Gutter press flourishes, not only in blogs

A recent controversy over a news blog has blackened the image of this new media that has been cultivated by the traditional kinds as «the people’s journalism.» Naturally, not all blogs are bad – there are serious, responsible bloggers as well as vulgar ones. Communication over the Internet is no longer the privilege of the few, but a part of the modern household just like television, the telephone or a car – it is a form of entertainment, the household mouthpiece to and from the planetary database, nothing more, nothing less. But that is already a great deal. Unfortunately, most of the people in a position of power today are ignorant of the nature and power of the medium – and therefore easily influenced by basic misinterpretations and all too ready to suppress it, while at the same time calling for better digital infrastructure and cyber-culture. Anonymity provides a cover for libel or even just the naive dissemination of falsehoods. Lies might be short-lived but a bad reputation lasts longer – not to mention the innuendos, character assassinations, salacious gossip and barely concealed blackmail that appear in the conventional media. So unless they are shown to have committed any actual crime, the Internet or an anonymous blogger cannot be said to be a threat to democratic or communication ethics. The will to fight crime should not be accompanied by an undemocratic and unreasonable haste to restrict communication and political freedoms.

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