Blogs are a wonderful new tool for communication. They are whatever the author wants them to be. Thus, they can be used for serious research and writing, for serious political or social commentary, for just goofing around (or a bit of everything, like mine) - or for anything else that the blogger can think of. For example, I recently came across one by a 16 year old girl that simply listed everything she purchases, which strikes me as a waste of time, but I'm sure it's fascinating to 16 year old girls.
To each, the motto for blogs should go, their own (along with "caveat emptor" for the readers).
However, what we in free and democratic societies take for granted is something that is severely curtailed or denied altogether by the dictatorships of the world.
The National Post, in an editorial today titled "Big brother vs. the blogosphere," comments on this situation:
"In China and Iran... tens of thousands of bloggers are under constant danger of being silenced, if not punished as criminals, by those in power. Beijing in particular has boasted of having 30,000 police monitoring the Internet. Early this year, the Chinese government put a defiant Chinese cyber-dissident in prison for 10 years after Internet provider Yahoo! handed authorities the details they needed to identify him."
If you use Yahoo! and were unaware of this complete sell-out to a totalitarian regime by the company, you might want to consider switching Internet providers.
The Post points out that one group is trying to provide bloggers in these repressive countries with the tools to beat the system - Reporters Without Borders.
As The Post notes:
"Reporters Without Borders, an international non-governmental organization that promotes press freedom, has produced an important publication. The group's new Handbook for Bloggers and Cyber-Dissidents is a guide for people living under oppressive regimes. It provides detailed information about methods they can use to express themselves on the Internet without getting caught by government snoops... Interaction with other democracy-advocates, both across the world and within their own countries, is one of the best ways for freedom fighters to organize themselves and alert others to their plight. Rather than caving in to governments that ruthlessly keep their people in line through Internet censorship, as Yahoo! did, Reporters Without Borders is working to equip people the world over with the capacity to make themselves heard. With such knowledge, the Web may yet prevail over Big Brother."
The web link to the Reporters Without Borders Handbook for Bloggers and Cyber-Dissidents is:
Reporters without Borders hits the nail on the head when they comment:
"Blogs get people excited. Or else they disturb and worry them. Some people distrust them. Others see them as the vanguard of a new information revolution. Because they allow and encourage ordinary people to speak up, they’re tremendous tools of freedom of expression. Bloggers are often the only real journalists in countries where the mainstream media is censored or under pressure. Only they provide independent news, at the risk of displeasing the government and sometimes courting arrest. Reporters Without Borders has produced this handbook to help them, with handy tips and technical advice on how to to remain anonymous and to get round censorship, by choosing the most suitable method for each situation. It also explains how to set up and make the most of a blog, to publicise it (getting it picked up efficiently by search-engines) and to establish its credibility through observing basic ethical and journalistic principles."
People in ufology are always nattering on about cover-ups and truth embargos.
They may be right.
They may also be wrong.
Either way, the wonderful thing about our society is that they're free to talk about it until the cows come home.
Perhaps they could also spare a moment to consider a truth embargo that is definitely real, and put a link up on their blogs or websites to the Handbook for Bloggers and Cyber-Dissidents.
Some things, after all, are still more important than UFOs.