Only professionals can speak?
In a series of bizarre events, Apple has sued a bunch of bloggers for releasing information about their upcoming products. The thing is, a journalist is protected by the law, so that they don't have to reveal their sources, but Apple has managed to convince a judge that a blogger is not a journalist, and therefore must reveal their sources.
Dan Gillmor writes about this in depth, being a blogger and a professional journalist. He has some quite excellent points, I recommend that you read it. An interesting piece of information is also this article from CNET that suggests that in the future, blogging and other form of citizenship journalism might be subject to FCE regulation in the U.S., due to the fact that linking to a political campaign might be considered official support, and therefore subject to the same regulations as all monetary support.
I think this discussion will happen also in Finland in the near future. An unregulated internet where anyone can say anything they like is a horror to anyone in power. It's quite likely that also over here there will eventually be attempts to limit freedom of speech online - our very own Minister of Culture, Ms. Karpela, is already trying to circumvent the relevant laws to make sure that "filth" (as defined by your average geek writing a crappy program, owned by a corporation with commercial interests, and supervised by your average alarmist Christian) would be censored from the Internet.
All this talk about censorship and regulation makes my head ache. It won't work - get over it already. Embrace the change: the winners will be found in the crowd that accepts this first.
The alternate is that only professional, accredited writers have a freedom to speak.
Update: The FEC article has been shot down by representatives of FEC. And a good thing, too. I guess it shows that politicians will have to be even more careful about what they say, lest the blogger horde misinterpret them. However, I think in general it's good to have public review of important decisions - blogs have a way of turning legalese into something human-readable. Perhaps it is not always right yet, but it's getting more so.
Update3: Kari Haakana has asked the Finnish Journalist Union, and got a response confirming that in Finland the right not to reveal your sources extends to any kind of online publishing, including bloggers.
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