Friday, 20 February 2009

What is Freedom of Speech?

I'm not surprised that the Jerusalem Post published Will's article. The same way I'm not surprised that The Guardian allowed Germaine Greer to publish her self-serving column about her book.

The whole point of blogs and the way the Internet has evolved, is frankly, to allow anyone who feels like it to say whatever they want to say. And in turn, allow anyone else to comment, object, rant, agree, concurr, debate, discuss, etc etc. And so, no, I don't think anyone has the right to govern blogs of self-expression in an open forum like the Internet.

Having said that, an official media outlet's online presence does need to have governannce, and that is defined by its own editorial policies and organisational mission. Albeit online, that still also means governed by the journalism laws of the country where it is based. Now here's where it gets a little complicated, I think. A journalist or editor who has his own personal blog, not on the newspaper's site, how much of their own views can they express and not be seen to contradict their employer's policies?

Bear with me I'm about to contradict myself. Does what I said mean that any citizen's blog needs to be governed by the laws of the country they live in? And so get arrested and jailed for saying the wrong thing about, let's say, the ruling party? No, I don't believe that should be the case. But it is, isn't it? The Internet has scared the authorities who've managed to gag their people for decades. So it's like 'oh crap how do we stop this thing?!'. Can they?

1 comment:

  1. Yup. Arab governments are sooo snookered with web2 and freedom of speech! Syrai, for instance, realised that it's way bigger than its understanding so they banned any form of interactive online portals such as Facebook. Jordan is keen to be seen embracing the new technologies and encouraging its youth to indulge in it, but trust me so far they have no idea how this little monster can beat their mokhabarat. While Egypt is shamelessly sentencing bloggers to prison. lebanon doesn't care and the GCCs are trying to be smart, polite and advanced about controlling it. I think governments are starting to appoint web 2 geeks to monitor that world....however it will be alot difficult to find the right people to regulate it and impose the laws. let's wait and see how they're gonna fail...yet another time!