Thursday, December 22, 2011

Islamic finance media

Back in January, when I took the offer to cover the Americas for The Islamic Globe, I agreed not to write for other publications, which at that point, was primarily the magazine Business Islamica, where I wrote the "Expert Opinion" column for a couple of years.  I told them of my intentions, and thanked them for the opportunity. 

However, recently someone sent me an "Expert Opinion" column from the magazine that was posted on their website that had me listed as the author.  I didn't remember writing that particular article for Business Islamica, so I did a search for some of the article's text only to realize that it was content I published on my blog in June, well after I stopped writing for Business Islamica. 

I contacted the magazine, and they promptly removed the article from their website and I moved on.  However, when speaking with other bloggers in the Islamic finance industry, I now realize that they do this with other people's work.  They will find content on a blog and reproduce it in their magazine as if it were written for inclusion in their magazine.  This does not seem right to me in the context of Islamic finance, which is focused on operating ethically.  It also troubles me as a blogger. 

I write things posts for my blog without editing them as carefully as I would if I were writing a formal article, so if my blog posts are appearing without my knowledge in a magazine, I am both being associated with that magazine without my knowledge or consent, but if I make a mistake or write unclearly do not make my point clearly enough, my reputation could be harmed because readers will assume the article was written for a magazine, not for a blog (where I could return to clarify or correct mistakes).  When I do make mistakes on my blog and return to clarify or correct them, I like to add as a note, and not change the original text.

I hope that other magazines in the Islamic finance industry are not also engaging in this misappropriations of people's writings, whether they originally appear on a blog or in another publication.  It is unethical and reflects poorly on the magazines doing it, while potentially also being damaging to the writers whose writings are being taken.  While most writers do want to get additional eyes on their work, it has to be on their own terms, and with their consent, to ensure we have control over the content we produce. 

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