by Maria Eleanor E. Valeros, #newmedia specialist
CAPTION: Blogging should move beyond personal, so is the call to serious citizen media blogging on a global scale.
CEBU CITY, PHILIPPINES (Jan. 24, 2015) — Blogging is personal. From the word “weblog,” netizens use this to mean a digital form of a personal journal or diary. However, Manila blogger Tony Cruz said we have to move from that level to give meaningful space to social networking sites flooded by some 44 million Filipinos in supporting global calls to use citizen media for social good.
Cruz, in a panel discussion on “What’s happening in Filipino citizen media,” pointed out that adopting a code of ethics for bloggers/digital media journalists, social media writers and data journalists, among others, remains a sticky issue in the Philippines.
“There have been efforts to agree on a code despite the very broad outline of ethics, but the lack of it still despite a 20-year-old Internet penetration in the Philippines doesn’t mean we don’t believe in ethics,” Cruz said.
He shared that social media activism may have started from a blogging experience while exploring the potential of internetworking but that writers and blogging communities have to move from there to give meaning to open online expression. “Yes, it might be a personal thing, express one’s personal views about issues but we have to agree on interview policies, perhaps; we can draft a unified statement to make certain disclosures more responsible and accountable. Digital natives, immigrants and creatives who have become bloggers look for guidelines from senior statesmen,” he said.
Meanwhile, Cebu blogger Ruben Licera Jr. finds it hard to subject to an ethics code the works of local bloggers who argue on the nature of their outputs.
“Unless of course the bloggers take on the “mental of a journalist”,” Licera bared.
Social media users/bloggers here have not also discussed in detail the drafting of a common code of ethics.
To this, Cruz added that the recent 10th Global Voices Citizen Media Summit at the Cebu Provincial Capitol, which saw the convergence of around 300 new media insiders from around the world, should inspire blogging communities to mark as urgent the need for a code of ethics because the moment “we click publish, everything becomes social; that our responsibility to readers kick in.”
“We need to graduate from that ‘it’s my personal thing anyway’ paradigm since we are accountable to everyone online,” Cruz reiterated. “By this time we ought to realize the social value of blogging and the internet and lead writing communities that we have some responsibilities and duties to keep the internet free. As well as to be responsible of the use of that freedom.”
He said the code doesn’t have to be rigid or stringent. “It should at least be mutually acceptable, easy to understand code of ethics. We can even adopt four points mainly from what US societies of professional bloggers observe – be honest with our blogs, be fair, be accountable, and minimize harm. Very simple terms for a broad sense of principle,” he underscored.
Such could be achieved by providing a meeting space where bloggers nationwide could converge, the very same dynamics initiated by Global Voices, an international cooperation group working on upholding open expression on the internet and promoting empathy through various projects of human interest.###