Media Law and Ethics Assignment: Moral Reasoning
Using some ethical principles/theories discussed in this course, discuss the banning of wearing head scarfs in French Public Schools, and full face covering in public places by the French Government.
Are these bans morally, ethically, and legally proper?
- Look at both sides of the argument
- Think about the processes of moral reasoning
- Invoke an ethical principle, what is it and how does it apply in this case
Write clearly and precisely. Use sub-heads if possible. Write in paragraphs. Be LOGICAL.
VERY IMPORTANT: *Analysis (1000 words). Provide rational & moral reasoning to every side of the case.!!!!!
please check the uploaded file it might help in writing!
Banning of Wearing Head Scarfs in French Public Schools: Moral Reasoning
Moral Reasoning on the Ban of Wearing Head Scarfs in French Public Schools
French media represents Islam and Muslims negatively. Images portrayed by the media contribute to painting Islam as a threat to French cultural and political heritage. The media discourses disregard existing ethical principles, thereby propagating Islamophobia in France. French media paints wearing head scarfs as a symbol of Islamic fundamentalism. Therefore, journalists and media practitioners use their ethical responsibilities to support the laws of France. Stories, columns, images, and news coverage lean towards influencing public opinions on wearing headscarves. The French government ban of head scarfs in public schools and full-face covering in public depicts the western ethical belief system while disfranchising Muslim women based on their religion.
Journalists work under the guidelines of media laws. The existence of these laws constrains the behavior of media practitioners in terms of their freedom of expression. Wilkins and Christians (2008) points out that media creates a space that influences opinions and perspectives in the society. However, media practitioners have the ethical responsibility of using this space to communicate the appropriate message that does not harm the image of some members of society. In the case of the ban on wearing of the headscarf in public schools and full face covering in public places, media laws have given journalists the discretion of being subjective in their reporting. Therefore, they have continued to disregard the ethical principles by providing audiences with particular frames of interpreting Islamic religious attire (Omar, 2017). The responsibility of the French media leans towards the laws prohibiting the wearing of religious symbols in public schools. There is an ethical implication whereby journalists build on the framework of law to support gendered Islamophobia. As a result, they refuse to act as watchdogs against the state’s abuse of power.
The media in France abides by the media laws. However, justifying the country’s ban amounts to abdicating the ethical duty to fairly and impartially inform the audience that religion is God-given, and thus, all societies should respect its belief systems. From the moral principle, journalists operate in environments that lack moral absolutes. Thus, journalists should question the French laws that banned Islamic attire on the grounds of ethical considerations. In so doing, the media would portray the radical approach of the government, indicating that the Islamic religion is incompatible with the values of the French society (Michaels, 2017). However, ethical considerations are products of systematic changes in society. The essential values of the French society hold that face veils and headscarves infringe on women’s freedom of dignity and gender equality. From this perspective, the media should operate from the ethical reasoning that the government constructed. Such moral reasoning supports the interests of most people living in France.
Ethical reasoning and justification form the foundation of media coverage. Regardless of the existing laws, media practitioners have the moral duty to debate social occurrences guided by virtue, justice, and moral good. Crnic and Pogacnik (2019) note that education helps to impart cultural beliefs. Banning headscarves in public schools entrench the view that such religious attires are culturally offensive. The utilitarian principle of reporting the ban dwells on why such actions yield the best consequence of the majority. While the French ban on headscarves seeks to promote French values, the consequence on Muslims is negative. The actions contradicts the moral reasoning that different cultures have different moral codes. Banning the full face covering in public places is consistent with the utilitarian moral reasoning (Restrepo, 2019). The Islamic cultural beliefs prescribe the behavior, traditions, and practices that Muslims should emulate. The media should appreciate that what is morally right in one culture is wrong in another and, therefore, provide a balanced coverage that does not trivialize the Muslim culture over French culture.
In media ethics, the best moral choice provides a good outcome and minimizes the loss. However, the French reasoning to banning the headscarf and full-face covering negate the utilitarian principles of promoting the greater good for all persons living in France. The basis of the ban is to limit the use of any symbols of oppression against women, which the education system seeks to liberate people from the influences of religion (Restrepo, 2019). The French laws operate from the Kantian categorical imperative. Therefore, the moral reasoning is that what is right for the French society is suitable for all, and Muslims should strictly adhere to it. The accurate consideration of ethical dimensions required France and its media to appreciate history and showcase challenges that societies have faced (Wilkins & Christians, 2008). Such a dimension of media reporting rejects the ban on wearing a headscarf because the action did not evaluate possible moral actions. There is a need for press criticism that questions issues of moral questions. Morality arises in the decision to ban wearing head scarfs in schools and full coverings in public places. Media practitioners thus need to assess such a situation based on its merits.
French media frames the headscarf debate based on the conspicuous religious symbol. The danger that the headscarf poses on the French republican values dominates the media debates (Omar, 2017). Themes around national unity and gender equality dominate the media agenda, indicating the role of journalism to shape perception and set agenda in society. The debates highlight the role of journalism in providing information to society. In some cases, press greed affects the media dispensation of moral duty. The object of the story on the ban of headscarves revolves around sensationalism, where untruths sell (Wilkins & Christians, 2008). The behaviors of some journalists are devoid of ethical principles. The press greed help to acknowledge the grey areas and the double standards that exist when publishing stories around the moral legitimacy of the ban of head scarfs in schools and full face coverings in public.
Media laws present an ethical dilemma for journalists. Covering stories that touch on religion and culture have no absolute basis. The ban on headscarves in French schools constructs a moral question for journalists. While media debates have focused on justifying the French government’s actions on the ban of Islamic religious clothing, this moral action vilifies the cultural beliefs of the minority Muslims living in France. Journalists and media practitioners in France do not use ethical principles to cover these stories in a balanced manner. Most of them utilize the utilitarian approach and thereby compromises the principle of justice and fairness in reporting.
Crnic, A., & Pogacnik, A. (2019). Religious symbols in public schools: key issues and debates. CEPS journal, 9(4), 109-127.
Michaels, R. (2017). Banning burqas: The perspective of postsecular comparative law. Duke J. Comp. & Int’l L., 28, 213.
Omar, Z. L. K. (2017). French Media Framing of the, Islamic Headscarf: Identity Threat and Coping Strategies.
Restrepo, D. A. (2019). The Arrogant Eye and the French Prohibition of the Veil.
Wilkins, L., & Christians, C. G. (Eds.). (2008). A Handbook of Mass Media Ethics. Routledge.