An article seen today on mumbrella highlighted the lack of regulations used by on-line journalists. Professor Julian Disney, Chair of the Australian Press Council has stated that journalists publishing articles on-line need to boost their standards to be in-line with print and other media standards.
In my opinion, the lack of ‘responsibility’ taken on-line by journalists may well have something to do with the fact that everyone who has access to the internet has the ability to publish something for the world to see, hence somehow taking the onus off journalists who in this media format, are far from the only people who can consider themselves ‘journalists’.
In addition to journalists and bloggers needing to take a bigger responsibility for their own publishings, Disney argues that not only should journalists and media bodies take responsibility for their own posts, but should also be regulating the comments and posts made by members of the public BEFORE they are posted to the public. Historically, if something un-true, derogatory or offensive has been posted in response to a journalists article, they have been removed or corrected after the post has been made public…therefore being available forever to others online, even if corrected.
Disney has urged all serious bloggers or on-line only publishers to also join the Australian Press Council to encourage a more streamlined standard or code of conduct for the on-line world.
The other side of the argument is that an on-line code of conduct or regulation will in turn become a censorship of sorts. Personally, I feel that more frame work around regulations for bloggers is a requirement that can be implemented well and without stifling the voice of the online world.
Problems seen as a reaction to the News of the World scandal have damaged the credibility of the Press Complaints Commission (theUKequivalent of the Australian Press Council) and have made the APC take more notice of the role they need to play in the regulation of online media.
This topic is only one of a number of issues facing the ethics of the on-line world as we see technology progress faster than most can keep up.