in the first place? 

Facebook and children- Should we let the nippers network?

An article in the June edition of The Economist was pointed out to me in a problem based learning session in a lecture last week. We are using problem based learning techniques to as a group define the problem of our chosen topic, research the different areas, then all adopt a different ethical argument and engage that with our bloggers. There is no right answer to problem based learning; we intend to explore the issue of under 13’s on social networks. “The structured exploration of a research problem” (Mills). I am exploring the ethical issues connected with this topic and Ella and Saby will follow, sharing their views on the crisis management that could be involved and the issues surrounding it.

Image taken from

Image taken from

There are safeguard measures in place on Facebook so under 13’s cannot access an account and create a profile. 13 year olds are clever. They know a simple, quick lie will break this barrier and expose them to the cruel, brutal world of social networking; the bullies and paedophiles that potentially lie beneath the photos, waiting for their next victim. Some may say oh it’s their choice if they want to use Facebook, or it’s down to the parents to guard. What happens when a child is neglected at home and given all the freedom they ask for? They join Facebook to find company, someone to show them friendship and love. A 14 year old girl, blonde hair blue eyes, lives in the same town. In reality this could be a 60 year old child molester. So the girl, who is neglected at home, continues through her young life and falls into this trap and the abuse begins. Using the parent’s digression to monitor under 13’s use of social networking is fine, when the parents care or have enough time to do so. The example above is far too common and we have to stop this happening. Do we want to encourage deceit and lies amongst young people?

5.6 million under 13 year olds as an estimate in America already use Facebook.

Removing the safeguard and allowing children to use Facebook is a catalyst for a crisis.

At least once a week I see items on my news feed on Facebook which are spam. They are sometimes porn videos that are sent to all your friends if your curiosity demands enough of you to originally click on them. A 12 year old boy, innocently using Facebook to chat to school friends could be exposed to this. He may think this is the way to act if you are using Facebook. Therefore, Facebook can send out the wrong message to young people and cause a crisis amongst a generation.

We can’t escape social networking; it is part of the age we live in now. However, with that comes a flood of problems, some of which have been pointed out above. Solution is better than cure. A solution would be creating a platform for young people to use. Maybe a kids Facebook, a site designed differently a younger appeal. When I was 13 I wasn’t on Facebook, Facebook was a site my sister used, who was at University, a site for older kids. I used Bebo. I am not naive enough to believe there were no fake accounts, no paedophiles lurking beneath the photos. Although, I am sure the common perception amongst my friends and I was that Bebo was for our school year, and kids our age. Now, Facebook is used by 12 – 80 year olds. Placing strict safeguards on a new site, designed for children, with many safety check and parental input, may begin to reduce the number of children on Facebook.

Do you social networking users agree? I’m interested to find out… Thanks, Sophie.

I am Malala

On the 9th October 2012 Malala Yousafzai a 15 year activist Pakistani girl was shot on her way home from school by the Taliban…


Image taken from BBC News

Malala first became known at the tender age of 11, when she began writing a blog for the BBC Urdu. It contained personal thoughts and views on her life under the Taliban laws.

Her father owned a private girls school in their hometown Mingora in the Swat District. However, the school was then shut down forbidding girl’s education,

A sad quote from her blog ‘Diary of a Pakistani school girl’ posted on February 2009.

 “I felt hurt on opening my wardrobe and seeing my uniform, school bag and geometry box. Boys’ schools are opening tomorrow, but the Taliban have banned girls’ education”

Here is a clip of The New York Times documentary of Malala and family –

After her success and awareness from her blog and documentaries, she then became an education and woman’s rights activist for her hometown, wanting to go into politics to help solve the crises in Pakistan.

This young girl had many dreams, she originally wanted to be a Doctor. However, after witnessing crises she began to devote herself to beliefs of woman’s rights.

3 years after, the Taliban decided to target her for “promoting secularism.” They later claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was punishment for campaigning for the rights of girls to go to school.

The spokesman of the shooter then sent a letter to the press, with quotes from the quran..

‘Whom so ever leads a campaign against Islam and Shariah is ordered to be killed by Shariah’

Do you think it is right to be punished for what you believe in, if it is considered forbidden by your religion?

His words of pride shocked the public, including former Prime Minister Gordon Brown and current UN Special Envoy for Global Education. Brown launched a United Nations petitioning Malala’s name, with the slogan “I am Malala” and ordering that all children worldwide be in school by the end of 2015. Brown then declared he would hand the petition to Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari in November.

Saturday 11th November has now been labelled “Malala and the 32 million girls day”, it marks exactly one month since she was shot.

With masses of headlines surrounding Malala’s shooting and petition,

Do you think I am Malala will work?

By Saby Salvatierra

Is education to blame for ignorance towards embracing other cultures and religions?


Last week Sophie, Saby and myself held a facilitated discussion considering ‘Burkas in Britain’. The discussion was guided by three different cases, in order to gain opinions from our classmates about the topic. The case studies included the French ban of the Burka; the young girl Malala Yousafzai who was shot because of her fight for girl’s education, and finally my case study of the Channel Four documentary ‘ Make Bradford British’.

The documentary is a social experiment to explore how different cultures, ages, genders and religions integrate and live together. It highlighted the difficulties faced when mixing all of these factors and demonstrated not only incidents of racism, but sexism and pure ignorance.

With a growing number of Muslims in the UK, living alongside another culture and religion is a certainty. However, the area of uncertainty is Britain’s willingness to understand and embrace this fact. The discussion highlighted that a lot of people think the reason behind the ignorance to integration is a bad education system within the very schools we attend here in Britain. When growing up and developing through school years, little is taught about living AND integrating with other religions and cultures. Yes, we were taught Religious Education as a core subject. Moreover, learning about the history of Islam, does not encourage integration and communication across cultures in this modern day. The reason behind the lack of guidance through school considering integration, may be because some teachers (who at that age, we thought knew everything about everything) are still ignorant about the importance of this.

“Do you agree that the education system has failed generations, by not informing and preparing them for the cultures they will have to live with in Britain?”

On the other hand, the group decided that unlike a lot of their parents, their willingness to accept people from all different backgrounds was greater. So will being open minded but perhaps slightly uneducated in certain areas of religion be enough to see us through the imminent transition?

“What other reasons are there for an ignorance to embracing different cultures and religions?”

Has the Burqa ban in France created equality for women or simply highlighted unethical and biased governmental decisions?


In April 2011, France introduced a new law against women covering their faces with a full head veil in public. This law also affected men, it is now illegal for men to force/encourage women to cover their faces in public, and if the female is below 18 the male can face a fine of up to £30,000. You may ask, how will the authorities gather enough evidence around men forcing women to cover their faces? Have the French authorities introduced a new law which is almost impossible to enforce fully? The answer is yes.

Image taken from The Huffington Post

This is why… Only French police can approach women seen in public wearing a burqa. She will then be asked to remove it and referred to a local judge. A fine can be dealt, which is usually equivalent to £130. French politicians in favour of this law, argue that they are fighting gender equality and banning the burqa will improve this. However, do Muslims who choose to fully cover their faces feel at a less advantage to those women showing their full face? Do they feel they are less significant? No, it is their culture and they wish to have the freedom to display this culture in this free world they chose to live in, France. Soon after the law was in place, 100 incidents of women in niqab were reported and filed by French police. Less than 10 are being taken through court.

Are there underlying historical reasons behind this burqa ban? This legal requirement in France for women to show their full face in public, no matter what religion, culture or ethical tradition you originate from could argue that we are not in the 21st century!

The Huffington Post reported in April 2011, how it is quietly evident that security reasons were considered when banning the burqa. After 9/11 authorities are nervous, they want to be able to see people’s eyes, faces etc. Is it fair to say more crimes are committed by people with covered faces than not? Are there reports, statistics or evidence to show this?

“KABUL, Afghanistan — A Taliban suicide bomber disguised as a woman wearing a burqa blew himself up in a market in eastern Afghanistan on Saturday, killing four French troops, officials said.” (The Huffington Post, H. Vogt. 2012)

Are incidents like this enough to remove women’s rights in France to wear what they want, express their freedom and live their life the way they want?

Does being in the public spotlight relinquish your right to privacy?

The Leveson inquiry brought to light the highly unethical and frankly disgraceful tactics used by journalists in order to gain information to feed their readers. There is no doubt that the phone hacking that occurred at the News of the World was immoral and underhand.But do celebrities and public figures relinquish the right to privacy when they enter the world of stardom?

The differing views on the answer to this question are unlikely to reach a unanimous decision, but hopefully discussing this issue, will go some way to helping people consider their own morals and ethics and how they treat information given by newspapers.

It goes without saying that the media and celebrities careers depend on the others existence. With no celebrity there is no story, and with no stories there would be no celebrity. The media is a worryingly powerful catalyst for building or destroying a brand or image. In many ways the media are positive in providing information to their readers, however it is the ways and means this information is gathered which harbors the problem.

The leveson inquiry saw numerous celebrities that had experienced phone hacking during the time the News of the world. Their privacy blatantly ignored and their personal life exposed.

Do we as the consumers of the media crave ‘gossip’ so desperately that we are willing to set our own expectations of privacy aside?

Jude Law is among several celebrities who have received compensation after their phone was hacked by the News Of The World.

Although celebrities should expect some level of intrusion into their personal lives in interviews and questions from fans and media, surely we should allow them to also experience the same understanding and high level of respect for their personal lives as we would expect. Some of these celebrities have been compensated including big names like Jude Law, and the paper responsible for the phone hacking has closed down, this does not go to say that the media aren’t still using unethical tactics to gather information, they may just be better hidden in the depths of the companies.

I would ask you all to consider two things. Firstly, is the need to discover information about celebrities personal lives as great as your respect for their right to privacy? Secondly how quickly would you change your mind on this if you were in their position and it was your privacy in question?

Where were the media ethics in the Milly Dowler case?

The consequences of the press going too far for evidence…

As stated in the ethics of the press, Rupert Murdoch closed down The News of the World newspaper after it was publicised that 4,000 people had been identified as possible phone hacking victims.

Milly Dowler was one of those victims.

Milly Dowler was 13 when she was abducted on her way home from school in Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, on 21st March 2002. On the 18th September almost 6 months later her body remains were discovered at Yateley Heath Woods near Yateley, Hampshire.

During 2002 The News of the World released many stories on Milly, including information that was never made public to the Media. From 2006 allegations towards the News of the World regarding phone hacking began to overwhelm the paper, however Murdoch consistently denied the accusations. On the 4thJuly 2011 Scotland Yard revealed that a private detective working for Murdoch named Glenn Mulcaire was accused of hacking into Milly Dowler’s voicemail after she went missing.

Image taken from

The British public were astonished to hear the news, it then resulted in an outcry and boycotting of the newspaper.

During the disappearance of Milly, her parents Sally and Bob Dowler were continuing to text her in the hope she would answer and return home. Scotland Yard then uncovered that her voicemail had been accessed by the News of the World journalists and their private investigator.

The shocking element to this crime that stunned the public was that not only did Murdoch’s employees listen to Milly’s voicemail, they also deleted several messages, (potential evidence) in order to free space for new messages that they could listen to.

There are countless Immoralities to this case…

The one that stands out the most is the fact the Dowler’s were mislead. They were given false hope that Milly was still alive, when in fact she had been murdered. They then had to go through extra trauma when they were told her phone had been hacked. Their personal voice messages pleading with their daughter to come home, had been heard by greedy journalists wanting to find out the latest news just to sell papers.

It is constantly said not to trust the media as they are sneaky and lie to sell stories. However, there is a massive difference between exaggerating a story regarding a celebrity to sell gossip, to disrupting potential evidence to a young girl’s disappearance investigation, to sell a breaking news story.

How could Murdoch condone such immoral actions just to sell papers?

His actions will never be fully justified or forgiven. Although, we do know that the News of the World has ended and Murdoch is paying the price for his wrong doing in many ways than one.


By Saby Salvatierra

Are we accepting the press practicing unethical journalism?

Everyone is aware of the press exposing nearly every area of the public’s lives in their print newspapers and online. How far is too far? Are we too conditioned to unethical press?

Image taken from Micheal Taggart

The Leveson Enquiry is a term now thrown around the media and talked about regularly. Do we actually know what it stands for? Some may think it’s related to celebrities; or something boring about politics… or maybe even the Leveson Enquiry stands for an MP’s inquiry, three police investigations and a well established newspaper being shut down.

The News Of The World newspaper, one of the oldest newspapers selling 2.8m copies a week provided the public with their intake of news. Little did many people know it was an utterly unethical organisation, run by people with little to no morals, some of which are now behind bars. The public were blissfully unaware they were being fed “news” gained through unethical procedures.

When you hear the words “phone hacking” many people probably think of the popular channel 4 TV programme. However, this matter is more serious. It may be the biggest unethical press example we can draw upon for years to come. Rupert Murdoch closed down The News Of The World newspaper after it has come to light that more than 4,000 people had been identified to police as possible phone hacking victims. It links to Wards (2011) theory on how journalism ethics are transforming. He claims, today new media are in a transition and new forms of communication are transforming journalism and its ethics. This is completely reflected in this case study of unethical press.

How did this happen? If a pin wasn’t changed on your voicemail on your mobile phone, this then meant anyone could technically access your voicemail. Is this a crime? Yes! This demonstrates how the media completely abused their position and committed one of the most unethical acts they could have done. The original enquiry began in 2006. The police could of done more, and have faced huge criticism for not. Some have suggested the MET had overly friendly ties with The News Of The World. It has taken 6 years to make all arrests and charge those involved. This asks the question, who can the public trust? Everyone always says don’t trust what you read in the newspapers. As Wards (2011) menti0ns, the boundaries of “the media” are warped. However, we convince ourselves to trust the police force to remove unethical happenings before they become out of hand. Little was done in this case; compensation has been given to some victims, including Charlotte Church and her family. Although the inquiry costs and sheer amount the investigation has cost society is far greater.

The media can abuse their position and demonstrate the most unethical acts of immorality. Do what you can to protect yourself.

What can be done in future to ensure the media follows more ethical guidlines?

Was justice was met?

Justice was met!

Women’s Aid charity aims to spread awareness about domestic violence, how common it is and how it’s so important to speak out. Their statistic shows, over two women a week are killed by a current, or ex partner. That is shocking research. It is not only the people directly involved who are affected; domestic violence is estimated to cost society in monetary terms £23 billion per annum. Along with that statistic, it is now known that one in four women in the UK will experience domestic violence at some point in their life time. A lot of whom don’t speak out, and when they do the abuser often escapes without a reasonable charge or the domestic violence continues before the sentence is decided upon. This blatently highlights serious ethical issues surrounding this topic. Victims afraid to speak out, abusers escaping, this happens to often.

Abuse is a widespread issue and can affect anyone, surprisingly in environments you may have thought you would be initially safe in; such as a relationship, or a care home for disabled adults. Too many incidents are dealt with unethically and slip under the carpet. However, last Friday, 26th October 2012, six care workers from the Winterbourne care home near Bristol have finally been charged with abusing patients. These charges followed the initial arrests back in June 2011. The patients at Winterbourne are disabled and the abuse was physical as well as psychological.

Larke is a recovering alcoholic and the abuse she received from Collins was pyschological. However, there was concern she was so traumatised she was going to self harm. This goes to show abuse can happen to anyone and the victim is never to blame. Abuse can vary from pyhsical to psychological. It has to be understood, that abuse of any kind is simply unethical and Collins was just as much in the wrong as the care workers inflicting pyschical abuse on their patients. Justice has finally been met for the families affected from Winterbourne, as it has done for Larke.

Does Collins deserve a more serious punishment, or does his crime fit his charge? Realistically the care workers committed a hideous offence, as did Collins. Both were found guilty, and charged.

Image from BBC News

Is it ethical for the media and public to subject Collins to persistent hassle over this case?

Collins committed a crime, he was reported and therefore charged. The courage needed from Larke to speak out was indeed great. Yet the fact Collins actually received a charge which consequently stopped the domestic violence is also great, and not the norm with every case. Yes, what Collins subjected Larke to was disgraceful and completely unethical in society. However, the case was handled ethically by the justice service and we need to recognise this. Larke was lucky to escape; women are at greatest risk when planning their escape. Some may argue it was unethical of Larke to record Collins without him being aware. Yet it was the evidence which was needed to bring a domestic abuser to justice.

This poses the question, is it acceptable to be unethical to try and bring a criminal to justice?

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