A seminar titled “Social responsibility and journalism ethics in the digital era” took place in Hanoi on June 10 to give experts in the field insight into journalism development in the digital era and help narrow technology gaps in the sector in Vietnam.

It was organised by the University of Social Sciences and Humanities – Vietnam National University and the Vietnamese office of the Germany-based Konrad Adenauer Stiftung Foundation.

Discussions focused on seeking the answer to such questions as why social responsibility and journalism ethnics should be ensured in the digital era and why the digital era makes so many negative impacts on journalism despite the sector’s great stride forwards.

They also touched on principles to ensure journalism’s social responsibility and how to curb the negative impacts while sharing experience and journalism practices.

People are free to do what are not banned by the law. However, what people should or should not do is associated with ethics issues in which each individual should conduct themselves in accord with general ethical principles, and to journalists, it is the matters of conscience and social responsibility, said Deputy Head of the Ministry of Information and Communication’s Department of Press Luu Dinh Phuc.

Echoing his view, Deputy General Director of Vietnam News Agency (VNA) Le Duy Truyen added that the digital era has not only stimulated the rapid development of today’s journalism but also thrown various challenges to professional journalism due to fierce competition.

Truyen stressed the significance of the press’ social responsibility and ethics and called for the conservation of core journalism values which are reflected in the VNA’s working motto – accurate, rapid, relevant and interesting amidst the online information boom.

Recent years have seen an expansion of online newspapers with 98 currently, more than 1,500 licensed online portals and nearly 400 social networks.

Information and communication technology has greatly benefited journalists but also posed many professional ethic issues, particularly truthful and impartial reporting, intrusion of privacy violations, plagiarism and copyright breaches.

Participants proposed that besides establishing stricter laws on journalism and raising awareness of ethics issues among journalists and editors, it is necessary to produce a detailed code of conduct for journalists.-VNA