Skip to content

Ethics of Reporting Terrorism

Interview With Giovanni Tridente

ROME, FEB. 19, 2007 (Zenit) - A recently published essay on journalistic ethics in covering terrorism asserts that journalists are obliged to put events into context when reporting them.

We interviewed Giovanni Tridente, author of the essay "Attacco all'Informazione. Un Approccio Etico alla Copertura Mediatica del Terrorismo" (Attack on Reporting: An Ethical Approach to Media Coverage of Terrorism), published by Apollinare Studi.

Tridente is finishing his doctoral research on institutional communication at Rome's Pontifical University of the Holy Cross.

Q: You ask to what point a journalist must give voice to those who foment hatred. Do you have an answer?

Tridente: A journalist takes the side of those who sow death every time he places himself in a non-critical attitude to terrorist news; when, because of sloth or supposed rules of making news, he fails to put into context the content he offers his readers; or re-transmits exactly, without a careful and documented verification of sources, and without making any cuts in communiqués or terrorists' claims. In summary, every time he puts aside a responsible attitude in his work, without taking into account the negative consequences, including psychological, to which he exposes the recipients of his work.

Q: How should terrorism be covered journalistically?

Tridente: Above all, by putting the event into context. In the case of terrorists' communiqués, they should be rewritten with a new terminology, eliminating possible messages in "combative" keys or language.

Moreover, one must place oneself on the side of the victims, diminish the violent reach of terrorist actions by avoiding sensationalism, relegating such news to inside pages, giving them very little space and favoring news that promotes an anti-terrorist conscience.

In the case of television images, the sensationalist nature of services should be played down, avoiding scenes of blood or tortured bodies.

Q: You say that it is good if the journalist trusts his own conscience, if he has the "concept of person" and "human values" very present. The problem, however, is that not all have the same concept of person and human values.

Tridente: I think we all can converge on the fact that in any realm of life we cannot speak of persons as if they were numbers or things.

History has long taught us the tragic aspect of such a mentality. The concept of person to which I am referring is that which considers the human being as an end and measure, and never as a means or instrument in the hands of the chosen few.

That is why I am in agreement with the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, when it states in a document that "communication should be made by people for the benefit of the integral development of other people."

Q: You call for "correction" and responsibility. What do you understand by this?

Tridente: Above all, it is good to understand that a journalist's work does not end when the newspaper goes to the press or when the television service is broadcast. Rather, at that moment it starts. It begins when it reaches the reader's hands or the television spectator's eyes. Only then can one know if a good job has been done.

And the good job will depend on the honesty with which one has acted, if one's own actions have been considered, and if one has worked exclusively for a shared good.

This requires prudence and a sincere orientation in favor of safeguarding the rights of truth and the duties we all have to society.


Catholic Online CA, US
Catholic Online - Publisher, 661 869-1000



Ethics, Terrorism, War, Islam, Tridente, Hate

More Catholic PRWire

Showing 1 - 50 of 4,718

A Recession Antidote
Randy Hain

Monaco & The Vatican: Monaco's Grace Kelly Exhibit to Rome--A Review of Monegasque-Holy See Diplomatic History
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.

The Why of Jesus' Death: A Pauline Perspective
Jerom Paul

A Royal Betrayal: Catholic Monaco Liberalizes Abortion
Dna. Maria St.Catherine De Grace Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.

Embrace every moment as sacred time
Mary Regina Morrell

My Dad
JoMarie Grinkiewicz

Letting go is simple wisdom with divine potential
Mary Regina Morrell

Father Lombardi's Address on Catholic Media
Catholic Online

Pope's Words to Pontifical Latin American College
Catholic Online

Prelate: Genetics Needs a Conscience
Catholic Online

State Aid for Catholic Schools: Help or Hindrance?
Catholic Online

Scorsese Planning Movie on Japanese Martyrs
Catholic Online

2 Nuns Kidnapped in Kenya Set Free
Catholic Online

Holy See-Israel Negotiation Moves Forward
Catholic Online

Franchising to Evangelize
Catholic Online

Catholics Decry Anti-Christianity in Israel
Catholic Online

Pope and Gordon Brown Meet About Development Aid
Catholic Online

Pontiff Backs Latin America's Continental Mission
Catholic Online

Cardinal Warns Against Anti-Catholic Education
Catholic Online

Full Circle
Robert Gieb

Three words to a deeper faith
Paul Sposite

Relections for Lent 2009
chris anthony

Wisdom lies beyond the surface of life
Mary Regina Morrell

World Food Program Director on Lent
Catholic Online

Moral Clarity

Pope's Lenten Message for 2009
Catholic Online

A Prayer for Monaco: Remembering the Faith Legacy of Prince Rainier III & Princess Grace and Contemplating the Moral Challenges of Prince Albert II
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe

Keeping a Lid on Permissiveness
Sally Connolly

Glimpse of Me
Sarah Reinhard

The 3 stages of life
Michele Szekely

Sex and the Married Woman
Cheryl Dickow

A Catholic Woman Returns to the Church
Cheryl Dickow

Modernity & Morality
Dan Shea

Just a Minute
Sarah Reinhard

Catholic identity ... triumphant reemergence!
Hugh McNichol

Edging God Out
Paul Sposite

Burying a St. Joseph Statue
Cheryl Dickow

George Bush Speaks on Papal Visit
Catholic Online

Sometimes moving forward means moving the canoe
Mary Regina Morrell

Action Changes Things: Teaching our Kids about Community Service
Lisa Hendey

Easter... A Way of Life
Paul Spoisite

Papal initiative...peace and harmony!
Hugh McNichol

Proclaim the mysteries of the Resurrection!
Hugh McNichol

Jerusalem Patriarch's Easter Message
Catholic Online

Good Friday Sermon of Father Cantalamessa
Catholic Online

Papal Address at the End of the Way of the Cross
Catholic Online

Cardinal Zen's Meditations for Via Crucis
Catholic Online

Interview With Vatican Aide on Jewish-Catholic Relations
Catholic Online

Pope Benedict XVI On the Easter Triduum
Catholic Online

Holy Saturday...anticipation!
Hugh McNichol

Never Miss any Updates!

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers.

Learn about Catholic world

Catholic Online
Inform - Inspire - Ignite

Catholic Online Saints
Your saints explained

Catholic Online Prayers
Prayers for every need

Catholic Online Bible
Complete bible online

Catholic Online News
Your news Catholic eye

Daily Reading
Today's bible reading

Lent / Easter
Death & resurrection of Jesus

Advent / Christmas
Birth of Jesus

Rest of Catholic Online
All Catholic world we offer

Products and services we offer

Catholic Online Shopping
Catholic medals, gifts & books

The California Network
Inspiring streaming service

Advertise on Catholic Online
Your ads on

Catholic Online Email
Email with Catholic feel

Catholic Online Singles
Safe, secure Catholic dating

The California Studios
World-class post production service

Learn the Catholic way

Catholic Online School
Free Catholic education for all

Student Classes
K-12 & Adult Education Classes

School Teachers
Teacher lesson plans & resources

Support Free Education
Tax deductible support Free education

Connect with us online

Catholic Online on Facebook
Catholic social network

Catholic Online on Twitter
Catholic Tweets

Catholic Online on YouTube
Enjoy our videos

Catholic Online on Instagram
Shared Catholic moments

Catholic Online on Pinterest
Catholic ideas style inspiration

Catholic Online Logo

Copyright 2018 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2018 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.