Short for Weblog, Blogs started becoming popular in the early 90's according
Blogs allow people express their ideas and opinions in an open forum where
other people are able to view them and leave comments if they wish.
Blogs take many different forms. Sometimes they are simply online journals,
such as livejournal.com, where
others are more akin to social networking, such as myspace.com, and then others take a more
serious and journalistic approach, such as the Huffington post.
Blogging and journalism
There was recent discussion concerning blogging and election time. The
Parliamentary Elections Act was possibly going to be used in order to keep
bloggers from posting their opinions about upcoming elections (read more
here). This raised the question, is blogging more than just opinions,
is it a form of journalism?
If one is to consider Blogging journalism, a code of ethics is required.
This blogger has taken it
upon himself to put forth such a set of rules.
Current laws state that any form of advertising, wether on the internet or
the newspaper or radio, costs money, and therefore is regulated by campaign finance laws. This
raises several questions. (Source:
The coming crackdown on blogging)
- Does a link to a candidates website count as advertising?
- Does a favorable review of a candidate count as a contribution?
The question is also raised, if we are to count the above things as
governable by the campaign finance laws, what is the value of a hyperlink?
How do you measure the cost to produce a blog? If we are to start counting
each hyperlink related to political issues as a certain dollar amount, then it
will limit those who wish to link to their favorite politicians for fear of
becoming regulated by the government. If bloggers are required to log the
time and money spent producing a blog, then we run into issues of people who
pay different rates for internet and electricity.
If blogs become susceptable to campaign finance law, then does that
require that all blogs related to politics be required to be at a certain
level of accuracy? Are blogs to be checked for accuracy before they can be
posted? This raises questions about freedom of speech. If we are to start
requiring blogs to have the same level of accuracy as any other news related
publications, then you start defeating the original intent of blogs, to be
personal opinions on the issues. Who do you get to check blogs for accuracy?
Do you create another agency to regulate blogs, thereby spending more taxpayer
money to regulate an ever growing field?
Blog Ethics 2004 attempts
to answer several concerns about blogging ethics. In order to look at the ethics of
blogging, you have to first define the purpose of blogging. If you are to
address blogging the same as you address any news publication, then the set of
ethics are quite strict, for example (take from http://www.cyperjournalist.net)
- Do not plagiarize
- Identify and link sources
- Do not post known innaccurate information
- Recognize the points of the other side
- Correct mistakes when found
However, if you are to address blogs simply as a personal outlet of the
individual, the rules change. Everybody has the right to post whatever they
please on their personal blogs, if you get into regulating the nature of their
content you change the nature of blogs themselves.
Using the definition of blogs as being personal journals, there are issues
that arise when these personal journals are revealed to people around the
author, such as Ellen Simonetti's
case who was fired for simply posting pictures of her fellow co-workers on her
blog. The official reason was for having "inappropriate pictures" on her blog,
but the pictures were supposedly just of her other co-workers, just like several
other pictures Ellen found online outside of a blog setting. The personal
nature of blogs becomes even more of an issue when it involves public figures,
such as teachers. Do teachers, as a responsibility towards the children they
come in contact with, have a certain responsibility to curtail their opinions
and content of their blogs?