If you are an American, you must be familiar with the constant daily argument that free speech is a right. The problem is that this “law” is challenged on a daily basis. It is challenged in many ways, including top secret government attacks on the character of the person practicing free speech.
The reason that sparked this post is the recent arrest warrant that went out for Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. I saw that major press release, and then maybe an hour later I saw that the arrest warrant was canceled just as fast as it was placed.
My immediate reaction to the warrant was that it was a government attempt at shutting up Mr Assange. I would not put this kind of thing past my own government. It is very possible for them to pay someone off to come up with a story that Julian Assange raped and molested someone. It must have been canceled right away because someone actually investigated it and found someone to be lying. It would have been more responsible of them to investigate before they made the warrant public though. Or better yet… investigated before they created the warrant.
As a blogger, you will be faced with many challenges to your character. You may be legally attacked because of a bad review about someone or some company. You may have your facts challenged by another blogger. You may be downright attacked by another blogger for no reason other than the fact that they are a controversial blogger and that’s how they generate traffic and readers.
While I agree that there are some blogs that need to be taken down for blatant copyright violations, I do not agree with the tactics used by authorities which end up hurting innocent bloggers. Unfortunately, even with the law on your side, you can be stifled without explanation. But if you take precautions and make backups, then the above linked reference will have no major effect on you or your blog.
All of these legal issues can be fixed on our favor if only the laws regarding “freedom of press” were to be recognized by the courts for bloggers. We are after-all, the new media. We should be respected as press as we do make news public. We use our opinions a good portion of the time, but how many traditional media authors don’t insert some opinion in their articles? The only difference is that we are independent of a backing like that of a newspaper. It is unfair though, because traditional newspapers have blogs now. Those newspaper bloggers are covered by freedom of press, while we independent bloggers publish without such protections. How on earth is that fair?
On top of the obvious legal risks, you also hold the chance of being censored by your local government. Take note about the recent issue with Dubai trying to block Blackberry from operating in their territory because Blackberry transferred data securely and the government wanted to be able to spy on people. In the end, somehow Blackberry worked it out with them. But to me, that sounds like they caved and turned their back on consumers. I have a couple of Blackberry’s myself, and if I were ever to travel to Dubai or any other repressive regime, I would not use my phone. Although, I have decided to just never visit Dubai because of their not-so-recent legal attack against an American couple who were kissing in public. God forbid you love your wife right?
I also read about freedoms disappearing in Australia because of government control issues. I would not claim that any citizen of a nation is completely in the loop, but I would like to hear my friend Alex’s take on the issue in Australia.
Shake it loose baby!
Tell me what you think about your blogging risks and how you handle them with a comment below.