Ethical and Legal Issues in Magazines

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Ethical and legal issues

According to D. E. Summer and S. Rhoades in Magazines: a complete guide to the industry; magazines face the same legal and ethical issues than newspapers: “[…] plagiarism, libel, slander, invasion of privacy, editorial bias, and inaccuracy”[1]. Indeed, there are some limits to what a journalist can write, an editor can publish, a photographer can photograph, and a designer can design. Magazines go sometimes beyond the ethical or legal bounds. All these issues are parts of the decision-making process that magazines have to handle.

□ Ethical issues
It is a tough decision to run an article or not when it comes to an ethical issue. Magazines writers face dilemmas. On one hand they are “[…] the public
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It is the editor’s responsibility to draw the limit between the editorial content and what advertisers want. Advertisers also give controversial ads that can raise some ethical problems for the readers. Some examples of controversial ads such as Benetton, Tom ford Perfume, Dolce&Gabbana, American Apparel or a French campaign against Aids (a man making love to a giant-black scorpion)[6] have been seen in most famous fashion magazines. They are always racial, ethnicity or sexual oriented which can be good when it creates a buzz but also can be associated with the magazine’s image and may damage the latter (obviously it depends also on the magazine’s policy, conservative or not).

The code of ethics (several are available) is a set of rules that can help journalists to make the right decision, a sort of written standards that can be used as guidelines and there are not binding. According to the code of ethics, journalists should seek the truth and report it, minimize harm, act independently, and be accountable. It can be used as a general guideline but cannot be followed exactly as it is, because it may be too vague to be applied and sometimes it does not give clear-cut advice, does not fit with the magazines policy or does not correspond to the writer, editor, photographer or designer’s point of view, value or principles. When the code of ethic is not useful enough, then they have to check with their own personal ethics which means taking a very
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