The Double Edged Sword of Bloggers

The idea of a completely autonomous, free, unchecked blogger corps is an interesting double edged sword. On the one hand it is the fundamental right of human beings to not only  be able to access the internet as a public good, but to be able to post, search for, and partake in whatever they desire on the web. It is a right for the individual (and after all what is the blogger if not a private citizen free of regulations and censorship that news publications might impose on journalists?) to speak their mind and to draw from their own personal experiences to perhaps connect with or inform other individuals on the internet. That being said, a blogger corps does not carry with it the credibility of the journalist and the news publication. Just as it is unchecked in regards to censorship, it is unchecked factually. The blogger is free to publish whatever they desire. Now often times the blogger is motivated to publish content because of very real circumstances, very real injustice, very real and raw emotion. But the fact remains the same, the blogger’s content is unchecked for everything, including the truth. That being said, I think it is extremely necessary to protect the existence and the rights of blogger and the individual existence of opinion on the net just as much as it is important to protect the right of the fourth estate. The two do to have to exist in unison. The two, although both dealing in the developments of society, actually cover vastly different areas of the human condition. The news outlet can remain as the factual news source while the blogosphere becomes the source for the actual emotion the experience of the oppressed. Both remain very real, both can work together in unison to appeal to both the logos and pathos of the individual in order to inform the public, but where they divide and become different is where the blogger must be protected. The publication of personal biases may be a double edged sword but it is nonetheless a basic human right.

Free Speech

Through the web groups can expand their organizations and get in touch with the outside world. Activists have a much greater audience with sites such as “Digiactive” and Global Voices”. I went onto the sites that were mentioned in “Arab Bloggers Meet to Discuss Free speech, Reject ‘Journalist Label” and noticed that there were stories important things that I had no idea about. For example, I was able to read a story on Marcell Shehwaro, a young girl who dispatches on Syria and describes her like in Aleppo, the heart of Syria’s conflict. I was able to learn that the conditions of the people in Aleppo are much worse than I had imagined. Stories like these impact people more than the news, it has a way of connecting the reader to the person in the situation. I found it amazing that bloggers are coming together to share a common written language, as it develops solidarity. There is a difference between activists and bloggers that I had not realized, bloggers do not get the same type of security as activists. “Bloggers on the other hand don’t want to be victims or prisoners any longer than they have to be and emphasize that it shouldn’t matter what they say, only that they be allowed to say it” (Dheere 2008). Although many bloggers and journalists have things in common, bloggers do not want to be called journalists. Bloggers feel like they take a more active role in the news than reporting it. I agree, journalists seem to report news, whereas bloggers report deeper emotions and acts. Many times this blogger state of mind gets people in deep trouble, for example in Morocco Mohammad Erraji was arrested and sentenced to two years in jail for “criticizing the king’s policy of free gifts to citizens” (Dheere 2008). With the lack of security and support many bloggers, in my opinion, do not boundaries or as high of boundaries regarding the information they report. This is great as the world needs to know what is happening, but it is negative because it leads to further conflict. “The more they write, challenge, and get around the official clampdown on using blogs and other social media tools, the more sites like DigiActive can document and distribute their acts of speaking truth to power” (Dheere 2008).