CNN-IBN, an English language Indian television news channel has issued an advisory related to social media to its reporters. The news was shared by Medianama and according to the new set of guidelines, CNN-IBN wants to limit the usage of content from Twitter and Facebook on its news shows.
The highlights of the advisory are as follows:
1. Avoiding shooting of personal pages or timelines of individuals while denoting footage from social networking sites. Footage should be of the logos, home pages, etc. and should avoid actual comments or Twitter handles.
2. If references are to be shown then content from CNN-IBN’s social networking sites should be considered.
3. Finally some specific guidelines for using Twitter responses on social media platforms. Random tweets should not be picked up for any story with obvious exceptions of celebrities and known personalities. The guidelines also state that efforts should be made to find out the authenticity of Twitter accounts even if it is of a celebrity or politician.
What does the new set of social media guidelines mean?
Newsrooms no more break exclusive news as Twitter is faster at it today. This was clearly evident during the recently concluded London Olympics 2012. However, it has also been debated that whatever is revealed on Twitter is not always correct. So checking the authenticity of news on Twitter is a step that most of the news channel will follow sooner or later.
However, I am not at all surprised by the timing of the release of these new guidelines – At a time when the Indian government has released it’s set of social media guidelines and is being criticized on its manner of monitoring hate speech vs. free speech. In hindsight, it is clear that the guidelines only want to show tweets from known personalities and from its own timeline. In other words, CNN-IBN wants to control social media content that appears at its end.
As I have said earlier that social media is a double-edged sword and the onus lies in our hands. It wouldn’t be a surprise if some more channels join the same bandwagon. However, the intent of controlling content at a time when traditional media is losing it’s shine compared to social media, would be interesting to watch.
Social media guidelines are required for all entities starting from business to governments but that doesn’t mean that you control the freedom of speech. There are exciting times ahead.
What do you make of the new set of advisory guidelines released by CNN-IBN?
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