Posted by: secretperson | September 23, 2008

MEPs are Scared of Me!

well not me specifically, but anonymous blogs in general. There was a EU report a while ago (insider’s report from Daniel Hannan, and now a vote is planned for Thursday.

Led by Marianne Miko who said

We do not need to know the exact identity of bloggers. We need some credentials, a quality mark, a certain disclosure of who is writing and why. We need this to be able to trust and rely on the source

the vote will have no power, because this is the European Parliament, and all the real power resides in the unelected higher echelons. However it would pave the way for claiming a popular mandate if the Commission did want to instigate some kind of legislation.

I am not worried about legislation. For one the internet is notoriously hard to regulate, and mainly because I have nothing to hide. I have my own reasons for anonymity. But I can declare all my interests if they want, I am not a member of any political party but I am a member of the Campaign for an English Parliament. I am an EUsceptic because I believe England’s interests would be best served outside the EU.

What this shows is that MEPs don’t understand the blogosphere. If people believe everything they read in blogs they are stupid. If people believe everything they read in newspapers they are stupid. Take everything with a pinch of salt. We all know the Telegraph or Guardian is probably more reliable than the Sun or Mirror. You get to know blogs too. I always try and include links to my sources, which are often the MSM, but sometimes direct EU documents or other stuff. I don’t expect anyone to trust me, so I try and show where the info came from so those who are interested can look it up.

Even if they hand out an “EU approved” sticker to blogs you can trust, no-one will trust them. It is no coincidence that one of my most popular posts is one containing details about the EU’s approach to the death penalty. People out there don’t trust the EU. It takes bloggers like the links contained within (and myself if I may say so!) to look up the details because all the EU does is sit there and say “trust us”.

Their main concern seems to be that blogs are often EUsceptic. That may seem in their heads to be a sign of untrustworthiness, but it just reflects the population at large, rather than politicians. Maybe if they hadn’t deliberatley re-written the Constitution in obscure legalese in order to claim it was too complicated for us to be allowed a vote on we would trust them more.

They say

We need this to be able to trust and rely on the source

I say

We can’t trust and rely on the EU

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Responses

  1. Just two things i have to say about this –

    1) the European Parliament doesn’t have amazing power as you say, but can make the difference between the legislation requiring bloggers to provide a name or address, and not having to… They can shape legislation to quite a degree.

    2) Clearly they are going about this the wrong way. Having talked to a few MEPs yesterday, they all said the same thing, that they are unprotected against attacks by blogs. Many of them are increasingly scared by the fact that there are many big companies behind quite a few big blogs.
    I think that as long as the law is observed its not a problem… Just like you cant go out on the street screaming very very bad words at someone, you shouldn’t be able to do so on the internet. In the same way- bloggers should be a little careful when making allegations of corruption. Not that they shouldn’t do so- but they should probably use journalistic phrases like “it is believed that”, or “some citizens think that”, or, “though there is no tangible evidence, it is a possibility that…”

    And the thing is, if it is done within the scope of the law- it hurts them even more!

  2. childofeurope – part of the report just asked for a clarification of libel laws, which seems reasonable, and these laws already apply. Although I don’t believe their is a law against saying bad words in the street!

    Clarifying existing libel or slander laws (on both content and comment), fair enough. Having to go through some official EU-approval scheme open to political interference? No thanks.

    And those journalistic phrases are just pathetic get out clauses. If you are lying, as some journalists do, adding “it is believed that” to the front doesn’t make it any less of a lie.

  3. The EU is corrupt, morally bankrupt, undemocratic, unaccountable shambles – and that’s the polite version.

    That’s my view. I can say it in the street I can say it on my blog.

    I feel better already.

  4. Vote in time…
    Free Europe at http://www.FreeEurope.info!

  5. I absolutely agree that it is ludicrous to have to go through an approval-scheme…

    I think the matter at hand is important- but i honestly cannot see how there can be any sort of real regulation; besides- using non-european blogging servers should take care of any issues of identity…

    and about journalists- yes, some do lie, and putting a little phrase in front does not make a real difference- it is just a question of law…

    and as to the calling names on the streets thing- If there are enough people around you can make a claim for defamation in a public forum (i believe…)

    In any case; it doesn’t matter what they want, it matters what they can achieve. Frankly, their phobic approach is more hurtful to them than anything else.

    And yes, Wyrdtimes, the EU is in some cases corrupt etc etc etc… but so are all national governments, from prime ministers to mayors. The argument (for myself, a pro-european) is that they do more good than would be done if they didn’t exist.

    Cheers.

  6. Well I am no legal expert, and for now at least (and in my mind long may it remain so) the laws depend on which country you are in. Libel laws in the UK are quite harsh, leading to ‘libel tourism’ where rich people from abroad sue in UK courts.

    And I think we will have to agree to disagree on whether the EU does more harm than good. My main concern is not what it is doing now, so much, but that the temptation to ignore democracy (censorship, ignoring referendum results etc) will lead to a system open to abuse.

    But then I also believe a democracy requires a demos, and until we consider ourselves one European people that won’t happen.

  7. “believe a democracy requires a demos, and until we consider ourselves one European people that won’t happen.”

    Wisely put…

    Let’s just hope this demos does not form as a result of – censirship, maladministration, euroscandals… but as a result of well administered projects, and citizen-centric policies leading to a euroeuphoria.

    Ah… the dreams 😀


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