In normal parlance corruption is associated with the abuse of power to amass wealth.
However corruption is more profound in nature. It includes and mainly defines dishonest or unethical conduct by a person entrusted with a position of authority, often to acquire personal benefit.
It is corruption and an abuse of authority for a person entrusted with authority to deliberately flout professional ethics to obtain advantage.
It is corruption, for example, for a newspaper to sacrifice or exchange professional ethics for the purposes of seeking political favour, especially where such support is offered to an opposition party with the hope that political favour will flow once the party assumes office.
This is corruption because it perverts and abuses a trust and bond that exists between a newspaper and its readers. This is a bond which readers often take for granted, by naively assuming that every newspaper will abide by universal ethical standards which uphold the sanctity of truth.
At the core of the journalism are the imperatives of truthfulness, accuracy, objectivity, fairness and accountability to the readership.
Sadly apart from the pursuit of commercial success, some newspapers have chosen to engage in deliberate dissemination of false and misleading information, to the extent sometimes of fabricating such information.
This is particularly the case in election periods when such information is intended to affect the outcome.
The role of newspaper is to tell the truth, however painful and hold those in authjority to account, but this also requires that the media observes the very standards that it prescribes for others.
When the News of the World was causgt in a web of deceit and lies, the proprietor Rupert Murdoch apologized by stating: “We are sorry. The News of the World was in the business of holding others to account. It failed when it came to itself. We are sorry for the serious wrongdoing that occurred. We are deeply sorry for the hurt suffered by the individuals affected. We regret not acting faster to sort things out. I realise that simply apologising is not enough. Our business was founded on the idea that a free and open press should be a positive force in society. We need to live up to this. In the coming days, as we take further concrete steps to resolve these issues and make amends for the damage they have caused, you will hear more from us.”
The rest is history, sufficie to state that it is the duty of every newspaper to be truthful and not to set out on brazen propaganda campaign that is intended to malign, mislead and cause as damage to personalities as possible.
There is no worse betrayal for a newspaper than to repeat fabricating stories, documents and information and insisting on their veracity even when ample information is provided to prove them either as forgeries or obtained under contrived circumstances.
Such duplicitous conduct does not only harm the particular newspaper but sows a general seed of distrust in the media as a whole.
At the third level, the company has betrayed its readers. For a company that prides itself on knowing its readers and giving them a voice, it has demonstrated the ultimate contempt and betrayal. Instead of being loyal and trustworthy, what its readership embody, the company has shown itself to be duplicitous and willing to betray its employees, sources, and its readers for profit and influence. It has sold its readers a lie. The leadership chose power over the people, the rich over the poor and the strong over the weak. They sold their readers and their trust to the highest political bidder.