According to the US-based Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), “Journalists should be honest, fair and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting information”. ‘False Balance’ is considered to be a superficial balance that tells both sides of the story. It also can be a form of informational bias as journalists present a particular issue as being more balanced between opposing viewpoints than the evidence actually supports. Although balanced reporting provides audiences with information on all sides of an issue, it doesn’t necessarily mean that all sides of the story deserve equal weight. With that said, balanced coverage doesn’t always mean that the information being presented to audiences is accurate.
Journalists have profound ethical responsibilities when covering stories and issues both expansive and critical, much like climate change. These journalists are not only reporting these concerns during a time where their own line of work is changing, but also during a time of profound global economic and financial uncertainty (Ward 2009). This type of uncertainty is compounded by the ongoing threats of divisive wars and terrorist activities, which in hand confounds journalist’s approach to these expansive and critical issues (Ward 2009).
What has been considered as a major challenge to the free flow of information, the commercialisation of media has resulted in news becoming a commercial product. As the concentration of media ownership is increasing, the level of freedom and independence of news and differing views is reducing. In some nations, powerful corporations are becoming major influences on mainstream media. This in particular has caused a reduction in diversity and depth in content that is being presented to mass audiences.