Friday, August 16, 2013

Here Is A Good Summary Of How An Ethical Blogger Should Behave. I Think Some Might Find This Worth Reading.

This appeared a little while ago.

Citizen Journalism

Mindful ethics for election bloggers and citizen journalists

August 10, 2013
By Mark Pearson, Professor of Journalism and Social Media, Griffith University, Australia
10 August 2013
Bloggers and citizen journalists come from an array of backgrounds and thus bring varied cultural and ethical values to their blogging.
No Fibs asks its citizen journalists to follow the MEAA Code of Ethics, and the journalists’ union has recently made a concerted effort to bring serious bloggers into its fold through its FreelancePro initiative.
This would have bloggers committing to a ‘respect for truth and the public’s right to information’ and the core principles of honesty, fairness, independence, and respect for the rights of others. Specifically, they would subscribe to the 12 key principles of fair and accurate reporting; anti-discrimination; source protection; refusal of payola; disclosure of conflicts of interest; rejection of commercial influences; disclosure of chequebook journalism; using honest newsgathering methods and protecting the vulnerable; disclosing digital manipulation; not plagiarising; respecting grief and privacy; and correcting errors. These can be overridden only for ‘substantial advancement of the public interest’ or where there is ‘risk of substantial harm to people’.
A decade ago in the US, Cyberjournalist.net cherry-picked the lengthy  Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics and proposed its own Bloggers’ Code of Ethics.
All this is fine for bloggers who are former working journalists, student journalists who hope to work in that occupation, and for serious bloggers who view their work as journalism even though it might only be a hobby or attract a pittance in payment. But many bloggers make the conscious decision not to identify as journalists, and thus need to revert to a personal moral framework in their work.
I have been exploring this in recent months and have coined the expression ‘mindful journalism’ after finding that many fundamental Buddhist principles – applied in a secular way – lend themselves to serious blogging when other moral compasses might be absent. Parts of this blog are drawn from my paper delivered to the IAMCR conference in Dublin in June, 2013.
Please do not interpret this as an attempt to convert bloggers to Buddhism. I am not a Buddhist and believe that followers of any of the world’s major religions will find core values in their scriptures that serve this process just as well.
It is just that Buddhism’s Eightfold Path is a simple expression of key moral values that can underscore ethical blogging: understanding free of superstition, kindly and truthful speech, right conduct, doing no harm, perseverance, mindfulness and contemplation.
It was while writing my recent book Blogging and Tweeting Without Getting Sued (Allen & Unwin, 2012) that I decided a guide to safe online writing required more than a simple account of ‘black letter law’. It forced a re-examination of the fundamental moral underpinnings of Internet and social media communication. Being safe legally normally requires a careful pre-publication reflection upon the potential impacts of one’s work upon one’s self and others – or what a Buddhist might explain in terms of ‘mindfulness’ and ‘karma’.
Vastly more here:
The section I have bolded says it all. I hope I can live up to these ideals. I certainly am not being paid so I must be ½ way there!
I really enjoyed this article.
David.

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