*Paul Xavier Jaehwa C. Bernardo, Tricia S. Lechuga & Christian V. Esguerra
Journalists play a vital role during an electoral campaign where their reporting on candidates help the voting public make well-informed decisions. However, their dealings with sources may place them in unfavourable situations where ethics are concerned. This phenomenological study intended to capture and examine the ethical dilemmas experienced by Filipino journalists who covered the trails of presidential candidates during the Philippines’ national elections of May 2016 that was eventually won by Philippine City Mayor Rodrigo R. Duterte. Data were collected through interviews with journalists from print, online and broadcast news organisations who were assigned to cover the five presidential candidates. Participants of the study were asked to narrate their experiences on the campaign trail, particularly those that challenged their ethical values as reporters. Results yielded the Wheel of Filipino Election Reporters’ Ethical Dilemmas model that classified and described these dilemmas thus providing valuable insights on the ethical dimensions of political journalism. Furthermore, these findings would enable political journalists to become more conscious of the moral and ethical dimensions of their work, given their crucial task as watchdogs of those who are in power.
Keywords: journalism ethics, ethical dilemmas, political journalism, election reporting, reporter-source relations