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The symbolism of blogs

I went for the walk for media freedom yesterday, seeing as All-Blogs was involved and my wife wanted to go also. You can get the details of the event from the links below, so I'd just like to mention the moments when blogs came up, and say something about the role of blogs as an indexical symbol.

First Ms. Norila Mohd Daud - the President of the National Union of Journalists spoke, she said it was an historic occasion where all stakeholders - journalists, bloggers, Benar - had come together for press freedom.

Then Gayathry Venkiteswaran, Executive Director of the Centre for Independent Journalism, Malaysia spoke, for her organisation and on behalf of All-Blogs and Benar. She basically argued that a free press is important for the country, and also emphasised that journalists and bloggers, need to be professional and responsible to make it work too.

Then the Minister in the Prime Minister's Department, Datuk Zaid Ibrahim, spoke. I was surprised that he had turned up and it is a sign of the times but, disappointingly for me, he didn't say anything about blogs - though he did say at one point that "control is elusive", referring to the ability of the government to control the spread of information. Overall, he concentrated on issues relating to media laws and how the media can organise itself.
Continue reading "The symbolism of blogs"

Bloggers allied - Part II

A previous post looked at blogger alliances in the world. Though instead of 'world' I should really say 'English language Google & Technorati' because that's all I looked at. I will look at French and Italian at some point, but more interesting would be to look at Korea, China, Japan, India (though the latter would likely have turned up in English...), Russia, and so on.

There were not many, and I categorised them by the broad categories: Political, Religious, Hobby & Single Interest, and Blogosphere Centred. Now I'll try to summarise some of the characteristics of them. The first of which is that they were almost exclusively American (20 out of 22).

Geo-Political boundaries
Most of the political ones were based on bloggers within a certain constituency (for example, the state of Virginia), banding together to represent their interests online, in an extension of their offline political allegiances. The 'Kurdistan Bloggers Union' refers to an ethnic rather than a geo-political territory, and no doubt many of the bloggers there were not necessarily based in the region of 'Kurdistan': this offers one example of the transnational potentialities of the blogosphere.
Others that transcend (potentially at least) offline geo-political borders would be the religious ones (though one is locally based – the 'SoCal [South California] Bloggers' Alliance') and the nascent 'Sci-Art Bloggers' initiative.

This one is a bit difficult to find out without further research, but some seem to be more individual initiatives, such as the Independent Bloggers' Alliance, while others have more of a collective base - Media Bloggers Association may be an example of this, though I don't know for sure.
Knowing the context of the founding of these groupings is important because then we can gain insight into their goals and motivations. For example, a single person might set up an 'alliance' and invite others to register and/or post simply in order to benefit (financially and/or socially) from the traffic on the website; a group effort is more likely to reflect particular social goals such as an effort to create a 'space' for contestation/alternative discourse. Continue reading "Bloggers allied - Part II"