The treatment of Universal Medicine in the press of late brings up some serious questions and concerns around journalistic integrity. In the interests of disclosure let me first state that I am a long-time participant at Serge Benhayon’s courses and workshops. But while risk of bias is noted, my arguments are nonetheless solid when I point out that journalistic integrity was missing in recent articles by two press journalists about Serge Benhayon and Universal Medicine.
Honesty, accuracy, fairness and disclosure of all essential facts along with a fair opportunity for reply are the basic foundation of the Australian Journalism Association Code of Ethics. The Journalism code, states that where a source seeks anonymity, do not agree without first considering the source’s motives and any alternative attributable source.
The articles maintained that Universal Medicine was a cult, led by ‘cult leader’ Serge Benhayon. This was an extremely damming accusation towards a man who is well regarded in the community and widely respected as a practitioner and presenter of Complementary Medicine therapies. The basis of the articles was provided by a number of anonymous people who, claimed that Universal Medicine ruined their relationships.
Yet neither journalist specifically sought out each of their partners to find out the other side of the story as to their reasons why the relationship broke up, apart from a brief mention that was buried in the latest SMH article. And therein lies the problem … the articles by both journalists were skewed to represent one side of the story, hence the many inaccuracies.
And whilst there has been doubt cast by the print journalists about esoteric modalities, perhaps some interviews with practitioners’ clients would have provided a balanced viewpoint, rather than rely on the word of people with a cross to bear. With further investigation, the journalists may then have revealed the truth that thousands of normal, everyday people have benefitted from seeing Universal Medicine accredited practitioners. Medicine and Serge Benhayon blog.
Serge does not tell people not to see a registered doctor if they are ill. He openly states he is pro-medicine and that esoteric and conventional medicine can and always should work side by side. The information is openly available on the Esoteric Medicine audio presentations on the Universal Medicine website. Why didn’t the journalists check this?
Serge presents information about the effects of various foods, drinks and self-destructive behaviours and it is up to people to make their own decisions if they wish to modify their eating or living habits. For the many that have, including myself, life is much more vibrant and healthy.
And as for the contention that Serge ‘exerts control over lovemaking behaviour’ – that is far from the truth. What is pointed out is that we live in a society where, increasingly, ‘aggressive sex’ has become the norm, and this is at the expense of ‘making love’ and enjoying the deep and connected relationships that we are capable of.
Investigative journalism is essential and can provide a service to society by uncovering unscrupulous practices. Perhaps the best example is the work done by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein from the Washington Post when they uncovered the ‘Watergate’ affair in the early seventies, ultimately bringing down Richard Nixon.
Woodward and Bernstein were meticulous in verifying truth and would not publish unless their sources’ statements had been validated. True investigative journalism is about ethics.
Unfortunately ethical reporting appears to have gone out the window with the many inaccuracies appearing in these articles about Universal Medicine. Did the journalists have a predetermined agenda to destroy or damage Universal Medicine’s reputation? If not, why did they not provide balanced articles? But then again, there’s nothing like truth to get in the way of a good story.
It’s a matter of integrity.
By Rod Harvey