The globalisation of media industries, the internationalisation of media studies, and geopolitical shifts that affect information flows and counter-flows, have led to the realisation that media studies ought to be ‘de-Westernised’. This is particularly so when it comes to media ethics. There is a need for a global media ethics that avoids an imperialist application of ‘universal knowledge’, yet transcends the conceptual trap of cultural relativism. Hermann Wasserman instead calls for a return to a set of ethical ‘protonorms’ that can be adapted to various contexts, and widened through a process of ‘listening’.

Executive Summary

The growing internationalisation of the field of media studies, the globalisation of the media and communication industries, as well as major geopolitical shifts that impact media flows and counter flows, have all led to an awareness of the importance of ‘de-Westernising’ media studies. One sub-field where such engagement has taken place is that of media ethics. The need for global media ethics is particularly pertinent in a digital era, where information circulates globally, across borders, at unprecedented speed. The search for global media ethics has, however, been complicated by the question of how we arrive at a global media ethics that on the one hand does not repeat the imperialising impulse towards universalising knowledge, yet avoids a cultural relativism that only contributes to fThe globalisation of media industries, the internationalisation of media studies, and geopolitical shifts that affect information flows and counter-flows, have led to the realisation that media studies ought to be ‘de-Westernised’. ragmentation. A return should be made to a set of ethical ‘protonorms’ which are left open for interpretation in local contexts. At the same time, the widening of these norms should be allowed through a process of ‘listening’.

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