Some points to consider before hitting the publish button…read on.
CyberJournalist.net has created a model Bloggersâ€™ Code of Ethics, by modifying the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics for the Weblog world. These are just guidelines â€” in the end it is up to individual bloggers to choose their own best practices. CyberJournalist.net follows this code and urges other Weblogs to adopt this one or similar practices:
Be Honest and Fair
Bloggers should be honest and fair in gathering, reporting and interpreting information.
â€¢ Never plagiarize.
â€¢ Identify and link to sources whenever feasible. The public is entitled to as much information as possible on sourcesâ€™ reliability.
â€¢ Make certain that Weblog entries, quotations, headlines, photos and all other content do not misrepresent. They should not oversimplify or highlight incidents out of context.
â€¢ Never distort the content of photos without disclosing what has been changed. Image enhancement is only acceptable for for technical clarity. Label montages and photo illustrations.
â€¢ Never publish information they know is inaccurate â€” and if publishing questionable information, make it clear itâ€™s in doubt.
â€¢ Distinguish between advocacy, commentary and factual information. Even advocacy writing and commentary should not misrepresent fact or context.
â€¢ Distinguish factual information and commentary from advertising and shun hybrids that blur the lines between the two.
Ethical bloggers treat sources and subjects as human beings deserving of respect.
â€¢ Show compassion for those who may be affected adversely by Weblog content. Use special sensitivity when dealing with children and inexperienced sources or subjects.
â€¢ Be sensitive when seeking or using interviews or photographs of those affected by tragedy or grief.
â€¢ Recognize that gathering and reporting information may cause harm or discomfort. Pursuit of information is not a license for arrogance.
â€¢ Recognize that private people have a greater right to control information about themselves than do public officials and others who seek power, influence or attention. Only an overriding public need can justify intrusion into anyoneâ€™s privacy.
â€¢ Show good taste. Avoid pandering to lurid curiosity. Be cautious about identifying juvenile suspects, victims of sex crimes and criminal suspects before the formal filing of charges.
â€¢ Admit mistakes and correct them promptly.
â€¢ Explain each Weblogâ€™s mission and invite dialogue with the public over its content and the bloggersâ€™ conduct.
â€¢ Disclose conflicts of interest, affiliations, activities and personal agendas.
â€¢ Deny favored treatment to advertisers and special interests and resist their pressure to influence content. When exceptions are made, disclose them fully to readers.
â€¢ Be wary of sources offering information for favors. When accepting such information, disclose the favors.
â€¢ Expose unethical practices of other bloggers.
â€¢ Abide by the same high standards to which they hold others.