Good on Patricia De Lille and the ID. This is democracy in action. De Lille most likely noticed comments on the blogosphere and reports in the media about the ID leader’s initial call for government to regulate blogs. The result is that De Lille has swiftly issued another statement clarifying her position.
BUT I do still think there are big problems around asking government to regulate the blogosphere given the definition problems around blogs and sensitivities around free speech, never mind the issue of where the blogs are hosted and which laws they fall under.
But the other problem of course is that there are no standard ethics or an ombudsman for the blogosphere (like you would find in the media). This is nothing new and a problem recognised by bloggers themselves all around the world. There have been numerous attempts at creating universal codes of conduct for bloggers, and this is an issue still being debated to this very day. Some bloggers who don’t agree with having a code of conduct point to the self-regulating argument. I’m not sure where I stand on this, to be honest.
Below is De Lille’s latest statement
De Lille – ‘I am a living example of fighting for freedom of speech’
22-05-2007 ID President Patricia de Lille has reiterated her statement that cellphone instant-messaging service MXit is destroying relationships and allowing grown men to lure young boys and girls into traps.
ID President Patricia de Lille has reiterated her statement that cellphone instant-messaging service MXit is destroying relationships and allowing grown men to lure young boys and girls into traps.
However, De Lille says she has been misunderstood by those who, ‘like me, are believers in freedom of speech.
‘I am a living example of fighting for freedom of speech. The first court case in the New South Africa for the right to freedom of speech was fought by me and won,’ says De Lille.
‘I am making these comments about blogs and MXit in the broad context of living in a sick society where the social fabric has been destroyed, and where we struggle daily to rebuild that social fabric.
‘I appeal to parents to be proactive in controlling such services accessed by their children. I can put it out there for debate, but the response lies with the government,’ De Lille says.
She says that ‘unlike established standards of free speech applicable to print and electronic media that do not allow the dissemination of defamatory or slanderous information — bloggers can slander and defame others with impunity because they can remain anonymous.
‘I don’t and will never stand for censorship,’ De Lille says.
‘I am not bashing everybody. It is not all Internet users; it’s just a minority. Is there not a way, without dismissing the concept of blogging and MXit, to make sure that when people are defamed or slandered, they are able to take the same action to which they are entitled when it happens in print and electronic media?’