Cons and Negatives of Citizen Journalism

Every story has two sides- the first one which is a beacon of hope, and the other one which reveals our depravity.

While it may be true that citizen journalism has benefits which dramatically affect the society as a whole, it can also serve as a catalyst of maladies and journalistic atrocities. I do not claim that citizen journalism is the evil here, but its inherent nature being carried out by public citizens has allowed unwanted scenarios to be more likely to happen. Although these draw backs can be alleviated through training and education, citizen journalists, who are mostly untrained, are more inclined to committing mistakes compared to trained professionals who have undergone rigorous training.

Lack of knowledge about press law

Most citizen journalists are not trained. They did not undergo press law and ethics class which emphasizes what a journalist must say and not say. They can potentially accuse a suspect of a crime (which is unethical, considering the fact that he’s still a suspect). Most of them are not familiar with the libel law. Lack of knowledge thereof can make them demoralize an innocent public figure. Also, lack of knowledge about copyright laws can easily make an untrained citizen journalist to commit intellectual thievery.

Can be biased

Professional journalists were trained to narrate both sides of a story, which encourages unbiased and fair reportage. Objective reporting has always been journalism’s you-must-never-ever-break-lest-you-die rule. Breaking this rule essentially putting an end to the purpose of journalism. However, untrained citizen journalists have the tendency to overlook one side or the other. One-sided reporting can twist facts, because it fails to see the bigger picture. If citizen journalists aren’t careful, errors and gossips will be accepted as truth which can harm the people.

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