Unethical Blogging or Freedom of Speech?


“Ethical blogging” has been one of the hottest topics in the Philippine blogosphere in the past few days. Correct me if I’m wrong, but differentiating between ethical and unethical blogging can be a difficult task as each person has their own set of beliefs, norms, principles, values, etc even cultures and religion. What may seem ethical to one person may not hold true for the other, right?

However, there are some issues or topics that will always be considered unethical by the majority of the population. Take for example this particular blogger from California named Jack McClellan. What makes him “special” or “different” from most bloggers? What is he blogging about?

Jack McClellan is a self-described pedophile. He openly blogs about his trips and “exploits” in popular family destinations like county fairs, festivals and amusement parks to meet or get near LGs (little girls). McClellan admits that he gets a “high” whenever he’s around these little girls aged between 3 to 11 years old. However, he maintains that he hasn’t committed any crime nor has been convicted of one.

Concerned parents consider him as a threat and have been doing everything they can to stop him. So far, the only thing that worked is a TRO or temporary restraining order issued by a Los Angeles judge ordering McClellan to stay atleast 10 yards away from any minor child. This TRO also prohibits him from taking photographs or using images of kids without parental consent. He is also prohibited to loiter in places where little kids usually go to like schools, parks and playgrounds.

Police officials consider him as a pedophile just from the things that he’s posted on his blog. But even though McClellan is a pedophile, he can’t be arrested or put to jail just because of his exhibitionistic blogging style where he writes about his thoughts on little girls. The law considers it as “freedom of speech” therefore, he is protected by the First Amendment.

Doesn’t seem right, don’t you think? The law can be foolish sometimes but I hope that the authorities would keep their watch on him as he is considered a threat.

As a parent, I can understand and relate to the concerns of other parents. I know that I would do everything I can to ensure my child’s safety. How about you, what are your thoughts on this issue? What is ethical blogging for you? Should this be considered as freedom of speech?

Via Newsweek and NY Times

Owner and editor of JaypeeOnline. Self-proclaimed geek. New media writer and consultant. WordPress advocate. Loves blogging, gadgets, video games and sports. You can follow him on Google+, Facebook or Twitter.

12 Comments

  1. Gullyside

    August 23, 2007 at 5:17 PM

    Ugh…. thats kinda gross, however, if its not stated in the the terms of agreement of the host site or whatever then i’m pretty sure he or she can say whatever they want..
    yikes?

  2. AnitoKid

    August 19, 2007 at 11:03 AM

    With regards to the freedom of speech thing, I don’t believe that one has the right to that freedom if the person would write and promote views that would trample on the rights of others, especially children.

    That’s my honest take on it. And i kid you not!
    By the way, I’ve submitted an entry to a local contest – 2007 Wika Project. It focuses on Filipino as our national language. If you have time, please vote for my article (if you like the piece, of course).

    The URL is at http://anitokid.blogspot.com/2.....eople.html

    The poll will start on August 20 12:00am up to August 25 11:59:59pm (Philippine time).

    Much thanks!
    AnitoKid

  3. Neil

    August 19, 2007 at 8:12 AM

    I already said this though, that whatever we write on our blog is our own responsibility, and that we should take holding this reponsibility appropriately seriously. Why are we given such responsibility? it’s because of the big, vast, wide (uhh) community we are communicating with, and speaking (that is, converting neural information into a more understandable output from your body outwards, for those who hardly comprehend) is like keeping a word for them for the thought we are giving on our blogs. Why blog? We’re expressing our thoughts, that’s all.

    Yes, freedom of speech grants us such liberty in expressing ourselves whatever, wherever, whenever we want. But, we are into hold that such liberty should not be opportuned for senselessness. This press/speech freedom nonetheless has limitations, and those limitations significantly focus on one aspect–the welfare of other parties involved. Why communicate if other party is harmed, if not has hinted a clear & present danger?

    Well, sabi nga ng ethics prof ko, ang ethics, napakadaling intindihin. Bago gumawa, gamitin lang ang utak at ang puso.

    And this goes to irresponsible bloggers who don’t have a proper mind to feel in their hearts what they are writing.

    Okay, hypothalamus, geeks :-).

  4. an2net

    August 18, 2007 at 11:49 AM

    Ugh. Ok that is freaky.

    Ok, Jaypee, now am scarred for life. Just kidding. Nice post.

  5. JP Habaradas

    August 17, 2007 at 5:00 AM

    @dimaks – Can you give the url of that video? Thanks!

    Well said my friend! I agree, we are responsible for anything and everything we say or publish online. That’s why we should be careful and should think twice before we say or publish something.

  6. dimaks

    August 17, 2007 at 4:42 AM

    watched one of the youtube videos on Jack McClellan – he was pounded hard, down to the tv anchor.

    on ethical blogging, i think responsibility should come side by side with every words you publish online, learn to accept mistakes and ask forgiveness if needed be.

  7. JP Habaradas

    August 17, 2007 at 2:00 AM

    @jhay – Thanks for the info! I wasn’t able to do any type of blogging the past couple of days and I have a lot of catching up to do. Right now, I’m thinking of what to write about that Malu. Hehe :D

  8. jhay

    August 17, 2007 at 1:42 AM

    Good samples here. But I think you just focused on “ethical blogging” or the ethics of blogging. More specifically, the morals of blogging.

    Which again as JM and yourself has pointed out, relative.

    Have you read Mam Connie’s blog? She had a mommy-fight with Noemi. Everyone knows who won, just read the comments thread.

    As for the misrepresentation issue, read Gibs’s blog. Well by the samples I gave you’ll which side I’m on. :wink:

    The way I see it, it’s the old blogging order being challenged by the new. Just like how the Olympians rose up against the Titans, old relics of the past.

    I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again, “it’s the old refusing to give way to the new.”

  9. JP Habaradas

    August 16, 2007 at 10:32 PM

    @JM – Thanks for clearing that up. I wasn’t sure about the difference of those two that’s why I made the title into a question.

    Thanks for dropping by! :)

  10. JM

    August 16, 2007 at 7:34 PM

    Ethical blogging is very much different from blogging LEGALLY. The Law is absolute and applies to everybody. Ethics, on the other hand, is a subjective rule which practically anybody can choose to pick up or drop off. You’re right when you said we have different sets of beliefs, that’s why “Ethics” in blogging shouldn’t be shoved up people’s noses. :wink:

  11. JP Habaradas

    August 16, 2007 at 11:30 AM

    @Manila Freelancer – It was real. It might have caused bad publicity for that particular blog but it’s still publicity. The misrepresentation issue is not related to ethical blogging and is another issue by itself. :D

  12. Manila Freelancer

    August 16, 2007 at 11:05 AM

    Was that really a Buzz or just a Show? I just feel i dont want to make further comments about that missrepresentation thingy… but here i am again… (LOL)

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