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CNN-IBN’s New Social Media Guidelines: Limits Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn Content In TV Shows

In an advisory issued to its reporters, TV18 owned news channel CNN-IBN has limited the showcasing of Twitter and Facebook content in on its TV news shows. The channel has said that in all programming, its reporters must avoid shooting personal pages or timelines of individuals and showcase only the homepages of these sites or their logos, without displaying timelines. In addition, it has put into place limitations for integrating twitter comments with news bulletins, especially when there is a big story:

– reporters can’t pick up random messages from facebook or twitter, and only tweets received as feedback by ibnlive or program specific twitter handles, or comments from the business’ pages can be run.
– Footage/comments to visually depict response to a specific news event as mentioned above cannot be archived or used as file footage.
– Celebrity comments, official twitter comments and known personalities are allowed, depending on the news, but effort needs to be made to establish that accounts are genuine: check if the account has a verified sign.

This advisory is interesting, particularly in light of the current Internet blocks being instituted by the government of India. Has the mainstream media has begun censoring itself?


A copy of the advisory below.

Important Advisory:

Following is a set of guidelines on using social media content on CNN IBN. These apply to all news bulletins, special shows, programming, debate shows etc. This needs to be followed in all circumstances.

01. While using footage to denote social networking (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Orkut, or any other similar platforms), we will avoid shooting personal pages or timelines of individuals as reference or file footage. This will apply to footage run in windows over live chats, during studio discussions, in packages and Anc/VOs etc.

02. File footage for such needs must comprise home pages of these sites, their logos, or host platforms’ own service messages etc, without displaying actual comments or twitter handles. A Senior Producer has been asked to personally get such generic usage file footage shot for future purposes.

03. If there is a compelling need to show reference/file shots of Twitter responses or social networking sites, use Twitter handles/timelines or Facebook accounts/pages of our own platform, ibnlive.

04. The newsroom normally operates under the pressure of putting out Twitter responses on social media platforms on big stories. There are three important conditions for such usage from now on.

a. It is now mandatory to use ONLY those feedback tweets that have been sent to ibnlive or our programme specific twitter handles or our own Facebook programme/ibnlive pages. No feedback can be picked up randomly from Twitter or Facebook. Only tweets from identifiable celebrities/known personalities/official Twitter comments will be treated as an exception, but specific to a news need.

b. All footage/comments that are being used to visually depict response to a specific event as mentioned above, CANNOT be archived or its clips used as file footage for subsequent use later on. There is always a reference to context for a specific response and such specifics CANNOT be used generically over a period of time.

c. Tweets being sent by film and TV stars, sports personalities, important office bearers, officials, PROs, politicians, other celebrities etc can be used if news requirements so demand. But every effort must be taken to establish the account is genuine, either if its carrying a Verified ( ) sign or if it has been cross checked as a genuine handle by a beat reporter. Reportage on Facebook accounts of celebs MUST always be done with care – including referring it to a reporter for verification of profile as genuine, as there will always be multiples with the same name.

We are not allowed to rush into shooting Facebook pages of accused/victims and put them up on air whenever a seemingly big story breaks.

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