With seemingly new innovations in the digital world coming out daily, the law remains technology neutral, Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press executive director Lucy Dalglish said to students during a meeting Thursday.
The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press is a “one-stop shop” for full legal defense and advocacy issues for professional journalists. However, the RCFP’s role in representing journalists has changed as the technology has tweaked the definition of the traditional role.
More often than not, Dalglish said, blogging is not journalism. Real shoe leather reporting done by bloggers is definitely considered journalism, but commentary on reporting done by news outlets is outside the realm of the industry, Dalglish said. Bloggers often have problems with posting non-original content to their site.
“Bloggers don’t have a right to lift and copy from one site to another,” Dalglish said. Additionally, as bloggers and online publishers have the same rights to put out content, she said, they have the same responsibility to print the truth. Libel is a serious issue online journalists must understand, Dalglish said.
To that end, the RCFP offers protection to people they consider journalists. Those who do not meet the criteria the RCFP considers journalists can look for representation from other organizations such as the Online Bloggers Association, Dalglish said. Either way, writers need to know their rights.
“You need to know what the law is, and you need to get to know us,” Dalglish said. Just as print journalists are held to high standards of ethics, so too should online journalists, Dalglish said.
For more information, check out the RCFP on Twitter and Facebook.
-Derek Casanovas and Jasmine Linabary
Want to hear more from Dalglish? Check out the video below: