One of the odd facts of the internet age is that blogging can make celebrities of the unlikeliest of people. Perez Hilton is one such example, a blogger who has inspired possibly equal parts admiration and revulsion. Members of the public are only too eager to get the latest dish on Hollywood celebrities from Hilton. On the other hand, many have been quick to call attention to what they call his bullying tactics.
Based on his blogging tactics and that of others, the need to rethink how the Internet has impacted and changed access to information. Lawmakers are now grappling with drafting new laws without encroaching on first amendment rights. While recriminations fly back and forth, some are questioning whether bloggers take their responsibility seriously. In fact, it may well be asked whether they have any real responsibility at all.
The Power of Bloggers
Any criticism of bloggers should be tempered with the reminder that they are in fact not journalists. Therefore, they do not have to adhere to the ethical standards of the profession. That said, many bloggers wield a considerable amount of influence. Based on this, they should be expected to:
Be truthful: Readers deserve factual information, even if the blogger leans one way or the other on a particular issue. Many blogs are based on opinions of topical news items like politics.
Avoid slander: No attempt should be made to damage anyone’s reputation, no matter how the blogger feels about the individual. Many readers are turned off by this, and it should be noted that the first amendment offers no protection in this regard.
Never plagiarize: Copyright issues are always important. Bloggers should be mindful of the legal implications of copying someone else’s writings.
Bloggers have definitely found their place in today’s information age. Some of them have managed to surpass top newspapers in terms of popularity. They should always remember, that they, like everyone else will be judged by what they say. Moreover, there will always be a record of their words should to be found somewhere is cyberspace.