The brave new world of blogging
I found this video of a television show on NDTV India that ran in the middle of last year that I thought might interest some of the bloggers who have been discussing of late whether blogs should be regulated and whether bloggers should be held accountable to the same standards that journalists are.
My views on this subject are well known. I believe that a blog is a personal space and although a lot of blogs are open to public view, my blog still represents “my views” on anything and everything. Whereas I do believe that anything I say as a blogger, or as a person, should be said responsibly and without any intent to cause harm to anyone else, I do not believe that a blog should be regulated.
The internet has brought about a kind of democracy and freedom of speech that never existed before. It provides anyone who has an access to a computer or mobile device and an internet connection, to have her/his opinion heard without going through the hassles of the publishing or broadcasting bureacracy.
Maybe that is why it poses a threat. Why should I, a mere human being, have the right to have a viewpoint? Why should I be able to express that viewpoint? That scares people especially those who have the urge to “control” everything, to have all power centralized in a few hands. Somehow they feel they should have the right to decide what is right or wrong, what should be published and what shouldn’t, what people should know and what they shouldn’t, what is kosher and what isn’t, what is morally acceptable and what isn’t, what is good for people and what isn’t.
What I want to know is why should this right be given to a small number of people who then have the power to control everyone’s destiny – or, who at least, have the power to control the flow of information? Why is it that they are the guardians of all the knowledge that is out there?
I was surprised to hear a bright, and otherwise intelligent and sensible young man, say at the last Bloggers Meetup in Karachi that those who are not educated should not be allowed to blog. Why? Does the lack of literacy mean that they have nothing to say? Does the lack of literacy (which probably has been denied them) mean that whatever it is that they have to say, will have no value? Does the lack of literacy mean that they should not have a voice or an opinion about anything? Many people I know who do not have an education, see things with a lot more clarity and lack of bias than those who have been put through a school system. They have indigenous knowledge that does not exist anywhere else. They have a viewpoint about the mess that we, the educated, have created. Why should they not have the right to communicate this viewpoint? What gives us the right to create all this noise – and why should they only have to listen?
As for regulation, it hasn’t done very much for the mainstream media. Let us not try and mess with the brave new world of blogging which will be guided by the community and will take its lead from what the community considers acceptable. After all, you have the right to click and leave a blog that you find offensive, never to return – and that is a right no-one can take away from you. Let us not advocate that freedom of speech, a God-given right and a right given to us through the Constitution – no matter which country we may belong to – be taken away from us. It is one of the most invaluable rights we have.
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