Jeanti St Clair

Cultural frictions: Ethical challenges facing Australian correspondents in Indonesia

Adherence to an ethical framework that guides reporting practices has historically marked a Western journalist's claim to professionalism. However, recent cross-cultural surveys remind us that such modelling is culturally defined. Interviews with Jakarta-based Australian correspondents in 2005 and 2012 reveal their ethical and reporting practices are challenged by differences in practice and expectations from Indonesian media and sources. While this mismatch between their and local media ethics confounds expectations and changes work practices, it is the visiting Australian media corps who most disrupt correspondents' newsgathering efforts and professional reputations. Drawing on Bourdieu (2005), this article argues that ethics and associated reporting practices are part of a complex situational stance taken by Australian correspondents to maintain their professional status within their home field, rather than a strict moral code.

Keywords: journalism, ethics, foreign correspondent, cross-cultural interactions, journalistic field, Australia, Indonesia, Bourdieu


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Note on the contributor

Jeanti St Clair is an award-winning journalism lecturer at Southern Cross University, Australia, with 20 years' experience in radio, print and online journalism. She has worked with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and News Corporation, and currently researches on journalism practice and journalism curriculum.