EU Parliament: Bloggers revisited
What does the future hold for weblogs. MEPs are calling for an open discussion on the issue, having shifted away from an initial proposal to clarify the legal status of blogs. The woman who drafted the report on the media, journalist-turned-MEP Marianne Mikko, is urging the Parliament, Commission and bloggers to communicate.
Marianne Mikko MEP: prefers self regulation of blogs
"We need to communicate. So let's talk: bloggers, the Parliament and the Commission; is a blog a "Ding für sich" (a category in itself)? I think that cyberspace is not that "Ding für sich" but very much part of our human life. Let's find the solutions. I expect a lot from these discussions" Ms Mikko told us. "I believe that self-regulation is the best. But sometimes it might be a good idea to co-regulate."
On 25 September, MEPs adopted a non-legislative resolution on media pluralism in the EU, which calls for "an open discussion on all issues relating to the status of weblogs". The original report stirred lively reactions from bloggers across Europe, some fearing "censorship" and limits on freedom of speech. The resolution also urges the safeguarding of media pluralism and competition by ensuring editorial independence and disclosing ownership of all media outlets.
Freedom to blog
There's no doubt that quality blogs mean freedom of expression, creativity, sincerity, topicality, diversity and flexibility, as well as making traditional media rethink its role. Nevertheless, can any blogger be equated to a journalist? How should the issues of copyright, impartiality and ethics be solved? What about libel, incitement of hatred and hidden publicity?
The Culture committee report on which we reported in June triggered heated discussions within the EP and throughout the blogosphere. Bloggers reacted by urging the self-regulation of blogs be preserved, as freedom to post, read and comment is the best way to filter truthful and interesting blogs.
The draft report included ideas on clarifying the legal status of blogs, such as disclosure of interests or voluntary labelling of weblogs, but the final resolution simply urges the start of an open discussion on the subject. Ms Mikko said "I'm glad that a 2008 report about media includes the weblogs; I think they are a part of media in the 21st century. The previous reactions of the bloggers proved that this subject is sensitive; and sensitivity means that something important was touched. We couldn't do more, I would like to be a little bit more radical; however, I am happy that the weblogs are included."
Source: EU Parliament
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