By Media Critic Kenya Correspondent
It prides itself in being the biggest media house in East Africa. And Nation Media Group will do anything to retain that position. As part of its strategy to ensure the credibility of its brands, the media giant has written rules that all journalists are expected to abide by. The rules are available in the Daily Nation website.
One interesting directive in the policy is a warning to journalists to mind the fact that “all that you do online will at some point become public.”
Here are some of the things prohibited in the policy.
1. Don’t publish a news story on your social media account
The scribes are ordered to only share stories that have been cleared for publication by the company’s editors. “Journalists are generally discouraged from publishing any news item in their personal accounts unless it has been approved and published on an NMG outlet,” the social media policy says. It however gives exceptions on when this can happen.
2. Don’t retweet every other person
The rules tell journalists to be careful what they retweet, as it may be construed to be endorsing a certain message. “Best practice is to contextualise the retweet to create some distance from any opinion it may contain,” says the policy.
3. Don’t go splashing photos of colleagues in the social media
The policy speaks for itself on this: “There may be an expectation that photographs taken at a private work event or while working with colleagues will not appear publicly on the Internet, both from those present and perhaps even those not at the event. Staff should think carefully before posting such material online and if they do, should remove it when requested to do so.”
4. Don’t use a phoney identity
The company orders its journalists to identify themselves as NMG employees on their social media platforms, stating: “If you use a personal account in any way for work, you have to identify yourself as an NMG employee in your profile.”
5. No praising or criticising a politician
The policy tells NMG scribes to keep their political biases to themselves, gagging them from what most people use the social media for.
“NMG journalists should not be seen to support any individual politician, political party or cause. Editorial staff should never indicate their political allegiance or inclinations, even if they are not identified as working for NMG. This means that postings should not contain partisan political views,” it says.
6. No being a jackass online
The social media policy has the word “disrepute” thrice, and in all instances it appears, it tells journalists never post messages that can bring shame to the company.
7. Keep politicians at arm’s length when they send friend requests
From the horse’s mouth: “’Friending’ and ‘liking’ political personalities and causes gives the impression that you are advocating them. Care should be taken in dealings with such social media connections to ensure it does not lead to activity that may be deemed as politically partisan. However, for purely journalistic purposes, journalists can friend a newsmaker but should limit the kind of personal information the newsmaker can access from their pages by using privacy settings, e.g. on Facebook.”