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23 June 2005

Would you buy a used car from this blog?

A date for your diaries next week is NMK's latest panel debate on blogging - Specifically how the increased trust that people (rightly or wrongly!) give to blogs is carving them a special place in online media - one that companies and established media mighn't be able to tap credibly. Also a discussion of the implications of newsreading technology like RSS and what this will mean for mainstream online media, once people start viewing their news reading habits less as a brand and more as a kind of buddy list.
Speakers include Rafael Behr (Observer blog), and blogosphere rent-a-pundit Adriana Cronin-Lukas (Big Blog Co & Samizdata) alongside a bunch of other luminaries. 28 June in Soho - £60 a head. More on NMK site (Not a good goto for Rowan Williams spotters...)

22 June 2005

RSF and the OSCE propose six recommendations to ensure freedom of expression on the Internet

IFEX - News from the international freedom of expression community _________________________________________________________________


21 June 2005

RSF and the OSCE propose six recommendations to ensure freedom of expression on the Internet

SOURCE: Reporters sans frontières (RSF), Paris

(RSF/IFEX) - The following is a 20 June 2005 RSF press release:

Reporters Without Borders and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) make six recommendations to ensure freedom of expression on the Internet

This declaration by Reporters Without Borders and the representative of the OSCE on Freedom of the Media aims to deal with the main issues facing countries seeking to regulate online activity. Should the Web be filtered? Can online publications be forced to register with the authorities? What should the responsibility of service providers (ISPs) be? How far does a national jurisdiction extend?

Reporters Without Borders thinks these six recommendations go beyond Europe and concern every country. It hopes they will provoke discussion in the run-up to the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS).

Full text of the Declaration:

1. Any law about the flow of information online must be anchored in the right to freedom of expression as defined in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

2. In a democratic and open society it is up to the citizens to decide what they wish to access and view on the Internet. Filtering or rating of online content by governments is unacceptable. Filters should only be installed by Internet users themselves. Any policy of filtering, be it at a national or local level, conflicts with the principle of free flow of information.

3. Any requirement to register websites with governmental authorities is not acceptable. Unlike licensing scarce resources such as broadcasting frequencies, an abundant infrastructure like the Internet does not justify official assignment of licenses. On the contrary, mandatory registration of online publications might stifle the free exchange of ideas, opinions, and information on the Internet.

4. A technical service provider must not be held responsible for the mere conduit or hosting of content unless the hosting provider refuses to obey a court ruling. A decision on whether a website is legal or illegal can only be taken by a judge, not by a service provider. Such proceedings should guarantee transparency, accountability and the right to appeal.

5. All Internet content should be subject to the legislation of the country of its origin ("upload rule") and not to the legislation of the country where it is downloaded.

6. The Internet combines various types of media, and new publishing tools such as blogging are developing. Internet writers and online journalists should be legally protected under the basic principle of the right to freedom of expression and the complementary rights of privacy and protection of sources.

For further information, contact Julien Pain, RSF Internet Desk, 5, rue Geoffroy Marie, Paris 75009, France, tel: +33 1 44 83 84 71, fax: +33 1 45 23 11 51, e-mail: internet@rsf.org, Internet: http://www.internet.rsf.org

The information contained in this press release is the sole responsibility of RSF. In citing this material for broadcast or publication, please credit RSF.

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Internet site: http://www.ifex.org/

16 June 2005

More 'e', Vicar?

It would seem that Lambeth Palace has just got broadband - and found that the web is a place of "paranoid fantasy, self-indulgent nonsense and dangerous bigotry".

Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, has directed his latest sermon at the media. He sees journalism as rapidly disappearing up its own fundament - obsessed with the idea of 'news' for its own sake. Urgency has become all and the news has started making itself whilst the real story is going on elsewhere. News has become commoditised - the notion of public interest warped into definitions of 'publics' as target markets, each to be supplied with the content that can be most easily sold to them. Worst of the bunch, apparently, are online media. With our interactivity, immediacy, subjectivity and transience, we're the nadir of self-obsessed journalism. The challenge for us is to recover the offline ideals of classical journalistic professionalism in an environment which doesn't suit it at all. Worth a read - just don't blog him or he'll be upset (Oops...)

13 June 2005


Interesting story on ethics for those of us with corporate websites. Quixtar are a Multi-Level-Marketing (euphemism for pyramid scheme) company, who unsurprisingly come in for quite a bit of flak on the web from their disgruntled 'Independent Business Owners' (read 'victims').
As no-one's likely to sign up if they've read about others' bad experiences, Quixtar hit on the idea of employing people to write a whole ring of blogs featuring regular positive stories. The point of these supposedly independent blogs was to boost each others' Google ratings, and make sure critical voices never appeared on the front page. More at http://www.ojr.org/ojr/stories/050601glaser/
The NUJ's PR branch issued some good professional guidelines for PRs a while ago, and I think this breaks pretty much all of them! We've all got our little Google tricks to try to boost our ratings, natch, but going to these lengths really takes the biscuit. What would you do if your company tried to get you to write copy just for the sake of Googlejuice, and to drown other commentators out rather than to actually be read by anyone?

11 June 2005

Last chance to join women's conference

The NUJ is holding a women's conference in Manchester on Saturday June 18.

More than 15,000 members are women - some 40.4 per cent of membership but there are still only seven women on the National Executive Council. Forty-one per cent of chapel reps elected in the past three years are female and 58% are under 35. But they are paid less than their male equivalents.

Women's participation and representation in the NUJ is an important issue. Head office is funding the cost of hiring the Manchester Conference Centre from 11am to 4.30pm and is looking to branches to arrange and cover the cost of travel and, if needed, accommodation. The NUJ can cover any childcare costs.

Speakers included NUJ general secretary Jeremy Dear, TUC deputy general secretary Frances O'Grady, Thompsons Solicitors' Nicola Dandridge and NUJ assistant organiser Jenny Lennox.

If you are interested then email lenac@nuj.org.uk ASAP.

06 June 2005

Latest Council details & Dialect plug

All constituencies one seat unless otherwise stated
Constituency - Nominee

London (2) - John Wood/Donnacha Delong
North East - Dr. K. Miller
North West - Gary Herman
Midlands - Gaynor Backhouse
Wales - Vacancy
South East - Jemima Kiss
South West - Tony Gosling
Continental Europe - Damien Leigh-Phillips/Simon Coss - JobShare
Equality - Kirsty Rigg
Black Members - Vacancy
Disabled Members - Vacancy

Vacancies in Wales, Black Members and Disabled Members seats

Incidentally - you can check out our Internet Radio Station which has lots of fascinating and controversial content here http://www.radiodialect.net
Tony - 0117 944 6219