EU scrutinises ‘malicious bloggers’
So it ought to come as no surprise that a report for the Culture Committee of the European Parliament – ‘On concentration and pluralism in the media in the European Union’ - notes that there is ‘a minority with malicious intentions or hidden agendas’, and that these ‘pose a danger’. Interestingly, the link to the Parliament’s article coving this has already been ‘corrected’, so some of these quotations are no longer visible.
The report, drafted by Estonian Socialist Marianne Mikko, calls for ‘a voluntary code to identify the interests of the authors, clarification of their legal status and an ombudsman to guarantee media freedom’. As Bruno Waterfield observes in The Daily Telegraph: ‘“Hidden agenda” is code here for not trusting people to be able to judge for themselves over arguments put forward by others. It also tends to be the cry from those who are less than sure about being to carry the debate themselves. They think we are stupid and that those who disagree with their world view are malicious and dangerous.’
Ironically, the report warns against the concentration of media in the hands of a few companies and says that the media is vital to safeguarding democracy.
Since when has the EU actually done anything to safeguard democracy?
Ms Mikko said: "The blogosphere has so far been a haven of good intentions and relatively honest dealing. However, with blogs becoming commonplace, less principled people will want to use them."
People who hold opinions contrary to hers, perhaps?
Asked if she considered bloggers to be ‘a threat’, she said, "We do not see the bloggers as a threat. They are in position, however, to considerably pollute cyberspace. We already have too much spam, misinformation and malicious intent in cyberspace." She added, "I think the public is still very trusting towards blogs, it is still seen as sincere. And it should remain sincere. For that we need a quality mark, a disclosure of who is really writing and why."
Jorgo Chatzimarkakis, a German Liberal (!) who advised on the report, said: “Bloggers cannot automatically be considered a threat, but imagine pressure groups, professional interests or any other groups using blogs to pass on their message. Blogs are powerful tools, they can represent an advance form of lobbyism, which in turn can be seen as a threat." He continued: "Any blogger representing or expressing more than their personal view should be affected by this report."
God forbid that any pressure group (Greenpeace? UKIP? The Church?) might use blogs to disseminate its message.
Since when has one needed permission from the State to express more than one’s personal view? Are we about to surrender the freedom to blog to the EU’s licensing authorities? Will Euroblogs become the only permitted mechanism for placing information in the public domain? Goebbels would take great pride in this control of information and public opinion, for bloggers who are deemed to incite hatred against the EU will most likely be classified as terrorists, with terrorism now defined succinctly as 'acts which seriously affect the political, economic or social structures of a country or organisation governed by public international law.'
So, the EU is concerned about certain ‘pressure groups’ who may wish to disseminate ‘their message’, and this may be seen as ‘a threat’. And there must be ‘disclosure of who is really writing and why’. And when these criteria are fulfilled, the blogger will be issued with an EU ‘quality mark’ in order that he or she may continue blogging to their heart’s content.
Cranmer can hardly wait to see if his august blog shall be awarded such a mark, which he would be proud to display amongst his other awards and honours, if only as a perpetual reminder of the identity of Caesar - his temporal sovereign, lord and master.