The Media Association of Solomon Islands (MASI) now has a social media policy to ensure the integrity of its members when using social media.
The policy launched at the Heritage Park Hotel in Honiara last Saturday was put together by an Australian volunteer working with the Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation Nick Sas.
The social media policy is part of the MASI Corporate Plan which aims to develop the local media industry into a professional high-performing media industry in the Pacific.
MASI Vice-President Douglas Marau described the policy as yet another milestone for MASI in the implementation of its Corporate Plan.
He said social media has grown tremendously in the last few years since its introduction in 2004.
But he said just like anything, social media has its positive and negative impacts on users.
Mr Marau said the positives impacts are that, “it helps to connect and bring us closer to the outside world. It is also a medium which helps promote our businesses, provides up-to-date information, awareness, education and social networking.”
He said some of the negative impacts include ‘cyber-bullying, hacking, online frauds, relationship problems.’
The MASI vice-president said the rise of social media has also impacted on the way the mainstream media, which is regarded as the fourth estate, operates and there is growing concern that it will eventually displace the mainstream media which operates by certain code of ethics.
He said additionally social media has given rise to citizen journalism as platforms like Facebook, Twitter empower citizens to also play and active role as journalists posting news, photographs and video but with no ethic guidelines.
Mr Marau said as a result of the challenges brought about by the growing popularity of social media, MASI has seen it fit to put in place the social media policy and this policy covers all new media including Facebook, Linkedin, websites, online forums and blogs and includes comments, photos and videos.
He said MASI hopes that all its member journalists, writers, bloggers and broadcasters on the aforementioned sites abide by its social media policy to ensure integrity in their work and the integrity of their organisations.
The MASI vice-president acknowledged the Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs for its support to MASI through the United Nations Development Programme.
MASI’s updated Constitution, revised Media Code of Ethics, establishment of a secretariat, signing of a MoU with the Solomon Islands National University to improve the standard of the media and journalism course it provides are also part of its Corporate Plan.
MASI is also working towards putting in place a Media Practitioners’ legislation to regulate the media industry as part of the Corporate Plan.
By Lynnisha Runa