UK Suggests Code of Conduct for Bloggers

When gleaning your news from a newspaper one can assume that a certain ethical code of conduct has been followed (hopefully). With more and more people getting their news from the Internet, at some point information posted on blogs unassociated with established news organizations will need to adhere to similar rules in order to gain and perpetuate validity. This is exactly the move being called for in Britain. The BBC News website posted an article on Tuesday announcing the head of the UK's Press Complaints Commission has called for voluntary adherence to a code of conduct for bloggers.

According to BBC News, Tim Toulmin of the Press Complaints Commission said,

"If you want to see how the newspaper industry would look like if it was unchecked, then look at the internet."

In an age where the industry is searching out new forms of media, blogging has been one of its first offerings. Without betraying the opinions that drive many blogs, at what point in the development of this new medium should existing ethical standards for news dissemination be applied? BBC News reports,

Mr. Toulmin described the phrases "free speech" and "free press" as relative terms because views expressed on the internet are still governed by laws such as libel and data protection.

According to another article on the subject from,

Major news organizations like Al-Jazeera and NPR generally have their own codes of conduct already or subscribe to such a code (such as the one from the Society of Professional Journalists). Despite the existence of some blogger-friendly guidelines, few bloggers formally subscribe to any ethics rules.

While adherence to suggested ethical guidelines could grant authority to blogs, they could also defy themselves as alternative information sources by conforming to the same guidelines as major publications. With the growth of this medium, however, I think that those blogs that wish to be received as valid sources of information and news will organically conduct themselves in ethical ways. But, an attempt to regulate the content and standards for all blogs would seem impossible and an infringement upon the freedom of expression that the Internet affords.

Recent comments



Syndicate content