Saturday, February 05, 2005

What role do blogs play in reforming the media, if any?

Finally, technology has allowed the citizenry to participate in public forums that democracy requires to thrive. The "first amendment" protects "free speech" and "freedom of the press" which of course, is to our benefit. The problem is when multibillion-dollar media conglomerates control what information the public has access to, and therefore limits the journalist's function as a true investigative reporter. Promoting ways to profit become much more important than finding the truth, serving the public interest, or full disclosure.

Once again, it is those at the top of the "socioeconomic ladder" that wields the power, and control the flow of information in our country, usually supporting a pro-corporate agenda. It is now more important than ever for "we the people" to provide the "checks and balances" necessary for conformity to fact, helping to safeguard our democracy.

Blogs can play an important role in public discourse by providing those "checks and balances" we so desperately need. The wonderful thing is that anyone can voice their opinion and have as much chance to be heard as any other citizen. The quality and the veracity of the blog will determine the audience, not the almighty dollar.

Like any other "cutting-edge" technology, blogging is an untested form of information gathering, and there will be many hurdles to overcome before we can say how reliable they are as sources of information.

"Blogging for dollars"
is one problem that has surfaced recently during the election campaign. Bloggers are not considered journalists and therefore do not have to live up to "journalistic standards". There is nothing preventing bloggers from being paid to advance someone's political agenda as this election brought to light.

"Such as it is, the press has become the greatest power within the Western World, more powerful than the legislature, the executive and judiciary. One would like to ask; by whom has it been elected and to whom is it responsible?"

--Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

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