The place of social media in journalism has been the subject of discussion for years, and rightly so. While for many years, these new platforms were considered a lucrative source of revenues by media owners, social media yield almost little to no economic benefits. Yet, they are necessary for any media presence online and elsewhere.
To date, no media nor journalist can objectively do without them to a point where Facebook has become the first source of information for internet users (!) This represents a double danger for citizens for who the right to information is a fundamental right but, at the same time, quality information can be confronted with rumors without any hierarchy.
Finally, Facebook has turned itself in a few years into an editor by choosing what information to publish. The case in point is the 1972 photo displaying a naked and napalm-burned young Vietnamese girl running towards the camera of Associated Press photographer Nick Ut Cong Huynh. Facebook censored this photo before changing its mind following protests by citizens and people from the profession, obviously.
It is always worth recalling the fundamental principles that govern our profession: Search for truth and independence. They are listed among other principles in the IFJ code of conduct for journalists. Let’s read them again to offer each country the 4th estate each democracy deserves. Happy 2017 to you all.
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