dean-150Dean Wright is Global Editor, Ethics, Innovation and News Standards. Any opinions are his own.

The recent election in Iran was one of the more dramatic stories this year, with powerful images of protests and street-fighting dominating television and online coverage.

Because traditional news organizations were essentially shut down by the authorities, it fell to citizen journalists -- many of whom were among the protesters -- to provide the images that the world would see, using such social media as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

This has raised a number of ethics, standards and legal questions for mainstream journalists. My colleague John Clarke, Reuters Global Television Editor, found himself in the middle of the issue as images became available and clients demanded coverage of the election's aftermath. John discusses the issues raised, the lessons learned and the opportunities for the future below. As always, his opinions are his own.


Protests following the controversial Iranian election have put citizen journalism even more firmly in the spotlight. With traditional news gathering organizations effectively shut down by authorities, text, video and stills being produced and posted on social websites by the protesters themselves became the main way that much information was getting out of the country. This dramatic coverage -- regardless of (and perhaps even enhanced by) its shaky nature -- was accessed by Reuters (and other news organizations) and distributed to clients and viewers around the world.