Ethics in Communication

The Linear Communication Model

The linear communication model describes one-way communication in which a person transmits a message and the receiver decodes it. This is a type of direct correspondence used in enterprises to aid with client communication-driven operations such as advertising, sales, and personal relationships. Shannon and weaver developed the linear model (Anaeto, Onabajo & Osifeso, 2008). Linear models are used in mass communication such as television, radio, and business, among other things.

The Interactive Communication Model

In an interactive communication model, the sender and receiver constantly encode and interpret information. Rather than one person sending a message to the other, both players send information alternately. This model is different from lineal model since it accounts for feedback which can be given to the audience. In a dialogue, there is a sender and receiver that may offer a response. This model is practical since it characterizes communication that is established and encoded via one's individual experiences (Anaeto, Onabajo & Osifeso, 2008). Additionally, when more experiences are shared among two participants, they can relate with one another well and establish a profound connection. The disadvantage of this model is that it does not take into account the fact that correspondences between people may change with time.

The Transactional Model

The Transactional Model is the most refined model of communication. It describes face to face dealings or transaction as vibrant and unpredictable that is not constrained to simple characterization (Anaeto, Onabajo & Osifeso, 2008). In this model, a receiver together with the sender may play the same roles concurrently since messages can be encoded back and forth at the same time.

Ethics in Communication

Ethics in communication tries to explain how people communicate ethically. Ethical correspondences are crucial to responsible thinking, choice making and the establishment of correlations as well as communities within and across different contexts, ethnicities, channels, and media. Additionally, it promotes human worth and decorum by nurturing honesty, evenhandedness, responsibility, personal uprightness and respect for self and other people.

Abu Ghraib Story

In the given scenarios, the first instance is Abu Ghraib story. Abu Ghraib was a US army detention center which hosted captured Iraqis in 2002 to 2006. A scrutiny into the treatment of the prisoner saw the exposure of graphic pictures which showed guards abusing the detainees. The issue now is if the release of information and photos of that graphic nature was appropriate. The person who got access to the graphic photos felt it was necessary to give the photos to his bosses who later led to the exposure of the whole thing. The person might have felt it was ethically responsible to expose it so that the perpetrators can be disciplined and the innocent Iraqis can be released.

Moral Obligation to Report Abuses

Following the exposure, there was a lot of backlash from many centers media, lawmakers, defense department; all stated that the interrogation techniques were extreme. The torture even led to deaths of some detainees. Joe Darby did the right thing passing the photos to his superiors. Even though he was seen as a traitor selling out his colleagues, he felt that he was morally obligated to expose the horrendous things happening in prison. What is even more fascinating is the fact that even military personnel felt that it was the right thing to do. The superiors felt that this was just acts of few bad fellows and does not represent the whole group directly.

Violation of Human Rights

Granted the tortures, illegal detention was necessary following the 9/11 attacks; it was however done in extreme unacceptable manner. The Geneva Convention of human rights under which the US is part of, states that all human rights have to be respected. With such human right violations like such extreme tortures, one has to be answerable. Additionally, victims have not compensated. Even after the exposure, United States does not seem to own up to their mistakes and compensate the victims. It forces one to wonder what if exposure was not done probably such horrific activities would have continued even in other places. Putting them in the spotlight was the right thing to do. Ethics in communication deals with values in relation to human conduct concerning the correctness or wrongness of particular acts as well as to the decency and badness of the intentions and ends of such acts (Alberts, Martin & Nakayama, 2011). Therefore, in essence, Darby was ethically compelled to report the abuses and the human right violations.

Neglect in a Marriage

The second scenario is Jason who has been neglecting his wife Leah for a long time and the prospect of friendship and affection from Leah's assistant Joey. Jason has been wrong for neglecting his wife, when at home he never finds time to spend with Leah. Being Leah's sister, I feel obligated to tell Jason the truth so that there will be no miscommunication. What I know is that Leah has not had an affair with Joey; it is only that she felt lonely and needed company and Joey was there to provide it. The beauty of it all is that Leah has been telling me the truth and that is what I shall tell Jason.

The Importance of Communication in Relationships

Both Leah and Joey respected one another, and the companionship develops over time due to a deep respect and friendship towards each other. It does necessarily mean that they neither have feelings nor are they willing to act on them, it is just something that develops. Joey even had to transfer to another department to avoid jeopardizing Leah's marriage. Leah as well recognized the obligations she has towards her marriage and therefore never intended to have a relationship with Joey that is why she informed me. I would inform Jason of the struggles of loneliness and neglect his wife Leah has and how he needs to act fast.

Preventing the Breakdown of a Marriage

I feel compelled to tell Jason the truth so he does not assume that Leah is having an affair. Leah wanted to end the friendship with Joey, and in fact, she would have not started it in the first place had Jason been there for her. I feel ethically compelled, therefore, to advise Jason to work things out with Leah and stop neglecting her. If Jason is supportive of his wife and shows her affection and is there for her, then certainly Leah would not look for someone else. When humans are lonely, they tend to develop affection for people who are there for them at their lowest point (American Psychological Association, 2002). Therefore, it is no surprise that Joey and Leah developed a genuine friendship since they were there for each other. If Jason does not change his ways, he would be the one responsible for breaking his marriage. I would still advise him to have a talk with his wife to get the whole picture.

Protecting a Child

Scenario three is a case of a daughter going for a sleepover at a prospective pedophile's home. As a father, I am worried about my daughter. I shall feel guilty should anything happen to her. Bill Jackson is a prospective pedophile, and having my daughter over there at all night increases the chance of him committing his atrocious acts since the temptation is there. I feel it would only be right to tell my wife information I have of Bill. Even though I am afraid she would react differently, I think it is the right thing to do. For pedophiles, it always starts as fantasies and considering the fact that Bill did not complete his sessions, I do not think he has got the help that he needed.

Preventing Potential Harm

Having my daughter there could give him the chance to act on his fantasies as he will see her as a defenseless victim. Bringing my daughter home would not be a sign of mistrust but rather preventing a possible wrongdoing. Bill may not necessarily have intentions of molesting my daughter; however, her presence and her perceived vulnerability, i.e., young girls according to pedophiles are seen as vulnerable and defenseless, might cause him to have wild thoughts and perhaps unconsciously act on them. Therefore, it would be wise to prevent a possible crime from being committed.

The Importance of Privileged Information

The privileged information does not necessarily imply that I have changed the view of the family; however, should Bill have completed his therapy, then I would not have any worries. Sometimes having such privileged information is very critical in preventing crimes or wrongdoings that could otherwise cause great harm. For instance, I would not forgive myself, nor my wife would forgive me, knowing that my daughter could be violated over something I could have averted. Taking my daughter is the safe option for everyone, both my family and Bill; he would not have any temptations.

My Reflection

Ethics in communications plays a key role in ensuring integrity, honesty, privacy, and confidentiality. Nonetheless, there are instances that call for disregard of ethics. Joe Darby felt compelled to expose the rot in Abu Ghraib prison, although it may have been against military code of conduct. Sometimes ethical reasoning goes beyond the guidelines set by society. Innocent victims were tortured and would have continued to be had he not reported. Even though he risked his life and job, his bravery went a long way in ensuring accountability and integrity in the military at that moment and the subsequent operations. Having privileged information in the case of Bill Jackson permits a father to protect his daughter and avert a possible wrongdoing regardless of how the information was obtained. It is like a CIA agent receiving information of a possible attack and not acting on it. Additionally, privacy and confidentiality at times are disregarded at crucial times. Informing Jason of his faults shall allow him to understand Leah's actions and choose to save his marriage without blaming his wife. All in all, what is important is doing what is morally right and beneficial to all parties.


Alberts, J. K., Martin, J. N., & Nakayama, T. K. (2011). Communication in society. Pearson.

American Psychological Association. (2002). Ethical principles of psychologists and code of conduct. American psychologist, 57(12), 1060-1073.

Anaeto, S. G., Onabajo, O. S., & Osifeso, J. B. (2008). Models and theories of communication. Maryland: African Renaissance Books Incorporated.

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