“A historic moment in citizen journalism in Nepal happened today as Nepali bloggers signed their own code of conduct, reports Ujjwal Acharya. The Code of Ethics for bloggers is a joint initiative by BLOGAN, a network of Nepali bloggers, and Online Journalists Association of Nepal (OJA).” (July 27, 2011)
When did “Nepali bloggers” (all of us?) sign our “own” code of conduct? I didn’t sign anything (did you?)… so I proceed to the link with more information (which by the by, happens to be Ujjwal Acharya’s blog) … and I come across his post which reads as follows (with my personal comments in italics in brackets):
The comment by chief commissioner at the National Information Commission, Vinaya Kasajoo, was the most encouraging one for all bloggers agreeing to become signatory of the Code of Ethics for Bloggers today, July 27, 2011.
Ten bloggers were present to sign the first ever code of ethics for bloggers at the program organized by Equal Access to launch their social-cause social networking portal aimed at media people – the MediaManch. Seven prominent bloggers who had agreed to sign it could not make to the program but expressed their full support. (Okay, so who was the 10 supposedly signing on behalf of everyone? I mean the names are listed somewhere, but their credibility as bloggers and therefore representatives seems to be missing… also, who or what is Equal Access? An organization knowledgeable on all things blogs?!)
Kasajoo, who earned his fame for his works on rural journalism and went on to become one of the vocal supporter of online and citizen journalism, lauded the effort saying that it would make blogs more credible in the program attended by prominent media personalities. (WHOA… guys.. so this means IF YOU BLOG YOU’RE A JOURNALIST?!!…Pretty sure being a blogger does NOT make me a journo and vice versa. You?)
The Code of Ethics for bloggers was a joint initiative by BLOGAN, a loose network of Nepali bloggers, and Online Journalists Association of Nepal (OJA), an associate member of Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ). I had proposed an initial draft on May 27, which was updated/improved with suggestions from many bloggers before the final unveiling today. (… “a loose network” of Nepali bloggers” does not read very credible to me.. and again, they are mixing blogging with JOURNALISM by including OJA!)
Ethics is not a restriction or regulation; rather it’s a responsibility that will help to establish blogs as a credible medium of information. Although I consider that most of Nepali blogs are responsible and already ethical; the code of ethics will give them more honor. (So for all you bloggers that lacked honor… SHAME ON YOU. But basically, they just said that this is NOT a restriction or regulation… plus since the conduct was issued under Equal Access (again… who?) is it not binding to ANY BLOGGERS BECAUSE IT’S NOT A STATE POLICY AND THEREFORE IS NOT APPLICABLE TO ALL BLOGGERS!!!!!!)
The idea of developing Code of Ethics for Bloggers came from senior journalist Rajendra Dahal, also an advisor of President Dr Ram Baran Yadav, who during a program organized by Equal Access in May, urged bloggers to formulate ethics and follow them. During the program, I and KP Dhungana of Hamroblog, also the chairperson of OJA, protested Press Council of Nepal’s decision to issue a letter seeking clarification from MySansar on an entry saying that the blogs do not fall under their jurisdiction. (Wait… blogs don’t fall under the jurisdiction of Press Council? Or just MySansar? HOW ABOUT INCLUDING MY BLOG TOO?!! … and everyone else who did not sign up for this bs?)
Dahal suggested that rather than protesting what other did, it would be good if we ‘tell and show’ them that bloggers are blogging responsibly and ethically. (Oooh!!Show and tell?! I loved that as a kid… but who and what are we showing right now?)
Thanks to all for giving me opportunity to formulate first, thus historic, code of ethics for bloggers; thank you signing blogger friends and thanks to Equal Access, especially Binaya Guragain, who helped us by giving us space. (How are any of them credible for all the bloggers of a country?)
This is the first attempt of develop ethics for bloggers and there may remain many lacking issues which we hope to improve in coming days. (GRAMMATICAL ERROR ALERT, I believe it should read “This is the first attempt to develop ethics,” – but I’m just being petty now.)
As a blogger, I would honestly:
- Be fair on what I write in my blog (No. I’ll be dark and hensum!!!)
- Write things that I believe to be truth (So I can’t write fiction?…What if I’m schizophrenic and things appear real to me?!)
- Specify my source of information – credit to offline sources and link to online sources (Again, my blog is NOT a journalistic piece that requires citations….)
- Specify clearly the use of any unconfirmed fact or information (…nor am I trying to make my blog Wikipedia)
- Avoid conflict of interest – clearly disclose my position including job, financial interest, affiliation and relationship if they related to the post OR maintain an detailed About Me page (NO. This blog is anonymous and I haven’t stated who/what I am affiliated with because I don’t claim to be a source of anything except my own thoughts and opinions… the citation of all of these being me, myself, and I.)
- Clearly differentiate between advertisements and blog content (Seriously?)
- Disclose clearly if an entry is posted sponsored or as advertisement or after accepting a payment or goods to write it (WHHHHHHHY?!!!)
- Admit and correct mistakes as soon as possible but only with strikethrough or editorial notes (Screw that. I’ll edit MY OWN BLOG the way I please!..with strikes and stripes and stars and whatever I deem fit.)
- Allow comments to engage audience, allow different opinions and clearly state my moderation policy if any (If I don’t want a bs comment on my blog I won’t allow it. Simple as that.)
- Show compassion for human being – be sensitive writing about or using photos of victims (I am a victim of the stupidity of this supposed code of conduct)
- Promote freedom of speech (This just seems silly to add on the end…)
As a blogger, I wouldn’t intentionally:
- Completely rewrite or delete an entry (BUT WHY?!!! I can write/edit/delete as I please on my blog no?)
- Threaten people and institution using the blog for personal benefits (What “personal benefits?”)
- Write anything undermining nationality, national security, religious harmony and social order (UNDER MINDING NATIONALITY. So guys, if I’m really fucking pissed about being Nepali or something Nepal related I’m a threat… to…what exactly?But if I add, “Mero Nepal payro” at the end of it, is my post cool?)
- Give space to pornography, hate speech and crude content (Honestly?)
- Publish personal and confidential information of people collected during their visit to my blog
- Spam, spread malware and viruses and engage in criminal activities
- Plagiarize – copy and paste from other sources (Good thing they clarified what “plagiarize” is…)
- Disclose the source of primary information without source’s consent (BUT THIS ISN’T MAIN STREAM MEDIA OR A SOUCE OF INFORMATION. It’s my personal blog. Why can’t you leave me alone?)
Okay,which leave me a few other points I’d like to make:
1) Based on other reports I’ve read about blogging in Nepal (just to be spiteful I will not cite them here), Dinesh Wagle who is known as the pioneer blogger started blogging in order to have opinions and thoughts that he had to omit from main stream media.. doesn’t make sense that this code tries to turn personal blogs into journo pieces.
2) Again, I feel the need to repeat that personal blogs are not reports/liable pieces/sources of concrete information and should not be treated or received as such.
3) I suppose the intentions of this “loose network of bloggers” are not ill-intended, but they first need to clarify what blogs this is and is not applicable to before trying to make sweeping statements of what our freedom of speech really is..
4) And finally, I cannot miss the humor in the fact that Mr. Ujjwal Acharya is a prime advocate of this because the top left hand corner of his blog has this:
Just in case you missed it: Experiences, Feelings & Opinions: THEY MATTER MORE THAN FACTS
…Which leaves me sliiiightly baffled about where he stands, any idea how to cite my experiences, feelings and opinions?
Okay. So that’s it. That’s my long rant… feel free to tell me where you stand (because I’m supposed to be open to comments and stuff), but if you ask me… the whole thing is a not very PC word for mentally challenged.