Reports over the weekend have claimed that UK journalist and newspaper Twitter feeds are possibly going to become regulated. In essence they’ll be brought under the regulation of the Press Complaints Commission later in the year. No doubt fingers will strike keypads aggressively in weeks to come, the fearless bunch that the UK press are.
This is the first time that social media messages will be regulated by an official press body in the UK.
According to the commission, which believes that tweets can in effect be part of a “newspaper’s editorial product”, writings that its code of practice would otherwise cover if the same text appeared in normal print or in regular broadsheet newspapers’ websites now need to be followed a little more closely.
PaidContent.org, a site affiliated with The UK’s Guardian newspaper, reports the following:
A change in the code would circumvent a loophole that, in theory, means that there is no means of redress via the PCC if somebody wanted to complain about an alleged inaccuracy in a statement that was tweeted.
Last year the PCC found that it was unable to rule in a complaint made against tweets published by the Brighton Argus.
Trying to save some face the commission has explained that its plan is to differentiate between journalists’ public and private tweets, as well as those for newspapers and other similar journalistic practices.
While it may be easy to regulate the more obvious ones, there are bound to be issues when a brand say, is a person and reports on the news for example.
The solution for the commission would be for all journalists to have private and work twitter accounts in order to differentiate the public from the private.
In much the same way as press councils the world over develop a press code, or code of ethics whereby there is accountability and other jargon reporters occasionally like to ignore, the commission sees it as the duty of industry to introduce the codes of conduct themselves.
The commission recently decided in favour of The Daily Mail and Independent in what was the regulator’s first ruling on the republication of information posted on Twitter. It ruled that information obtained from the tweets on the social networking service becomes public property and thereby it’s rendered re-publishable.
Watch this space.
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