An Ethics Code for Bloggers?
I was browsing around on C|Net’s News.com and noticed a very interesting post talking about ethics and blogging. This is something that has become very heated over the past few years especially when there is an opportunity for either side, traditional media or new media, to strike at each other trying to make the other look unethical or at least not trustworthy.
With the line becoming very blurry, especially as more people get their news online, a U.K. official has made a pitch for a voluntary code of conduct for the blogosphere.
On the Internet, generally speaking, “there are no professional standards, there is no means of redress,” said Tim Toulmin, director of the Press Complaints Commission (PCC), an independent body that enforces a set of standards for the U.K. newspaper and magazine industry. His statements were reported Tuesday by the BBC.
When people have complaints about perceived inaccuracy or discrimination by print publications (and their online versions) that pledge to abide by the code, they have the option of airing their gripes before the PCC. The organization then tries to negotiate a resolution, which could include the publication of a correction or apology or a private letter of apology from the editor at issue.
The idea behind extending such a code to Internet writers isn’t to get the government involved, Toulmin said. “We’re not in favour of regulating the internet,” he said.
It is really hard to control what is being said and done online, and much like sites that want to dabble in e-commerce need to be open and honest before they get a seal of approval in the form of an SSL certificate or whatnot, maybe blogs deserve to be analyzed and given some form of seal of approval that the information on a site is trustworthy, not trustworthy, unknown, or in a state of constant flux, thus warning people to not always believe what they read online.
I know many people are not going to agree with this, and it still leaves huge problems, but I think that something has to be done to help limit the spread of incorrect information, and I hope we can all agree on that.