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Who's afraid of the bloggers?
by Thanos Kalamidas
2009-04-09 08:39:50
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Lately I notice in the news politicians and governments announcing their efforts to control the blogs in the internet, for example in Italy there is a whole talk about the blogs and even Facebook with an MP calling the blogs and the social network instrument of the Mafia and organized crime, while in Greece the prime minister Karamanlis said in the parliament that they're terrorists. This is like saying that all Italians are lazy or that all Greeks are restaurateurs. Isn’t it worst when they call it huge because it is huge, part of the global population criminals?

I know that the argument is that even Bin Laden communicates through internet with his followers and that pedophiles have become a dangerous virus but my question is if anybody thinks that if there was not internet at all Bin Laden would not have found ways to communicate his poisonous messages and are pedophiles an internet creation because the way they present the issue lately makes you think that there were no pedophiles before internet.

The majority of the bloggers are keeping personal journals and when we are talking about bloggers we must remember that we are talking about millions, an estimate from 2005 was talking about 50 million bloggers worldwide with the number increasing dramatically day by day. Personal journals mean information that would interest only family and friends and perhaps entertain a few dozens more. Of course depending on how clever and entertaining the blogger is the blog can have visits that count to thousands but this is a rare phenomenon. So I suppose there is nothing wrong and illegal about that.

Then there is the other group, the ones who promote their work as a live portfolio using a tool that can reach a lot of people and has the minimum cost while it gives the chance of reaction and promotion. I suppose this is legitimate for everybody. Then there are these bloggers that use the blogs to express themselves intellectually, politically, culturally even gossiping and that again is acceptable and even wanted, in a free world, in a democracy the right to express yourself and have opinion is a right, actually supreme democratic right and that’s a prove that a democracy works.

Then you have those very few who use the freedom of speech gives and yes there are hate sites and blogs and yes Bin Laden has used blogs and sites to communicate and yes there are pedophiles who think that they can use the anonymity of the blogs but here there are some points that obviously politicians and governments miss intentionally. First of all the anonymity of the blogs is a myth, everybody who knows about internet knows that every user leaves a trace that can be followed and they have done so the experts of the security forces all around the world, the only thing missing is the governments to help the security forces with better training and equipment. The same applies to all kind of criminals that try to invade internet including pedophiles. Actually the bloggers themselves have organized so well so they spot and isolate these people and they are the best allies for the security forces and the states.

Criminals were all through history and they always found ways to communicate, internet is just the latest gadget; before that they even used the classified adverts in the newspapers including some of the most famous ones and internationally published. And as I pointed before there are ways to catch they and the bloggers are the best allies for that and definitely not the enemies. So what’s the problem, why the governments and the politicians are so afraid of the bloggers. The answers at least how I see it is information and whoever controls information has all the power, whoever controls information controls power, controls money, controls everything.

You see that’s another thing with the blogs and blogger, they give information, information that cannot be controlled and manipulated, pure information without side interests or hidden agendas. People have become the contemporary journalists who most of time live in the center of the events, people who witness the news and they are not afraid to report what they see and hear because as I said before they have no hidden agendas and special interests. It is money because people have realized the information power of the blogs and that’s why the numbers of newspapers and magazines are constantly reducing. Because even reporters and journalists having realize the power of the blogs or that it is the time to do freely their work without having to obey orders and serve dark interests of their bosses have turned into bloggers often revealing scandals and truths they would never dare or let to do in the media they work for. Media has been the fourth power but they were because they were allowed to be, because it worked for the politicians and the government to be and because one way or another they could control them now there is a new form of media that cannot be controlled and that’s what scares them and that’s exactly why they try legally to do by doing laws that violate the basic right of every democracy, the right of freedom to speak and express opinion.

That’s what scares Karamanlis, Sarkozy, Berlusconi and it makes you wonder what Barack Obama thinks since before becoming the President of USA he was a blogger. If and this is a huge if, they manage to pass laws that control the way they like to, internet and the blogger I think their next step is to suspect that everybody who owns a laptop is a terrorist and start a new witch-hunt!

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Emanuel Paparella2009-04-09 10:10:03
Indeed Thanos, I suppose it all begins with Francis Bacon who said “knowledge is power” which indeed is quite different from Socrates’ “knowledge is virtue.” Berlusconi, for one, has intuited that distinction well since it is by controlling the information media that he has managed to remain in power on the Italian political stage for decades. He fears the bloggers because they may eventually steal his punch and judy show. The ineluctable fact however is that while the latter leads to wisdom, the former to the age of power for its own sake and the manipulation and ultimate devastation of nature. Those sad results are quite apparent: formerly the vice was that of the hidden agenda or ideology parading as objective truth, now instead we have so called “journalists” who simply make up the facts and don’t even shy away from slander, caricatures and half truths about the most revered and serious things. Then there are the millions of misguided bloggers thinking that every opinion is as good as any other, and so what difference does it make if the facts are true or not, as long as one has expressed one’s opinion under the guise of “free speech”? Here again, we have free speech for its own sake rather than free speech for the sake of virtue, to say something worthwhile and contemplate ultimate realities and things. What did Cicero say? O tempora, o mores!

Emanuel Paparella2009-04-09 10:20:41
PS For a demonstration of what has been broached above, all the reader needs to do is to look at today's cartoon by Patrick Mc Wade put out on purpose on Holy Thursday. By desacrating what tradition and piety has rendered reverent, one acquires one's "fifteen minutes of fame," the more outrageous the better.

AP2009-04-09 13:57:55
Mr. Paparella, that's not a desecration: that's just a joke.

Frank2009-04-09 14:58:28
Emanuel, every opinion is actually as good as any other, whether factually correct or not, because thats the beauty of expressing one self.

Eva2009-04-09 16:49:05
Well said, Thanos, good article!

Paparella...? ... oh, for God's sake... I agree with AP's and Frank's comments on this one :)

Emanuel Paparella2009-04-09 19:01:36
Frank, that may be so, and we can all experience a catharsis in expressing ourselves to our heart's content, but if I have cancer I'll wager on the opinion of a doctor before that of a plumber any time.

Emanuel Paparella2009-04-09 19:02:59
Oh, I forgot: :)

AP2009-04-09 20:11:27
Not a doctor, a PhD :)
"To repeat what others have said and done, requires education; to challenge it, requires brains; to improve it requires skill and luck."

Alexander Mikhaylov2009-04-09 21:36:23
Of course, casual access to the information, as well as an opportunity to express ones’ own opinion freely is, and has always been a threat to the totalitarianism. It is no big wonder however, that modern ‘thought police’ tries to extend its influence over everything, especially the Internet with its relative (but speedily diminishing) freedom: that’s why modern holders of power spoon-feed the public fairy tales regarding terrorist-pedophile-etc. blossoming activity (according to them, every third person must be either terrorist, or pervert, or both – oh yeah, the usual tactics of ingraining paranoia). One has only to wonder how little human society progressed, or learned, since Stalinist’s times, for example. The same stories about the ‘enemies of the people’ pouring broken glass into butter in butter factories. The only difference between then and now is that nowadays it is electronic connections that suppose to destroy law obedient citizens, and not the poisoned food.

Alexander Mikhaylov2009-04-09 21:46:09
In any case, it is easy to answer this question,
'Who's afraid of the bloggers?'
Those who want to control all media.
And who are they?
Up to you to figure...

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