Week 7: While blogs are good advocacy tools, they may be also abused to further controversial causes

Blogs are serving not just journalistic purposes, but also advocacy purposes. This is what I like about blogs, they provide an inexpensive yet expansive platform to publicly voice our opinions and garner support from the community, or engage in civic discourse with people who disagree with our stands. It is also an advertising platform to announce any fundraising events, protests and demonstrations. An advocacy blog is a good follow-up and prelude to a major event. It makes people talk and keeps them talking. I can’t stop singing praises of the function of blogs in the area of advocacy. However, imagine if a blog is used to advocate some controversial topics such as terrorism. A blog can be manipulated for people’s own selfish agenda. But how can the content and functions of a blog be controlled such that only the good blogs are allowed? Is that even ethical since the Internet is free for all. If we screen blogs, then the pornography websites should be the first to go. I believe that authorities are working on how to prevent people from setting up blogs with controversial content. God forbid one day that we will have to go to the Department of Online Communication to register for a license to own a blog, and we are all unified under one blog host, http://www.unclesamspeaks.com. The result will be blogs that support the government, the big corporations and good citizenship. And when there is heavy government censorship, alternative voices will be driven to alternative mediums. Like in the case of Russia, with strong censorship, many take to blogging to advocate their beliefs. Perhaps in the future, there will be other forms of alternative medium that allows dissidents to go underground.

Coming back to the present, Cascio said that traditional journalists should be willing to cite their sources, which is in some sense, a form of insult to their pride. Journalists often view bloggers as amateurs. How can they provide me with any accurate information? Why can’t I find them myself? After all, who has the most credentials? A professional or an amateur? This answer is obvious if we are talking about a doctor and a pundit. However, the root of journalism is people. Without people, there will not be any story. Journalism is about reporting daily events that involve ordinary people. We are the producers while the people are the actors on the stage called daily publication. We work with amateurs to add flavor to our news. Hence, it should never be a loss of pride to cite the bloggers as our source. In fact, it shows the journalist’s acknowledgement of the increasing collaboration between traditional and the alternative. And citing, is after all, a professional thing to do.

1) What are the argument for and against screening of blogs and only allowing blogs that advocate a good cause?
2) What are the ways in which we can push for social changes that reduce the threat arising from disclosure of personal information?

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3 responses to “Week 7: While blogs are good advocacy tools, they may be also abused to further controversial causes

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  3. Pingback: Questions - Week 7 « Social Technologies, Media and Politics

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