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Affectionate journalists: unprofessional?

By Yoanita Marselia

Can't blame the Fresh Prince for reacting the way he did. Photo by: Walmart Stores

Seems like Vitalii Serdiuk, reporter from Ukrainian television channel 1+1, got more than just a slap on the wrist on May 20.

Hollywood actor Will Smith slapped the journalist on the face after getting an awkward smooch at the Men In Black III premiere in Moscow.

It’s a little amusing to watch I must admit.

But, I think journalists should act more professionally.

I mean, you’d want to see your story in the news, not you being reported in the news.

There was another case earlier in the year at the TV Week Logies red carpet.

An Australian TV reporter for Unseen TV, Logan Courtman, gave One Direction star Louis Tomlinson a kiss.

Another celeb fallen victim to kissing reporters. Photo by: Eva Rinaldi Celebrity and Live Music Photographer

Instead of a slap, the reporter was driven away by a bodyguard.

In both stories, it was hard to tell whether the reporters actually kissed the stars on the lips, although Mr Courtman thinks he did.

So we’ve had a bit of a laugh now, but what’s the big issue here?

Unethical conduct.

Obviously, a journalist’s job is to report and write stories, not getting all “touchy feely” with your subjects.

What part of the ethics code has been breached?

In the Code of Ethics of Ukrainian Journalists, the closest thing relating to the Will Smith incident is probably this:

“A journalist has to respect people’s private life.”

Similarly, the Media Alliance Code of Ethics of Australia says:

“Respect private grief and personal privacy. Journalists have the right to resist compulsion to intrude.”

It all comes down to privacy. It’s such a broad term though. I guess you could include a person’s physical body as something “private”. An intrusion of that is a breach of privacy.

Sure, it wasn’t anything harmful. But celebrities are classified as humans. And humans have feelings.

If you were at a public event and somebody gave you a smooch, you’d want to give them a slap too right? Or maybe a friend to defend you, like a bodyguard?

Of course!

I won’t forget the fact that journalists are humans too. Surely even for a reporter you’d have your own fave celebs and would be over the moon if you had the chance to report on a celebrity you liked.

But, this is strictly business. All those personal urges or desires should be put aside.

Journalists shouldn’t risk their professionalism in this manner. They should behave and have a personal ethical consciousness.

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