I am currently again remote participating in Internet Governance. EuroDIG 2015 is being held in Sofia, Bulgaria. I was listening (via WebEx) and twitter-commenting on the plenary 1, Media in the digital age.
Of course I could not participate in all the discussion that was going on, so I stuck with one comment that was mentioned by a youth, if I am not mistaken by Anna Gumbau:
#EuroDIGNM I am very happy that youth perspective was heard and that the debate about “citizen” sources (NOT journos) was discussed :)))
— Anna Gumbau (@annagumbau) June 4, 2015
So, the question was about citizen journalism versus professional journalism. My main concern in citizen journalism is its relation to professional journalism. As far as I know, all published information is treated similarly when it comes to the laws and regulations, but when it comes to ethics, professional journalists have their own self-regulated, ethical code.
This includes, for example, the requirement for the journalist to inform all people who they question that they are journalists and not simply concerned citizens. Citizens as pseudo-journalists can, however, just ask questions without the limitations of the journalistic ethical code, since they are not professionals.
This is a question, I believe, that concerns communication privacy. When I communicate with a journalist who has identified as such, there is no expectation of privacy. When I am communicating with a private citizen, there is, or rather, was, a certain level of privacy that is expected of that communication, but since the coming of Web 2.0 and social media everyone has the means of posting their views and the communications they have received to the interwebs.
(The question of citizen journalism vs. professional journalism and professional ethics is also connected to Gamergate, but I won’t go there.)
Another concern I have on citizen journalism is the fear of public shaming. On this, please have a look at How One Stupid Tweet Blew Up Justine Sacco’s Life. This same problem, is of course, possible in traditional media, but Internet provides terribly apt methods for spreading mass hysteria, especially when it is related to social justice.
Well, these are a few notions I had in mind. For more discussion, have a look at the #EuroDIGNM feed in twitter.