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Ethics in Journalism

Updated: Jun 21, 2019

The Kathmandu Post is run by a former Washington Post writer. When he moved to Nepal, Anup Kaphle forgot the rules of professional journalism in America.

Shortly after leaving a meeting with Nepal Tourism Board's Deepak Joshi, my telephone rings. The caller is a newspaper editor I've worked with before and trusted. "Mike, the news out of Tourism Board is that they're not happy with you because the fire trucks haven't arrived. They say they want to sue you. Do you have any comment?" Equally surprised and concerned, I asked the editor who had contacted him with this information. "I cannot reveal my source, you know the game. But it's someone very senior."

I do know the rules of journalism, after all my mother was a staff writer and later section editor of the Abendpost/Nachtausgabe in Frankfurt, Germany and together she and I co-founded my elementary school newspaper. By keeping the names of sources out of the paper, journalists ensure that the insiders feeding them information are protected from repercussions. This mutual trust, in turn, has provided the basis for some groundbreaking reporting. Deep Throat, the secretive informant for Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward's Pulitzer Prize-winning articles about the Nixon/Watergate scandal, is perhaps the most well-known example of a reliable source providing information on deep background.

...check back next Saturday for the complete article

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