Chinedum Uwaegbulam | The Guardian Newspaper | 23-10-2017 Written by Chinedum Uwaegbulam
Flustered by the increasing abuse of its social media platforms, estate surveyors have released guidelines for members. A breach of any of the provisions by users may lead to a sanction under the Code of Professional Ethics and Practice arm of the body.
The guidelines issued by the council of the Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV), encourages its members to use the social media platforms while upholding a sound professional and ethical conduct in consonance with the the intendment of the laws and the statutes governing the profession.
But warned that the institution reserves the right to require the closure of any official social media applications or removal of content published by members which may adversely affect the institution's reputation or put the body at risk of legal action.
n the document signed by the Acting National Secretary, Mallam Bature Ali Muhammad, the council noted that there has been some grievances as to its usage and engagement such as; defamation, integrity risk, misinformation, dishonesty and distortion, public bashing and backlash, breach of confidentiality, cyber bulling and misuse of institution operation.
Social media is a platform that gives the member a profile and a voice which includes not only Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Myspace, WhatsApp, Google Plus, Youtube, Webcasts and Blogs. Also any website or public online sites or application, social network, any article, or posting by another, any participation in any forum or community or any publicly accessible written piece will be classified as a social media.
"It then becomes pivotal that members access and use these technologies and facilities in an discharge of our duties to our stakeholders, the public, our legal responsibilities and our effective, efficient and flexible manner while also ensuring that we balance this with the reputation in a bid’ to keep our nobility, integrity, fidelity, dignity, honour and quality of service."
The council said the guidance is not a way to silence its members. "Health debate, sound argument, intellectual engagement and ideological stands without moral turpitude and misdemeanor is encouraged as long as all is done with integrity, positivity and highest level of professionalism."
According to the circular, " it is acceptable to talk about our work and have a dialogue with the community, but it is not permissible to publish confidential information. This includes announcing another member’s name, personal details and information; business performance such as discussing future business plans, unannounced strategies, financial analysis and revealing any information which is not publicly available."
The Guardian that some members have in recent past embarrass clients, self, firms, institution or others by disclosing confidential information publicly, misrepresent or exaggerate qualifications in an attempt to misinform the public or disparage the institution, its officers and members (or anyone); conduct, speak or write improperly implying that which could damage or put the institution, its members and/or its reputation at risk and destroyed social media evidence.
The council advised members to act responsibly when posting online, particularly in activity conducted using an institution e-mail address or which can be traced back to the institution's domain.
"Your right to privacy and freedom of speech is usually exercised on your personal social networks with your personal e-mail addressetc. However, what you publish on such personal online sites must not be attributed to the institution and must not appear to be endorsed by or originated from the NIESV."
"Be mindful of the fact that any content that you publish will be in the public domain and in some cases will remain public for a long time. You are personally responsible for any content that you publish. Be aware that your content may provoke a response and be open to the opinions of others."
Provide informative content and interesting perspectives.
"The institution is best represented by its people. When you decide to contribute to an online media resource you are deciding to be an ambassador for the Institution and even the wider professional community. When you are producing content always consider how your information will improve knowledge, build on ideas and help to solve problems."