With the news that a number of bloggers have been banned from entering the country, I wonder how this freedom of opinion will change the way territorial institutions will see their role in managing populations. The US and China are well known for censoring anything that would upset their political systems, the UK has clearly been doing this for some time by managing the press and media; but bloggers are a problem for these countries – they put in writing what they think. They do so without the corporate or social controls put in place to sensor ‘professional journalists’.
Currently ‘freedom of the press’ is expressed by journalists in a small number of businesses that are on the whole, out there to make money. They are constrained by this and constrained by the limitations that may be placed upon them by territorial institutions that may see them as a threat to their beliefs or methods of social control. They are also at the influence of these same bodies who may be willing to fund their efforts on the basis of their support. It’s a form of parasitic relationship, where they both rely upon each other for survival (i.e. it’s not in their interests to upset their parasitic partner).
Bloggers have the potential to loose these boundaries. They have the ability to speak freely, to air their opinion and to upset the symbiotic relationship of the press and the state.
Bloggers also have a sinister side too – it’s all too easy for the territorial and financial institutions to ignore the press and publish their propaganda directly. The US blogging scene is marred by this approach.
It is these two categories of bloggers that make territorial institutions nervous. A rival can use the blogging platform to push their message, their change agenda and their culture into other societies; and an openly free and opinionated public can change the traditional balance of power within their society (in the UK, general opinion is filtered by a small self serving elite and re-purposed through the professional press and media).
So, this elite and their territorial and financial institutions have a vested interest to use blogging in conflicted ways: to understand threats/opportunities; and through chastisement and stigma, dissuade free opinion and free expression.
Blogging could become an important freedom of expression. Something embraced not as rogue opinion but as a valued contribution to the development of a modern society – one where all opinion is valued and self moderated.