A lot of discussion is currently on-going about the need for bloggers/citizen journalist to adopt a sort of â€œcode of conductsâ€ for their chosen passion in new media and citizen journalism.
According to Lanita Pace; Director of Multimedia and Technology Programs at the Knight Digital Media Center at UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism;
Every news organization has only its credibility and reputation to rely on.
I couldnâ€™t disagree with her when she made those comments during a training session I attended for Independent Journalist from across the world where I happened to be the only African blogger. I had the opportunity to network and interact with other professional bloggers where we shared ideas, deliberated on best practices from each others region and work. I managed to buy a domain, developed a full blog right after that workshop.
Somewhere in July, 2011 at a workshop organized by the National Democratic Institute in Beirut, Lebanon; young citizen journalists from the MENA Region & Iran with the help of Kelli Arena, Magda Abdu-Fadil and the Digital Strategy Consultant; Ayman Itani, held a session on â€œCitizen Journalism, Professionalism, and Ethicsâ€.
Here they discussed guidelines for Good Citizen Journalistic Practices below via Afef Abroguiâ€™s blog:
- Be accurate and fair.
- Avoid profanity.
- Do not distribute copyrighted material or plagiarize.
- Do not post anything that will endanger someoneâ€™s life.
- Do not fabricate stories, or digitally alter pictures or video.
- Put a disclaimer before especially disturbing post.
- Disclose any funding.
- Always link to original sources.
- Do not sell information about your subscribers or followersâ€™ list.
- Be transparent about who you are/your role in the story, your methodology, any conflicts of interest.
- Be careful posting developments that have not been confirmed or that you have not witnessed yourself.
A colleague in my office think; the code of conduct, would prevent users from committing libel, despite being unenforceable through the law.
What do you think? Could a code of conduct have a negative impact on citizen journalism? Would it make it easier for individuals to prosecute user-generated content under libel laws, or would it help to protect citizen journalists from committing â€œlibelâ€ inadvertently?
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