'Where public opinion is a mystery to itself, it is won over from the outset by every piece of writing that formally breaks through the mystical barriers. The censorship makes every forbidden work, whether good or bad, into an extraordinary document, whereas freedom of the press deprives every written work of an externally imposing effect.' -Karl Marx
I was strolling round the internet when I came upon this on this post on The Devils Kitchen.
Being in one of my more optimistic moods I assumed the author had been at the sauce and got all delusional on us so went to investigate for myself. Oh how I wish I hadn't. Perhaps I've missed something but I've always found the happy world of blogging pootles along quite nicely still I expect that's why I'm not an MEP -not enough botherer genes.
Anyway it has come to the attention of one Marianne Mikko MEP that something must be done. According to Marrianne 'the blogosphere has so far been a haven of good intentions and relatively honest dealing. However, with blogs becoming commonplace, less principled people will want to use them.'
Oh God! I hate 'less principled' bloggers! But wait help is at hand;
'I think the public is still very trusting towards blogs, it is still seen as sincere. And it should remain sincere. For that we need a quality mark, a disclosure of who is really writing and why.'
Exactly who will be dishing out this 'quality mark' and what in Gods name has it to do with the European parliament who is blogging and why they choose to do so? What will being denied the 'quality mark' mean? What happens if you go ahead and blog without it? What relevance is why someone blogs to anyone let alone Marianne Mikko and chums? Why can't they mind their own bloody business? Does it not occur to them that blogs are seen as 'sincere' because they are by and large honest about their views unlike say self-serving politicians for example?
Jorgo Chatzimarkakis, another of these nosy, interfering, wannabe totalitarian bastards had this to say 'any blogger representing or expressing more than their personal view should be affected by this report.' Eh? So charities, political parties, pressure groups, religions, clubs, businesses and societies will all need a quality mark to blog. It gets worse 'Blogs are powerful tools, they can represent an advance form of lobbyism, which in turn can be seen as a threat.'
A threat to who exactly? Since when did pressure groups and the like require permission to express their views. Do these clowns honestly believe that we automatically believe something because it's on a blog rather than say a badly photocopied leaflet or the front page of the Socialist Worker? And anyway so what if we do it's up to us what we believe and what we regard as a credible source or are they going to go after that next.
There is another way to read this, how about?;
'I think the public is still very trusting towards blogs, it is still seen as non-threatening. And it should remain non-threatening to our interests. For that we need a quality mark, a disclosure of who is really writing and why to ensure we have some control over it.'
Now before anyone gets too alarmed this isn't about to become law -yet. At the moment it's just a resolution but to me the fact they're even discussing restrictions on freedom of speech is sinister. Call me paranoid but people that I cannot vote out of office wishing to censor what I can and can't read and in what context I can express my opinions makes me very uneasy indeed. Oh and don't go thinking nothing will come of it. If I wanted to pass such a law regarding the internet I'd make something up about terrorists and pedophiles and it would sail through. Expect to see reports along these lines in the not too distant future.
This of course is only the beginning. Look how easily Google and Microsoft caved into Chinese government censorship. If the European Parliament get away with this how long before all blogs are subject to 'quality marks'. Then why not let the press and book publishers become part of the 'quality mark' scheme. After all it would stop publishers wasting their money on 'low quality' books and articles. Where does this road end? Mass book pulping (they're too subtle to risk a burning) and computer confiscation by which time it will be too late to do anything about it.
I intend to give my MEP, MP and MSPs a bit of earache over this. I want to know where all the British parties stand on this issue and how they intend to oppose it (if at all) should it become proposed legislation. It's not much but it's a start until I or someone else comes up with something better.