Sunlight is the best disinfectant. And many bloggers’ eyes and typing fingers bring a lot of sunlight to whatever anyone is trying hide. This makes bloggers dangerous to many entrenched and powerful interests.
Not that bloggers are Martians, recent arrivals on this planet, to be treated as a ‘special interest’ group. Bloggers are people. And the Web gives people the ability to say what they think, to report what they see, to fact-check the PR outfits, to use their own individual expertise to parse others’ arguments and, yes, to point fingers at the guilty.
And in many countries around the world, this is well understood. And acted upon. Harshly.
Here in the USA, some efforts have appeared here and there to place bloggers under some tougher laws, but that did not fly here. Op-eds against bloggers appear with some regularity, with the only result that the author has his/her reputation stained forever (google: Skube; google: PRISM; for just the two most recent examples of the power of blogs to uncover the truth, make it available to millions forever, and in the process make everyone know who the bad guys are).
Bloggers elsewhere have a much tougher time. As in “much, much tougher time”. Just read this post by Mo.
Web is global. If a blogger somewhere gets imprisoned and tortured for telling the truth to the power, we need to speak up in defense and shame the entire country for it. It worked on Libya (google: Tripoli Six). It should work on others as well.
Remember: bloggers are people. And for the first time in history, people have a voice that can be transmitted to the entire planet in a matter of minutes. This is an immense power. We need to use it to do good.
PMR: I have been forced – reluctantly – to use military terms such as “battle” when discussing the blogosphere’s reaction to PRISM. It is a case of asymmetric warfare. We conduct our campaign by collating facts, analysing arguments and publicising them. We also use blogs as a means of gathering support and coordinating it. The blogs are part of our command-and-control.
But the PRISMoids do not fight on this battlefield. So far it is unclear where they will choose to fight, but it appears to be the golfcourse, Washington clubs, the The Corridors of Power and other places where lobbying takes place. By default blogs are largely ineffective here. So while they are one of our weapons, they are not sufficient.
Perhaps we have to consider – however reluctantly – Civil disobedience.