“This is the historic beginning in citizen journalism. Today, Nepali bloggers began a new chapter by signing their own code of conduct.”
The comment by chief commissioner at the National Information Commission, Vinaya Kasajoo, was the most encouraging one for all bloggers agreeing to become signatory of the Code of Ethics for Bloggers today, July 27, 2011.
Ten bloggers were present to sign the first ever code of ethics for bloggers at the program organized by Equal Access to launch their social-cause social networking portal aimed at media people – the MediaManch. Seven prominent bloggers who had agreed to sign it could not make to the program but expressed their full support.
Kasajoo, who earned his fame for his works on rural journalism and went on to become one of the vocal supporter of online and citizen journalism, lauded the effort saying that it would make blogs more credible in the program attended by prominent media personalities.
The Code of Ethics for bloggers was a joint initiative by BLOGAN, a loose network of Nepali bloggers, and Online Journalists Association of Nepal (OJA), an associate member of Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ). I had proposed an initial draft on May 27, which was updated/improved with suggestions from many bloggers before the final unveiling today.
Ethics is not a restriction or regulation; rather it’s a responsibility that will help to establish blogs as a credible medium of information. Although I consider that most of Nepali blogs are responsible and already ethical; the code of ethics will give them more honor.
The idea of developing Code of Ethics for Bloggers came from senior journalist Rajendra Dahal, also an advisor of President Dr Ram Baran Yadav, who during a program organized by Equal Access in May, urged bloggers to formulate ethics and follow them. During the program, I and KP Dhungana of Hamroblog, also the chairperson of OJA, protested Press Council of Nepal’s decision to issue a letter seeking clarification from MySansar on an entry saying that the blogs do not fall under their jurisdiction.
Dahal suggested that rather than protesting what other did, it would be good if we ‘tell and show’ them that bloggers are blogging responsibly and ethically.
Thanks to all for giving me opportunity to formulate first, thus historic, code of ethics for bloggers; thank you signing blogger friends and thanks to Equal Access, especially Binaya Guragain, who helped us by giving us space.
This is the first attempt of develop ethics for bloggers and there may remain many lacking issues which we hope to improve in coming days.
CODE OF ETHICS FOR BLOGGERS (Signed on July 27, 2011)
As a blogger, I would honestly:
- Be fair on what I write in my blog
- Write things that I believe to be truth
- Specify my source of information – credit to offline sources and link to online sources
- Specify clearly the use of any unconfirmed fact or information
- Avoid conflict of interest – clearly disclose my position including job, financial interest, affiliation and relationship if they related to the post OR maintain an detailed About Me page
- Clearly differentiate between advertisements and blog content
- Disclose clearly if an entry is posted sponsored or as advertisement or after accepting a payment or goods to write it
- Admit and correct mistakes as soon as possible but only with strikethrough or editorial notes
- Allow comments to engage audience, allow different opinions and clearly state my moderation policy if any
- Show compassion for human being – be sensitive writing about or using photos of victims
- Promote freedom of speech
As a blogger, I wouldn’t intentionally:
- Completely rewrite or delete an entry
- Threaten people and institution using the blog for personal benefits
- Write anything undermining nationality, national security, religious harmony and social order
- Give space to pornography, hate speech and crude content
- Publish personal and confidential information of people collected during their visit to my blog
- Spam, spread malware and viruses and engage in criminal activities
- Plagiarize – copy and paste from other sources
- Disclose the source of primary information without source’s consent
Signatories: Bhojraj Dahal, Chandan Sapkota, Deepak Adhikari, Dipak Bhattarai, KP Dhungana, Mukunda Nepal, Sailendra Kharel, Somesh Verma, Surath Giri, and Ujjwal Acharya. (all present in the program).
Let’s blog responsibly.