A Code of Conduct for bloggers?

A code is something personal at least at the beginning. Why? Because it needs to be accepted by the individual . To put it in law or even to formally set it up one needs the agreement and commitment of the individual. This is the only way it can be adopted. To make it into a law would require the force and will of the State and sometimes this would or could lead into a form of censorship or a means by the state to control. This of course does not disregard the right of the private citizen from abuse. These are covered by libel laws – whether they need to be tweaked or amended needs to be considered and more importantly to be watched by all.

As more and more things are happening on-line in terms of selling and promoting of ideas. The more need there is for a code to be practiced and accepted. Of course this is an individual choice and it may that of a collective. It is nothing that should be imposed by the state or anyone on anyone. But I ramble on too much … here are some of Codes regarding Blogging:

I. Draft Blogger’s Code of Conduct/a>

Take responsibility not just for your own words, but for the comments you allow on your blog.
Label your tolerance level for abusive comments.
Consider eliminating anonymous comments.
Ignore the trolls.
Take the conversation offline, and talk directly, or find an intermediary who can do so.
If you know someone who is behaving badly, tell them so.
Don’t say anything online that you wouldn’t say in person.

II.Cyberjournalist Net Model of a Blogger’s Code of Ethics :
Modified from the Code of Ethics of the Society of Professional Journalists this is model blogger code of ethics that can be found at Cyberjournalist.

Be Honest and Fair

Bloggers should be honest and fair in gathering, reporting and interpreting information.
Bloggers should:
• Never plagiarize.
• Identify and link to sources whenever feasible. The public is entitled to as much information as possible on sources’ reliability.
• Make certain that Weblog entries, quotations, headlines, photos and all other content do not misrepresent. They should not oversimplify or highlight incidents out of context.
• Never distort the content of photos without disclosing what has been changed. Image enhancement is only acceptable for for technical clarity. Label montages and photo illustrations.
• Never publish information they know is inaccurate — and if publishing questionable information, make it clear it’s in doubt.
• Distinguish between advocacy, commentary and factual information. Even advocacy writing and commentary should not misrepresent fact or context.
• Distinguish factual information and commentary from advertising and shun hybrids that blur the lines between the two.

Minimize Harm
Ethical bloggers treat sources and subjects as human beings deserving of respect.

Bloggers should:
• Show compassion for those who may be affected adversely by Weblog content. Use special sensitivity when dealing with children and inexperienced sources or subjects.
• Be sensitive when seeking or using interviews or photographs of those affected by tragedy or grief.
• Recognize that gathering and reporting information may cause harm or discomfort. Pursuit of information is not a license for arrogance.
• Recognize that private people have a greater right to control information about themselves than do public officials and others who seek power, influence or attention. Only an overriding public need can justify intrusion into anyone’s privacy.
• Show good taste. Avoid pandering to lurid curiosity.
Be cautious about identifying juvenile suspects, victims of sex crimes and criminal suspects before the formal filing of charges.

Be Accountable
Bloggers should:
• Admit mistakes and correct them promptly.
• Explain each Weblog’s mission and invite dialogue with the public over its content and the bloggers’ conduct.
• Disclose conflicts of interest, affiliations, activities and personal agendas.
• Deny favored treatment to advertisers and special interests and resist their pressure to influence content. When exceptions are made, disclose them fully to readers.
• Be wary of sources offering information for favors. When accepting such information, disclose the favors.
• Expose unethical practices of other bloggers.
• Abide by the same high standards to which they hold others.

You may agree or not agree on this or on this concept. You may not fully agree or not fully disagree with these codes. One might also argue that bloggers are not journalist and you would be correct – one hundred percent. However, whether a blogger, online journalist and even an online opinion writer one does not escape the fact that one publishes or post one’s work it is open to the public and it may affect and have an effect. Of course On-line Private and locked journals open a new discussion about the code.
Whether you agree or not about a code of ethics or code of conduct of bloggers. Again, I think it should not be imposed or adapted by force, rather it should b a personal choice. And if a group decides to adopt such a code well the basis should be the unanimous consent of the individuals .
As for me , I do not know if you call this a code but I do believe in the following::

  • Disclose everything that needs to be disclosed
  • Respect everyone and be fair to All
  • Inform , Entertain, maybe even educate but do no harm
  • Check the facts and tests new ideas
  • As JRR Tolkien once wrote, “Do not be too eager to deal out death in judgment”.
  • What do you think? What is your personal code when it comes to such things?

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    One Response to A Code of Conduct for bloggers?

    1. Didi says:

      I do agree, slowly bloggers are becoming the new journalists of the future. Moreso, it is a work in progress that all bloggers will eventually be wearing their journalist hats. I think that this is important to protect ourselves as bloggers as purveyors of life as it happens (we are actually documenting histpry as it happens!) and uplift the blogger “profession” as well.

      My question is, is there such a collective blogger code in some other part of the world? If so, would it be possible for the Philippines to have a collective blogger code?

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