WACC calls for code of ethics for citizen journalism

WACC calls for code of ethics for citizen journalism

On World Press Freedom Day, May 3, WACC President Dr Dennis Smith and General Secretary the Rev. Dr Karin Achtelstetter invited members and partners to work towards an international code of ethics for citizen journalism.

WACC (The World Association for Christian Communication) was celebrating the importance of press freedom and remembered journalists whose lives were threatened in the course of their profession.

“We urge media practitioners — professional and citizen journalists — collectively to find common ground in efforts to agree on professional standards and codes to guide the practice of journalism. An international code of ethics for citizen journalism would provide a much needed framework for new voices working to transform societies”, they wr0te in an open letter to members and partners.

The theme for this year’s World Press Freedom Day was “New Voices: Media Freedom Helping to Transform Societies”.

In the open letter, Smith and Achtelstetter drew attention to the transformative power of new media technologies and social media. They cited the ongoing uprisings in the Middle-East which highlight “the potential of citizen journalism to counter attacks on freedom of expression and freedom of the press.”

However, they cautioned that, while emerging media technologies and social media platforms offered  new channels for increased information flows and strengthening communication rights, using them demanded greater responsibility.

“Part of that responsibility is developing and adapting professional standards to guide journalistic practice,” they said.

WACC believes that freedom of expression and freedom of the press are basic human rights. Media independence and pluralism strengthen democratic processes and promote both government accountability and citizen participation. WACC’s new Strategic Plan 2012-2016 focuses especially on the role communication rights play in giving voice to poor, marginalised, excluded and dispossessed people and communities.

Read the full letter here.

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