Historic: Bloggers sign Code of Ethics

“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.

Blogger Deepak Adhikari signs Code of Ethics. Photo by Sailendra Kharel.

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:

  1. Be fair on what I write in my blog
  2. Write things that I believe to be truth
  3. Specify my source of information – credit to offline sources and link to online sources
  4. Specify clearly the use of any unconfirmed fact or information
  5. 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
  6. Clearly differentiate between advertisements and blog content
  7. Disclose clearly if an entry is posted sponsored or as advertisement or after accepting a payment or goods to write it
  8. Admit and correct mistakes as soon as possible but only with strikethrough or editorial notes
  9. Allow comments to engage audience, allow different opinions and clearly state my moderation policy if any
  10. Show compassion for human being – be sensitive writing about or using photos of victims
  11. Promote freedom of speech

As a blogger, I wouldn’t intentionally:

  1. Completely rewrite or delete an entry
  2. Threaten people and institution using the blog for personal benefits
  3. Write anything undermining nationality, national security, religious harmony and social order
  4. Give space to pornography, hate speech and crude content
  5. Publish personal and confidential information of people collected during their visit to my blog
  6. Spam, spread malware and viruses and engage in criminal activities
  7. Plagiarize – copy and paste from other sources
  8. 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).

Those who agreed to become signatories but could not attend are Aakar Anil, Dilip Acharya, Harsha Maharjan, Jitendra Bajracharya, Pawan Acharya, Prabesh Poudel, and Umesh Shrestha.

Let’s blog responsibly.

15 thoughts on “Historic: Bloggers sign Code of Ethics

  1. Congratulations Ujjwal ji and team of prominent bloggers. I was so happy to present you all to the program that EA organized.

  2. Hello there, I like the idea of Citizen Journalism. And sure, the code of ethics is essential for that. And we will hope that we will get  truth, facts and fresh news (satya, tathya n taja khabar) from your sites. And it will sure make the change in the train of journalism in the country. Good luck for that. However, generalizing all the bloggers as Journalist or professionals doesn’t sounds good. Most of the bloggers are not related with writing news either. Some people writes against the social norms for good that might violate your code of ethics. So it would have been better if the name was  BLOGGING JOURNALISTS ASSOCIATION OF NEPAL.

  3. Thank you for your support. We are planning a Bloggers Meet soon where we will discuss more about how to move forward with this and other related issues. I will invite you to the event and/or mail you all developments.

  4. Thanks for that. I am writing an article on the impact of Nepali blogging on the political ecosystem for Republica this week, so if you can send any pointers to juicy stuff to herojig at gmail dot commie I would appreciate any links. Looking for any regulations / restrictions / etc. that are online or in the public domain regarding Nepal. Cheers!

  5. I totally Agree with Kancha. Please change your name to BLOGGING JOURNALISTS ASSOCIATION OF NEPAL.

    BLOGAN doesn’t and won’t represent me as a blogger till those ‘ethics'(“/”) are there.

    A nepali Blogger

  6. Hahah you people are insane
    Trying to regulate blogs, and you ask for source, too motivated from journalism and far from Real Blogging !!!!
    Yet all the best
    I remain to stay out of this.
    And Equal Access …. Presidents Office ….. Big Names .. well well well a new projects starts … new jobs created …. and new rules defined .. Nice.

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