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Course Code: 
COMM 341
Course Type: 
Course Language: 
Course Objectives: 
By the end of the semester students are expected to understand principal theories of ethics as described by ancient and modern philosophers; recognize ethical issues in communication case studies; apply critical skills of reason and analysis to ethical problems and tolerate disagreement and ambiguity in ethical considerations.
Course Content: 

Communication Ethics is a main course for School of Communication students, which aims to understand the ethical concepts including freedom, democracy, truth, objectivity, honesty and privacy. The course examines the ethical issues both in philosophical and practical ways to help maintaining the quality of information. Contents of newsmedia and entertainment media are analyzed and discussed in terms of an ethical approach. Discussions over real case studies about ethical issues are examined and analyzed in an effort to find social solutions for them . Some main topics of the course consist of honesty, accountability, objectivity, reality, freedom of speech, public interest, private life, equality, differentiation, ethnicity, gender differences, ownership relations, news sources, ethical codes, self-control etc. 

Course Methodology: 
1-Lecture 2- Interactive Lecture 5- Problem Solving 6 - Case Study 11- Seminar 15- Assignment 18- Panel 19- Guest Speaker
Course Evaluation Methods: 
A-Exam C- Homework

Vertical Tabs

Course Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes  Program Learning Outcomes Teaching Methods  Assessment Methods 
1) Assign the similarities and differences of notion like ethics, morality, law and religion in terms of social organizations. 3, 7, 9, 10 1,2,5,6,11,15,19 A,C
2) Reads and realises basic ethical theories, approaches and principles with their historical contexts. 3, 7, 9, 10 1,2,5,6,11,15 A,C
3) Understands the possibility of disputes and controversies in ethical issues. 3, 7, 9, 10 1,2,5,6,11,15,19 A,C
4) Expresses the basic notions and technical areas of media ethics as being a sub-branch of general ethics. 3, 7, 9, 10 1,2,5,6,11,15,19 A,C
5) Assigns, identifies and analyses the unethical applications in visual, auditory and written media texts. 3, 7, 9, 10 1,2,5,6,11,15,19 A,C
6) Discusses ethical problems in media with their different sides, by using a critical reasoning ability. 3, 7, 9, 10 1,2,5,6,11,15,19 A,C

Course Flow

Week Topics Study Materials
1 Course policy and requirements. The historical roots of ethics.  Relationship between ethics and morality. Ethical Decision-Making Process. Sissela Bok’s model of ethical decision-making.   
2 Theoretical Foundations for Media Ethics: Aristotle and Virtue Ethics

Theoretical Foundations for Media Ethics: Kant and Duty Ethics

Read: Patterson & Wilkins, pp. 1-15 

J.C. Merrill, pp. 3-32

3 Theoretical Foundations for Media Ethics: Bentham, Mill and Utilitarian Ethics

Theoretical Foundations for Media Ethics: Etzioni and Communitarian Ethics

Theoretical Foundations for Media Ethics General Evaluation: Deontological, Teleological and Subjective Ethical Approaches

Read:Patterson & Wilkins, pp. 1-15

J.C. Merrill, pp. 3-32

Homework: Media Watch

4 Ethics and Freedom: Mass Media Accountability 

Individual Autonomy, Ethics and News Values.

Read:Gordon & Newton, pp. 33-54

Kittross & Gordon, pp. 59-80

Homework: Media Watch

5 Gatekeepers and Manipulation: Truth, Fairness and Accuracy.

The Ethics of “Correctness’” and “Inclusiveness”. 

Read: Kittross & Gordon, pp. 93-159

Homework: Media Watch

6 Codes of Ethics in Media and Audience/Reader Representative, Ombudsman and Journalism Associations and Organizations.


Read: Gordon & Dorsher, pp. 166-184

Homework: Media Watch

7 Debate 1: News-making Processes and Ethics Homework: Media Watch
8 Midterm Exam  
9 New Technologies and Techniques, and Media Ethics.

Digitally Manipulated Content and Ethics.

Read: Singer & Dorsher, pp. 213-232

Babcock, Gordon & Kittross pp. 237-251

Homework: Media Watch

10 Media Ethics and Economic Marketplace.

Access to Media: Equity in Receiving and Disseminating Information 

Read: Kittross & Gordon pp. 256-298

Gordon& Babcock, pp. 306-317

Homework: Media Watch

11 Private Lives and Public Interest in a Digital World.

The Ethics of Persuasive Communication: Advertising, Public Relations and Marketing.

Read: Gordon, Kittross & Newton, pp. 333-375

Gade & Gordon, pp. 383-404

Homework: Media Watch

12 Debate 2: Advertising, Public Relations, Marketing and Ethics Homework: Media Watch
13 Infotainment, Sensationalism, “Reality” and Ethics 

Entertainment Media and Ethics.

Violence and Sexuality..

Read: Gordon & Babcock, pp. 432-454

Kitross ve Gordon

pp. 461-484

Homework: Media Watch 

14 Debate 3: Gender Representations and Ethics Homework: Media Watch
15 An overview  
16 Final Exam  

Recommended Sources

Textbook Gordon, D. & Kittross J.M. (2011). Controversies in Media Ethics. N.Y.: Longman Pub., 3rd edition.

Patterson, Philip & Wilkins Lee (2002). Media Ethics: Issues & Cases. Boston: McGrawHill Pub.Kieran, Matthew ed. (1998). Media Ethics. London & N.Y.: Routledge.

Additional Resources Screenings

1. Documentaries

* Orwell Rolls in His Grave, Director: Robert Kane Pappas, 2004.  1 Hour 46 Minutes. 

* Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism, Director: Robert Greenwald, 2004, 75 Minutes.

2. Fiction Films

* All The President’s Men (1976), dir. Alan J. Pakula

* Under Fire (1983), dir. Roger Spottiswoode

* Salvador (1986), dir. Oliver Stone

* The Paper (1994), dir. Ron Howard

* 15 Minutes (2001), dir. John Herzfeld

* Good Night, and Good Luck (2005), dir. George Clooney

Recommended readings


  • Alankuş, Sevda (2005), Medya, Hukuk ve Etik, IPS Eğitim Vakfı Yayınları: 5, Habercinin  Elkitabı Dizisi: 2.
  • Alia, Valerie (2004), Media Ethics and Social Change, Edinburgh: Edinburgh Univ. Press.
  • Bertrand, Claude-Jean (2004), Medya Etiği, Ankara: BYEGM Yay. 
  • Cohen-Almagor, Rapfael, (2002), İfade, Medya ve Etik, çev. Süleyman Nihat Şad, Ankara: Phoenix Yayınevi. 
  • Çaplı, Bülent ve Tuncel, Hakan (2010), Televizyon Haberciliğinde Etik, Ankara: A.Ü.İLEF ve Fatusch B.V.
  • Belsey, A. & Chadwick R. ed. (1998) Medya ve Gazetecilikte Etik Sorunlar, çev. Nurçay Türkoğlu. Istanbul: Ayrıntı Yay.
  • Çaplı, Bülent (2002), Medya ve Etik, Ankara: İmge Kitabevi.
  • Merrill, John C. et al. (1990). Modern Mass Media. New York: Harper Collins Pub. pp. 386-407.
  • Morresi, Enrico (2006), Haber Etiği: Ahlaki Gazeteciliğin Kuruluşu ve Eleştirisi, çev. Fırat Genç, Ankara: Dost Kitabevi yay. 
  • Shaw, Colin (1999), Deciding What We Watch: Taste, Decency, and Media Ethics in the UK and the USA.
  • Türkoğlu, Nurçay (2003). Kitle Kültürü ve İletişim. İstanbul: Naos Yay. pp. 215-280.
  • Uzun, Ruhdan (2007), İletişim Etiği: Sorunlar ve Sorumlulular, Ankara: G.Ü. İletişim Fakültesi, Kırkıncıyıl Kitaplığı, No:2.
  • Plaisance, Patrick Lee (2009), Media Ethics: Key Principles for Responsible Practice, London: Sage Pub.


Material Sharing

Documents Screenings: Documentaries, Books: Knowledge Centre, Case Studies
  1. Media Watch (weekly)

Debates (On 3 major ethical issues in media) 

Exams Open book,  discussion based exams


Mid-terms 1 40
Debate 3 30
Assignment 1 30
Total   100
Contribution of Final Examination to Overall Grade   60
Contribution of In-Term Studies to Overall Grade   40
Total   100


COURSE CATEGORY Elective Courses

Course’s Contribution to Program

No Program Learning Outcomes Contribution
1 2 3 4 5
1 Students demonstrate knowledge on market segmentation, are able to follow the trends in consumer behavior, and create effective advertising messages suitable for target audiences          
2 Students design advertisements suitable for both traditional and digital media.          
3 Students gain awareness and knowledge on interdisciplinary subjects that are beneficial both for their professional and intellectual lives.         x
4 Students demonstrate knowledge of the campaign processes in written, audio-visual, electronic, and outdoor advertising media. They plan and manage campaigns in accordance with national and international standards.          
5 Students demonstrate knowledge of the research methods related to the field of advertising and are able to use the obtained data to evaluate results in campaign processes.          
6 Students create and lead media strategies in the field of advertising.           
7 Students abide by universal values, law and ethical principles.         x
8 Students follow the developments in the fields with the awareness of lifelong learning and entrepreneurial approach. They are self-confident in communicating with institutions and persons and suggest solutions to problems independently or as team members.          
9 Students adopt the critical approach in evaluating knowledge and skills related to the field.         x
10 Students demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the concepts and models related to the field.         x


Activities Quantity Duration
Course Duration  14 3 42
Hours for off-the-classroom study (Pre-study, practice) 14 3 42
Mid-terms 1 3 3
Debate 3 3 9
Assignment 1 8 8
Final  1 10 10
Total Work Load     114
Total Work Load / 25 (h)     4,56
ECTS Credit of the Course     5