‘Kitemark’ bloggers to ensure standards, says Bristol media expert

February 14, 2012

From Bristol 24-7 www.bristol247.com

A Bristol media expert has called for the introduction of a ‘kitemark’ for bloggers who can demonstrate they are striving to report accurately and ethically.

Mike Jempson, co-founder of the MediaWise which aims to give a voice to people harmed by unethical journalism, believes in the light of the phone hacking scandal that a new form of quality control is needed to deal with the growth in social media and the ‘blogosphere’.

The senior lecturer in journalism at the University of the West of England added that he hopes the Leveson Inquiry into press standards will lead to a “more robust” regulatory system that would promote ethical standards.

But Mr Jempson says the hacking scandal is merely the latest underhand tactic used to invade privacy in order to sell newspapers.

Writing in a new book, The Phone Hacking Scandal: Journalism on Trial, Mr Jempson and Wayne Powell from MediaWise, claim journalism standards have been regularly ignored for decades

They cite examples from the Moors Murder trial in the 1960s to the Fred and Rose West trial in the 1990s, to publication of the royal ‘Squidgygate’ tapes.

“The Leveson Inquiry will hopefully result in better regulation and has certainly exposed the darker side associated with phone hacking,” said Mr Jempson.

“But much of what has been said at the inquiry is old news. We hope a more robust regulatory system will emerge promoting ethical reporting standards. We all benefit from free and independent investigative reporting, but we all lose when the media abuse their power or refuse to admit to mistakes.

“The growth in social media and the ‘blogosphere’ also poses new and complex problems as ‘citizen journalists’ do not necessarily appreciate the legal constraints and consequences of inaccurate reporting, lack of verification and protection of sources.

“MediaWise advocates the use of a ‘kitemark’ for bloggers to indicate that they are striving to report accurately and ethically and will correct errors.”

The Phone Hacking Scandal: Journalism on Trial, edited by Richard Keeble and John Mair (Arima, £19.95) was published earlier this month. Other contributors include Alan Rusbridger, editor of the Guardian, Brian Cathcart, professor of journalism at Kingston University and founder of the Hacked Off campaign, and Richard Peppiatt, who resigned from the Daily Star over its alleged Islamophobia.



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