Code of Conduct for Bloggers: Should We Have it Now?

By Angsuman Chakraborty, Gaea News Network
Tuesday, February 24, 2009

gavel-and-law-booksHere is a case that can change the history of blogging for ever. How much do you think your freedom of speech can be extended in the blogosphere? Should there be a universal code of conduct? We believe it or not, but internet media is equally popular as any other notable printing media of any country. With the advent of social networking and more and more quality bloggers every day, the strength of pen is something which we need to consider. With great power, comes great responsibilities. But where to draw the line? Here is the real incident which I am gonna state and let you decide which side to vote.

Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justice P Sathasivam refused to protect a 19-year-old Kerala boy, Ajith D, who had started a community on Orkut against Shiv Sena, from protection against summons received from a Maharashtra court on a criminal case filed against him. In this community, there were several posts and discussions by anonymous persons who alleged that Shiv Sena was trying to divide the country on region and caste basis. And needless to say, the languages used were very ornamental.

The Bench said,

We cannot quash criminal proceedings. You are a computer student and you know how many people access internet portals. Hence, if someone files a criminal action on the basis of the content, then you will have to face the case. You have to go before the court and explain your conduct.

Somehow we first have to be sure if social media and social networking can be given a full freedom of speech and if not, till where?

If you read Orkut’s terms and conditions, there are two points I would like to highlight:

Illegal or unauthorized uses include:

  • Submitting false or misleading information.
  • submitting Materials that infringe, misappropriate or violate the intellectual property, publicity, privacy or other proprietary rights of any party;

So anyway, he can not escape avoiding the rules. But at least, Supreme Court could have been a bit more considerate and provide him with a secret identity to face the trial. We all know that Shiv Sena is not at the very least tolerant. So, what about his life after the hearing.

What do you think about the whole issue? Write to us. Do you think that there should be a universally acclaimed Code of conduct? Better than this?

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