10 Commandments for Media Consumers

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Description of 10 Commandments for Media Consumers. Explanation.

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Definition 10 Commandments for Media Consumers. Description.


10 Commandments for Media Consumers is a checklist that provides media consumers the awareness needed to correctly evaluate mass media communications.


The Ten Commandments for Media Consumers is a checklist developed by Cees Hamelink in his article “Ethics for Media Users”, published in the European Journal of Communication, December 1995. Hamelink, active in the field of ethical journalism and media accountability, suggests awareness to three categories of media consumers: viewers, readers and listeners. He argues consumers must severely question the freedom, quality and responsibility of media. They must not only beware of the nature and scope of media messages, but also take on proactive behavior when called to respond to persuasive messages. For this reason he developed the following Ten Commandments:

  1. Be an attentive and discriminating media consumer.
  2. Actively fight against any form of censorship.
  3. Do not obstruct editorial independence.
  4. Do not accept or endorse any form of racism and sexist behaviors undertaken by media.
  5. Always look for alternative sources of information.
  6. Claim multiple supplies of information (Compare: Multitasking Consumer)
  7. Protect your own privacy.
  8. Be yourself a reliable source of information, in order to provide an accountable Word-of-Mouth.
  9. Do not involve yourself in mercenary, corrupted or biased journalism.
  10. Demand accountability from media producers.

The author recognizes a lack of flexibility and intuitiveness as a main limitation in the use of his 10 Commandments. He argues that his framework must be contextualized and adapted to each situation. The primary goal of Hamelink’s Ten Commandments is to provide general guidelines to media consumers and not strict rules. Consumers’ responsiveness to media can depend upon demographic variables, culture, values and lifestyles.


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