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Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Blog power

Where blogs stand in the vast canvas of mass communication is often not clear.

On the one hand, what is published in a blog is in the public domain, and to that extent the author of the blog is fully accountable for whatever is published. It is definitely not a “write whatever you want in your blog” sort of case. The writer of the blog is fully subject to laws of the land like libel, defamation, contempt of court etc.

On the other hand, it is a highly personal and completely unmonitored medium. Whatever written is not gone through by a second person, and once published goes straight into the public domain. The highly personalised, unedited nature of blog postings is seen as its strength and weakness.

The different forms media complement one another, and blogs have become one more source of information. The most dramatic demonstration of the power of blogs was during the US presidential campaign in 2004, when
bloggers landed the celebrated CBS news anchor, Dan Rather, in serious trouble.

Monday’s Detroit Free Press has carried an article on how bloggers ensured the defeat of the longest serving commissioner of Birmingham in an election. The article also talks of how a blogger was once sued for defaming his city’s fire force chief by accusing him of teaching during business hours!

3 comments:

  1. Blogs are extremely powerful when govt controls the print media..especially for people like me, who always have the dreaded ISA( internal security act, Malaysia) hanging around our neck.. the blog world allows us to express our views without the fear of persecution..

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  2. I feel when mainstream media confines itself to sensational reporting often ignoring important issue alternative media like blogs become stronger. Here too criticism of IIPM on blogs was noticed and the institution threatened to sue the blogger. I didnt follow it though. Meanwhile thanks for your comment on my blog. You said you were a journalist once. What are you doing now?

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  3. Immigrant
    Sure blog does give that licence, but to a certin extent. I don't think we can let ourselves go unrestrained with comments; for the simple reason that it is a public domain like TV or newpaper. By being anonymous we can get away to some extent. But there have been in the west, anonymous bloggers who have been tracked down and pulled up. I had written in my blog on that.

    Tanvi
    -- I am still a journalist working with a national newspaper in Bangalore.
    -- I don't think mainstream media ignores important issues. Every major newspaper, magazine and TV channel does indeed discuss important social, political and economic issues that affect we citizens.
    -- The IIPM issue was the first serious one here in India. One fallout was that people realised that blogs are, after all, in the public domain, and that one has to be careful in expressing comments, negative ones especially.

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