A Blogger’s Code

22 Jan 2006

Philipp pointed out 15 rules based on a press code, which should serve as a guideline throughout blogging. This blogger’s code is by no means obligatory, but it sure points out some serious issues. I know some people think bloggers and journalists shouldn’t be treated as being equal, but I think that sort of depends on what kind of news you are bringing and how serious you take yourself as a blogger. This list was reprinted with kind permission of Philipp Lenssen and fits in the frame Jason and I have been creating with our Blogiarism Interviews, a series in which we’ve interviewed 10 prominent bloggers about the code they follow when they’re linking to someone and about their vision on giving credit where it’s due.

  1. Respect for the truth, observance of human rights and accurate informing of blog visitors are the overriding principles of bloggers.
  2. The posting of specific news and information in text and photos must be carefully checked for accuracy in the light of existing circumstances. Its sense must not be distorted or falsified by editing, headlines or picture captions. Documents must be accurately reproduced. Unconfirmed reports, rumours or assumptions must be quoted as such. It must be clear, or made so, that symbolic photos are such.
  3. Posted news or assertions, particularly those related to persons, which turn out to be incorrect must be rectified promptly in an appropriate manner by the blog concerned.
  4. Dishonest methods must not be used to acquire person-related news, information or photos.
  5. Agreed confidentiality is to be observed as a fundamental principle.
  6. All those blogging shall preserve the standing and credibility of the blogspace at large, observe professional secrecy, use the right to refuse to give evidence, and not disclose the identity of informants without their express consent.
  7. The responsibility of bloggers towards the public requires that editorial blogging is not influenced by the private or business interests of third parties or by the personal commercial interests of bloggers. Bloggers must reject any attempts of this nature and make a clear distinction between editorial and commercial blog posts.
  8. Bloggers shall respect people’s private lives. If, however, the private behaviour of a person touches upon public interests, then it may be reported upon. Care must be taken to ensure that the personal rights of non-involved persons are not violated. Bloggers shall respect people’s right to self-determination on information about them and guarantee blogging data protection.
  9. It is contrary to blogging decorum to publish unfounded claims and accusations, particularly those that harm personal honor.
  10. Posting words and photos which could seriously offend the moral or religious feelings of a group of persons, in form or content, are irreconcilable with the responsibility of bloggers.
  11. Bloggers will refrain from inappropriately sensational portrayal of violence and brutality. The protection of young visitors is to be considered in blogging.
  12. No one may be discriminated against due to a handicap or their membership of a racial, ethnic, religious, social or national group.
  13. Blog posts on investigations, criminal court proceedings and other formal procedures must be free from prejudice. For this reason, before and during legal proceedings, all comment, both in reports and headlines, must avoid being one-sided or prejudicial. An accused person must not be described as guilty before final judgement has been passed. Court decisions should not be blogged on before they are announced unless there are serious reasons to justify such action.
  14. Blog posts on medical subjects should not be of an unnecessarily sensationalist nature that could raise unfounded fears or hopes among readers. Research findings that are still at an early stage should not be portrayed as conclusive or almost conclusive.
  15. The acceptance or granting of privileges of any kind which could influence the freedom of decision on the part of the blogger are irreconcilable with the prestige, independence and mission of blogspace at large. Anyone accepting bribes for the dissemination of blog posts acts in a dishonourable and unprofessional manner.
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Posted by Miel Van Opstal in Blogging, Blogiarism, Ethics


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