Comment: The Media & List Etiquette

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Salamon Alapitvany (salamon@ns.tiszanet.hu)
Thu, 21 May 1998 17:49:44 -0700


Dear List,

I consider Jyothi comments about list etiquette to be mostly reasonable and
sound advice, however I supposed I am a little old-fashioned in that I do
not think that "ideally" list members should check with authors before
deliberate off-list posting I think that good manners require it on every
occasion.

Several list people have written in to ask to share reports with colleagues
or student groups and in every instance we have thanked them and encouraged
them to use the material. We have received a request for listed material
from an off-list journalist and we have declined to supply the material to
them.

The practice of good and professional manners is impossible to enforce but
it does not stop me from having the expectation of being treated with the
same respect I accord others on the list. I also accept that mistakes
happen and that a sincere apology should be accepted and people should move
on and not harbour needless grudges. I fully realise that one day I might
make a mistake and as such I would hope that in such a case my sincere
apology would be readily accepted.

I believe that second-hand leakage will always occur, so we only ask that
we be granted the courtesy of consultation when an intentional off-list
re-posting or use is being considered. You don't have to consult us, but
don't expect us to want to talk to you again if you don't.

I am concerned that journalists and other media folk can subscribe to the
list, I feel it is inappropriate as their presence could make the forum
feel unsafe for some participants or inhibit certain debate. Quite simply I
believe the media have an agenda that does not primarily serve the stated
purposes of the list and as such I feel that they should not have access to
the list.

The needs of the media can be met by press releases, or private
correspondence. They should be a medium that list-participants can choose
to engage with, but they should not accorded the right to sit over our
professional exchanges, particularly as our exchanges can require a common
regard for a certain professional confidentiality that is not part of the
media culture.

The media is not part of the movement to protect women from slavery like
practices, they are a possible resource that can sometimes be used by
agencies to promote awareness. They are powerful and exploitative and
should be handled with care.

However list policy on this issue was clearly stated before we joined the
list and so we accept the status-quo and as such will just carefully
monitor how the media use the list. However any change of policy
restricting media access would be welcomed by us.

I will take the earliest opportunity to write regarding helping migrants
access the public access media to present themselves.

Best regards to all

John Davies


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