Балалаева Елена Юрьевна
Национальный университет биоресурсов и природопользования Украины

В статье рассматривается проблема внедрения концептуальных основ биоэтики в современное журналистское образование. В частности, целью работы является анализ возможностей преподавания основ научной журналистики и биоэтики в соответствии с учебной программой, разработанной ЮНЕСКО.

Ключевые слова: биоэтика, журналистика, журналистское образование, научная журналистика


Balalaieva Olena Yurievna
National University of Life and Environmental Sciences of Ukraine

The article deals with the problem of introducing the conceptual foundations of bioethics into modern journalism education. In particular, the aim of the paper is to analyze the potential of teaching the basics of scientific journalism and bioethics according to the Model curricula for journalism education developed by UNESCO.

Keywords: bioethics, journalism, journalism education, scientific journalism

Рубрика: Педагогика

Библиографическая ссылка на статью:
Балалаева Е.Ю. Introduction of bioethical aspects in modern journalistic education // Гуманитарные научные исследования. 2021. № 8 [Электронный ресурс]. URL: https://human.snauka.ru/2021/08/46579 (дата обращения: 14.05.2024).

Bioethics is a relatively new interdisciplinary field of knowledge that covers the moral aspects of human activity in biology and medicine, explores and analyzes the moral parameters (evaluation, decisions, guidelines) of the achievements of biological and medical sciences.

As scientists note, urgent issues of bioethics, which need public discussion and understanding, are on the border of biology and anthropology, philosophy and science, deals with the basis of biological and socio-cultural existence of man. Technological human intervention into the mechanisms of reproduction of one’s own nature, as well as the nature of other living beings, raises many moral and ethical questions, the answers to which have not yet been found. In the process of research of bioethical, ecological problems it became clear that they are complex, to solve them requires the interaction of many humanities and natural sciences [1, p. 114].

The conceptual foundations of bioethics are laid down in the works of T. Beauchamp, R. Witch, J. Hartmann, V. Potter, J. Rawls, J. Childress, A. Schweizer and others. Since the 1970s, UNESCO has been actively developing bioethics issues. One of the tasks of the UNESCO Bioethics Program is to raise awareness of bioethical issues among professionals, scientists and journalists. According to experts, distortion of scientific facts, provision of unverified information, violation of the principles of bioethics are not uncommon in modern media. The teaching the basis of scientific journalism and the principles of bioethics should begin at the university, so the UNESCO Model curricula for journalism education offers a special subject “Scientific Journalism and Bioethics” (Science Journalism, incorporating Bioethics) [2].

The purpose of the article is to analyze the potential of teaching the basics of scientific journalism and bioethics according to the Model curricula for journalism education developed by UNESCO.

Research results and their discussion. According to UNESCO experts, journalism education is undergoing significant changes globally. Experimental work on the curricula of 70 journalism schools in more than 60 countries has posed significant challenges for journalism education – to adapt to the acquisition of specialized knowledge and skills. There is a need for new specialized types of literacy that reflect the rapidly changing social, political, economic and technological order [ibid].

D. Claussen notes that journalism needs analytical thinkers with a strong ethical sense, journalistic skills, specialized experience [3]. The quality of journalism education should affect the quality of society. According to experts, education in the field of journalism educates not only professionals but also the general public. This goal implies a significant role of educators in the field of journalism: to serve the interests of the media industry as a means to achieve a greater goal of serving the public, as well as directly promote the spread of news literacy [2].

To address these challenges, UNESCO developed the Model curricula for journalism education in 2007 and is constantly working to expand a number of curricula and modules for journalism specializations. Thus, in 2013, a new discipline “Scientific Journalism and Bioethics” was included in the Model Curricula, designed for students specializing in scientific journalism and scientific communication. The explanation of the program states that the discipline is designed for 70 hours, and credits will vary depending on the program within the bachelor’s or graduate school [2].

This subject is devoted to scientific journalism, including bioethics with its developments over the past three decades, classical biomedical and environmental issues. The main purpose of the subject is to teach student journalists the basics of scientific literacy.

An important task is to teach students to write about scientific discoveries and events for the general public in an accessible way. According to the developers of the program, the tasks of science journalists differ from the tasks of their colleagues in other types of journalism: political, sports, financial, etc., and are to overcome the barriers that peer-reviewed science poses to the non-professional general public. In teaching students, the ability to write about science, technology, the environment, bioethics, the relationship between science and pseudoscience, the goal is to make them competent facilitators and fairways of the scientific worldview for the masses.

Experts note that, according to numerous studies, journalists often lack the skills to work with statistical information to interpret data. Therefore, one of the tasks of the discipline is to teach students basic work with numbers, processing statistics in science, in particular in bioethics and ecology.

It is also an extremely important task to teach students to distinguish academic science and modern advanced scientific achievements. One of the most serious problems they face scientists in working with the media, there is a lack of understanding of the difference between classical academic science and advanced science (frontier science), because academic science is a well-established scientific knowledge, and advanced achievements are a science because it is constantly evolving. Its results have just been obtained, they are uncertain and unconfirmed. On the part of the media, the inability to distinguish between academic science and the advanced achievements of science leads to distorted views on new discoveries. Often in the media, the results of complex research are reduced to headlines and reports with abbreviated conclusions that either exaggerate the achievements or are false. Editors and journalists sometimes cannot distinguish between generally accepted scientific facts and the latest advances in science, which are unverified, unconfirmed and uncertain. As an example, the program cites controversy in press reports that the pesticide alar, which was sprayed on apple trees, can cause cancer. The Washington Post acknowledged in an editorial that the information was distorted.

Responsible for this are both the media, which often do not understand scientific research as a process, and scientists, who do not report the details of research to scientific journalists, but do so through secondary channels. Another situation is possible. As the journalists themselves explain, a scientist engaged in new technologies is always tempted to present his scientific achievements in the best possible light, and sometimes significantly exaggerate. On the other hand, the media always have a natural desire to attract as much attention to their material, in other words, to make a sensation. When these two desires (scientist and journalist) coincide, there is a phenomenon of resonance, an effect that directly contradicts the rules of bioethics [4].

The course aims to prepare students for writing articles and hard news (materials that tend to document reality, the most objectified “pure information”) on scientific topics for publication in newspapers, magazines, online publications, as well as for programs and live reports on radio and television. Topics recommended in the program include: environment and climate change, climate change policy, extreme weather conditions and phenomena, melting polar ice and rising ocean levels, climate change and food production, the impact of climate change on extinction species, the impact of climate change on health, sustainable development, forest conservation, water management, etc [5].

A special module of the subject is devoted to bioethics. The Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights is used as a source material. The aim is not to impose a specific model of teaching bioethics, but to provide information on the basic guiding bioethical principles that student journalists should take into account when preparing materials. Bioethics research requires an interdisciplinary approach. According to one of the founders of bioethics R. Potter, ethical values ​​should not be considered outside of biological facts. We feel a great need for Land Ethics, Wildlife Ethics, Population Ethics, Consumer Ethics… and so on. The issues they address call for action based on knowledge of values ​​and biological facts. All of them include bioethics, because the survival of the entire ecosystem is a kind of test of our value system [6, p. 15].

To better understand bioethical principles, students are offered the following topics: stem cells, genetic testing and cloning, biological imbalance, changes in natural diversity, the creation and use of genetically modified organisms, etc.

According to the UNESCO Model curricula, journalism must be appropriate to the context in which it is taught, practiced and researched. In fact, journalism is understood as a social practice, the knowledge and skills base of which is interdisciplinary. Thus, it can be easily placed in an academic context, where it can rely on other disciplines while maintaining its own professional autonomy. The training of journalists should involve, interact and contribute to other forms of knowledge at the university, and the curriculum in journalism should fit comfortably into the intellectual and academic culture of the university and be supported by it [2].

It may be possible to agree with scientists [7; 8] that bioethics by its very nature is an area of heated debate, journalists who are properly trained will be able to facilitate a broad public discussion of current bioethical issues, which, in turn, will allow civil society institutions to develop an adequate position in response to the challenges posed by the rapid scientific and technological progress of biomedical technologies.

  1. Михайлюк С. Міждисциплінарні можливості біоетики // Вісник Прикарпатського університету. Філософські і психологічні науки. 2016. Вип. 20.  С. 114-120.
  2. Model curricula for journalism education: a compendium of new syllabi // UNESCO series on Journalism education 2013. URL: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0022/002211/221199E.pdf
  3. Claussen D. A truly bold idea for U.S. J&MC education: sincerely trying true excellence for once // Journalism and Mass Communication Educator.  Vol. 67, No. 3.  P. 211–217.
  4. Петрик О. Біоетика – «вуздечка» для науки чи детектор брехні?// Дзеркало тижня. 2002. № 41.
  5. Balalaieva O. Media topics in descriptors of International Press Telecommunications Council // Вісник Львівського університету. Сер. Журналістика. 2017. № 42. С. 151–158.
  6. Сучасні проблеми біоетики / редкол.: Ю.І. Кундієв (відп. ред.) та ін.  К. : Академперіодика, 2009.
  7. Балалаєва О. Ю. Аналіз новинних кодів за стандартами Міжнародної ради з питань преси та телекомунікацій // Міжнародний філологічний часопис (Науковий вісник НУБіП України. Сер. Філологічні науки). 2017. Вип. 272. С. 103–110.
  8. Шинкарук В. Д.,  Балалаєва О.Ю. Підготовка аграрних журналістів: перспективи та завдання // Науковий вісник Національного університету біоресурсів і природокористування України. Серія: Філологічні науки. 2017. Вип. 263. С. 117–125.

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