Perspectives of Truth and Lie in the Media: Analysis of Principles and Practices of Journalism Faced with the Postulate of Sacredness of Facts

Journalism is an answer to a crucial intellectual need of humanity, the one of information. With respect to senders, information is an answer to the human need of self-affirmation and projection all over the world. With respect to receivers, it is a matter of tacit security need. In fact, the human being is in a permanent quest of knowledge (receiving information on) of what is happening around the people he is in relation with (knowing possible threats and the ways of avoidance). Despite its evident importance, journalism is all the same subject to criticism from all the members of the public. Criticism from all the members of the public appears all the more contradictory since it is postulated in it that “facts are sacred and comments are free.” The postulate of the sacredness of facts suggests that the processing of current events in this job could and should be done without distortion. The gap on the one hand between sacredness assigned to facts in journalism and on the other hand, the frequent call into question of journalistic discourse by its receivers is the main problem that this article proposes to solve. Our hypothesis postulates that facts cannot be looked as sacred in journalism because on the one hand, realities they depend on and on the other hand, professional practices and principles of journalism compel to their manipulation. From the methodological point of view, this hypothesis enables to follow the scientific approach, the technical know-how and the artistic expression of journalism in order to unseal in it the conditions of possibility of a sacralizing processing  (objective) of facts. This exercise enables the validation of our hypothesis. Such a conclusion leads to, not to validate journalistic discourses but rather to consider them in their essence that is as constructs aiming at making a precise imagination. In this context, there are no untruthful media, and even less truthful media, there are only media that produce specific imagination on reality considered through a fragmented and biased look they have at it. This posture releases all the members of the public from the trap of the Manichean and moralist perception of the media.

Author(s) Details

Celestin Messanga Obama
Department of Advertising, Advanced School of Mass Communication, University of Yaoundé II, Cameroon.

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