The first thing we are going to do is determine the etymological origin of the term deontology. In this sense we have to establish that it emanates from Greek, since it is the result of the sum of two components of said language:
- “Deontos”, which can be translated as “duty or obligation”.
- “Logía”, which is synonymous with “study”.
Ethics reflects on the values and obligations that are governed by morality.
What is ethics
Ethics is a concept that is used to name a kind of treatise or discipline that focuses on the analysis of duties and values governed by morality.
British philosopher Jeremy Bentham is said to have been responsible for coining the notion. Ethics is part of what is known as normative ethics (the philosophy that indicates what should be considered good and what should be classified as bad). This means that each profession, trade or specific field can have its own ethics that indicates what the duty of each person is.
Code of ethics
The usual thing is that certain professions have a code of ethics, which is a kind of manual that compiles the moral obligations that those who carry out a job must respect.
It is important to note that ethics analyzes the internal duties of the individual; that is, what he must do or avoid according to what his conscience dictates . The values shared and accepted by ethics are collected by the deontological codes.
Within the field of medicine, there is what is known as the code of medical ethics, from which we can highlight the following signs of identity:
- It is also called Medical Ethics.
- It is made up of the set of rules or principles of an ethical nature that must govern the actions of professionals who work as doctors at all times.
- Specifically, it is based on a series of principles that are considered to be the pillars of the ethics of any professional who practices medicine: justice, beneficence, non-maleficence and autonomy.
- It establishes that non-compliance with the aforementioned regulations will entail a disciplinary offense on which the corresponding authority must make decisions.
Said code is made up, in the first place, of the Hippocratic oath and is later completed by other rules and guidelines that deal with issues such as the following:
- The doctor’s relationship with patients.
- Professional secrecy.
- Quality when it comes to medical care.
- Conscientious objection.
- Human reproduction.
- Organ transplant.
- Medical research.
- Medical care at the end of life.
- Relationships with other doctors, with other health professionals or with the collegiate medical corporation.
- Medical teaching.
- Genetic tests.
Journalistic work is governed by professional ethics.
The notion in journalism
Professional ethics apply to journalism, among other fields. Journalists, according to ethics, must always deal with verified data, confirm the veracity of what they report, protect the sources that provide them with data and not cite content without mentioning the names of its authors, among other principles. If a journalist violates these criteria, she can receive different punishments depending on the internal rules of the media outlet where she works.
Within this professional field, it becomes especially difficult to distinguish and respect two types of freedom closely related to journalism: freedom of expression and freedom of information. The reason for their resemblance is that both pursue the objective of communicating something, although the main difference lies in that something.
Ethics and freedom
Few rights surpass that of expressing oneself freely, given that it is the basis of the struggle to be respected and of the disclosure of the rest of the rights of human beings. In a nutshell, freedom of expression is related to debatable matters; information, on the other hand, revolves around facts that are worthy of being published as news. Both freedoms are necessary to form a spontaneous public opinion, without oppression or invisible limits, but ethics means that their implementation is not as simple as in a utopian world.
Freedom of information implies the right that all human beings have to disseminate any story that reaches our ears, but ethics requires certain precautions in the process, some of which are mentioned in a previous paragraph, and the complexity of the life makes it not always convenient or productive to make use of this freedom; there may even be cases in which preventing a third party from enjoying it is considered the fairest option .
Returning to the concept of freedom of expression, which gives us the right to express our opinions, let’s see the two qualitative levels that can be distinguished:
* the function of informing about a real event, which communicates a true message of interest to the rest of the people. It is necessary to emphasize the importance of the veracity of the message, since it is the property that can invalidate its informative nature;
* the function of giving an opinion, which is as important as the previous one, since both complement and enrich each other, the opinion being a natural and necessary consequence of the information.
With regard to opinion, there is no one who has the fundamental task of nurturing and keeping democracy alive and collaborating with the fulfillment of human rights.