I had an interesting second last lecture in one of the courses I am taking this semester titled: Communication Ethics and Law. I guess it was interesting because we had a presentation with my group on ethical issues affecting online journalism and the responses were interesting. During our months long study my group could easily concluded that we dont really need rules and reguations for online journalists and bloggers. We concluded that respect for facts, values, and principles will help bloggers and other types of online journalists be responsible journalists.
The debate is very rife especially in Kenya on how to regulate blogs and other portals. I think this is not necessary if we can act responsibly and use the information we have to give accurate, balanced and clear opinions and commentaries. The issue that we should actually be wrestling with is why shouldn’t we be guided by the same personal values and principles that guide us if we were working in the mainstream media. I am so sure that if we were reporters and editors in the mainstream industry we would be very careful in whatever we write not even because there are regulation but because we are guided by cultural norms.
I believe that, online journalists can be ethical just like anyone else and it is up to all of us to work on our writing so that it represents the required standards socially and ethically.