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Blogging: Calumny or just freedom of speech? ItAEs your choice.

Calumny is not a term commonly used nowadays but certainly one that has surfaced as a common intention of free speech: in that the common use of the ability to voice an opinion can also be a chance to slander someone's reputation. If we think that freedom of speech has ever meant the single right to say whatever you think then think again. Therefore do we really understand free speech?

In saying that, there is also talk about the blog and how the ways in which people can sometimes acquire knowledge and ultimately justify their beliefs has been closely associated with the trend that has become the blogosphere.

So logically one should also ask about the legitimacy of these changes and the epistemology as a result of blogging. I guess most of the people concerned about the somewhat negative influence and the impact of the blogosphere in general, are also the same people concerned about the future of conventional media and if the voting public is actually receiving realistic, researched content.

In a sense, blogging galvanizes thought and contention and also citizen participation in a way that hasn't been possible in the past. Izzy Stone once claimed that he was an anachronism and that his self governing approach saw him as an independent capitalist, an owner of his own enterprise and "subject to neither mortgager or broker factor or patron." I.F Stone would be proud of the blog and the capacity to dig out more of the truth as opposed to a medium that in his opinion does not distill enough meaning and even beauty from the swiftly flowing debris of information.

The notion of freedom of speech and even words are not necessarily benign or gentle or even powerless to say the least and that's why revolutionaries - according to history - have left memoirs, ideals, but mostly, of ways to avenge themselves and not just writings of liberty and equality. Reputations are increasingly important and ultimately if one were to impair that than vengeance and honor become two sides of the same coin.

The importance of calumny is in a sense bound up with honor and you cannot establish calumny without first mentioning honor. In years gone past, there were limits that each society set for freedom of speech. People who were rational and who genuinely wanted to speak for the good of the citizens and only for a general interest were allowed to be heard and those who calumniate or speak from anger or from private interest to manipulate or mislead were frowned upon. Today in our quasi liberalism we also have limits to speak about minorities: you cannot yell out "fire in a crowded theater" and only our collective values are what should be addressed.

Wikipedia and the internet at large and the blog, have become so popular and have emerged in a free space unfiltered without regulation and an information ombudsman. This model is clearly a process that self regulates democratically until it finds the most correct and accurate information. Undeniably the blogosphere and the internet, unquestionably have an enormous residual impression.

In some professional opinions accurate and inaccurate information left in the hands of the readers is impeding on social democracy and that same democracy has something to do with the majority. In this argument the conventional media is seen as a body that has distributed appropriate funding to research and to investigative journalism and the blog is seen only as rather a weighing up and a criticism of items.

The stereotype here is that if the conventional media goes out and gets the raw primary material and the blogger only engages in analysis and opinion. Then what would happen if the competition declines? What would the blogger have as data to further scrutinize?

Self expression in its pure form should be just that and we must collectively recognize that we are lucky enough to have the facility to achieve remarkable levels of understanding but we also need to address our responsible concerns; as a jury would hear claims, counter claims and testimonies. A reasonable and democratically friendly position but one that further requires a rather crude ability: an ability to tease out the bad from the good.

Technology is running forward on the highway of innovation, as a medium where end users are left with a variety of choices that can be abused or used for betterment. Don't let Stones' dream, for all you bloggers out there; standing alone, without organizational or party backing, lose the distinctive shape, which was, "In this age of corporation men, I beholden to no one but my good readers."

Mohammed Hashem is a writer and student of the Arts. In 1999 he went on an expedition into the social sciences and humanities at La Trobe University. There, he developed into a student of Sociology, Politics, Linguistics, Literature and French. Graduating in 2001 from the School of Media, Mohammed went on a travel sequence which saw him in Paris, London, Egypt and all over Rural Australia. He wrote for ABC Radio and returned to study at the University of Melbourne.

Daily NewsEgypt 2009

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Publication:Daily News Egypt (Egypt)
Date:Jul 8, 2010
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