Some European MPs sure love to control everything, as Alex’ post Horrible European Surveillance Proposals already demonstrated. It may be old news to some of you, but check out this motion for a European Parliament resolution (pdf) by Estonian MEP Marianne Mikko entitled Draft report on concentration and pluralism in the media in the European Union (2007/2253(INI)). In her proposal Mikko makes some sensible suggestions, but then comes this:
O. whereas weblogs are an increasingly common medium for self-expression by media professionals as well as private persons, the status of their authors and publishers, including their legal status, is neither determined nor made clear to the readers of the
weblogs, causing uncertainties regarding impartiality, reliability, source protection,
applicability of ethical codes and the assignment of liability in the event of lawsuits,
9. Suggests clarifying the status, legal or otherwise, of weblogs and encourages their voluntary labelling according to the professional and financial responsibilities and interests of their authors and publishers;
The development and acceptance of new technologies have led to the emergence of new media channels and new kinds of content. The emergence of new media has brought more dynamic and diversity into the media landscape; the report encourages responsible use of new channels. In this context the report points out that the undetermined and unindicated status of authors and publishers of weblogs causes uncertainties regarding impartiality, reliability, source protection, applicability of ethical codes and the assignment of liability in the event of lawsuits. It recommends clarification of the legal status of different categories of weblog authors and publishers as well as disclosure of interests and voluntary labelling of weblogs.
Now, for my question. Have weblogs really become so important (in Europe) that their authors pose a threat to media pluralism? Or is former old school journalist Mikko merely concerned about the competition from new media? Discuss, if you like. By the way, thank goodness we are not living in Iran.
Full disclosure: My real name is Guillaume van Turnhout, I am vaguely centrist and I am voluntarily declaring that I have no outspoken covert agenda, neither politically nor commercially. I am sure this will be of great comfort to AFOE readers who, in any case, are already totally aware of the banality of my blogging existence. Hat tip for this post goes to Sargasso.