Thursday, October 28, 2010

Leeching - Part 2: a hypothetical ethical dilemma

Here’s a hypothetical ethical dilemma.

Let’s pretend you are employed by a mulitmedia corporation to host a TV/Radio/Internet program. You are also an author. You have written a new book and, at no cost to you, your employer has assisted in its publication. The book even carries the organisation’s logo which is well respected by the community. Your employer allows the book to be promoted on the station for which you work and by the corporation’s other media arms. You promote the book during your program, on your internet profile page, and you use the organisation’s facilities to help promote the book. You share in the profits from the sale of the book.

The broadcaster is funded by the tax payer.

Some questions:

1. What proportion of profits from the sale of the book goes to you, and what proportion goes back to the corporation?
2. Will you be donating your share of the profits to a charity?
3. Our hypothetical organisation’s Editorial Policy, which you are obliged to follow, contains the following statements: "Announcements about activities which result in financial benefit to the presenter may not be broadcast within that presenter’s regular program. and "Online announcements for activities which result in financial benefit to a presenter may not be hosted on that presenter’s profile page." Were you aware of these policy statements? If so, how do you justify the intense promotion of your book on your regular program? If not, will you desist from further promotions? Do you consider that you have breached this policy?
4. Given some of the profit falls to you, what contribution have you personally made to costs associated with promoting and advertising the book?
5. Given you receive profits from the sale of the book; do you feel comfortable using tax-payers money to promote the book in this manner?
6. Have you previously promoted other books in which you have an interest on your regular program?
7. Given you receive profits from the sale of the book; do you intend to re-pay taxpayers for promoting and marketing your book?
8. The book contains a collection of works previously broadcast on your program. Given tax-payers have already paid once for the work, why should the tax-payer pay for it again?
9. Given you are found to have breached editorial policy, will you resign?

Would the situation change if the corporation was privately owned? If so why?


  1. Well done!

    I've begged our local ABC for an answer to these questions for years! When they do lower themselves to provide an answer, always 31 days after the original question, a series of sections, sub sections, paragraphs et al. Followed by something like "The ABC has operated within it's charter".

  2. Indeed a very different stance by Auntie to that adopted towards Prof. Ian Plimer when it refused the many requests for a reprint of his ABC book "A Short History of Planet Earth".


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