Blogged to death

I am going to build off of my post from last week about libel and slander. With the lines between what is and is not socially acceptable to publish online being heavily blurred by the digital hurricane that is social media and the blogoshpere, it is sometimes difficult to step back and analyze the sometime serious repercussions of electronic publishing. Free access to information and freedom of the press are coveted rights in many nations but mere hopeful beacons on the horizon for much of the world. Historically, having free access to information has been a privilege granted to only the most wealthy and powerful of people. Electronic publishing is a serious game changer in this sense.

I am pleased to know that I live in a place where I can openly call a current or past leader an inarticulate buffoon without worrying about disappearing in the night, where satirical news like “The Onion” can exist peacefully. However, this is not the case for many people, and living in a privileged bubble sometimes causes us to forget that. We have all recently seen the dangerous power of a single controversial Youtube video. This is a monumental and historical clashing of culture and it was, many claim, initiated by open form electronic publishing. As Grant mentioned in his blog last week, governmental censorship in the digital age could be frightfully simple. On the other hand, it can be very difficult. Clashing cultures can no longer isolate themselves from one another in the way they could not so many years ago.

According to a report by Freedom House, a Washington advocacy group, the tiny nation of Estonia has the highest marks for internet freedom. This is fantastic for Estonia: however, the other side of the spectrum is gloomy. In nineteen of the forty-seven countries reported, bloggers and other online writers were “tortured, disappeared, beaten or brutally assaulted.”

19 out of 47! That’s 40%!!

Also, I think it is important to know that this isn’t only happening in far-off places. Mexican bloggers and internet journalists who write about organized crime are regularly targeted by the gangs they write about. Freedom of speech is taking on new meaning in an age where our voices can reach unforeseen distances.

http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/09/25/estonia-gets-highest-marks-for-…

 

cheers.

Matt

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