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World Bloggers Day 2011 - The Roles of Bloggers

Recent developments of technology have greatly changed how information travels. Social networking and online media, especially blogs, have blossomed in the past 2 decades giving everyone easy access to just about anything across the continents in a heartbeat. The skyrocketing results of data accessibility and the ease with which people of diverse culture can put their thoughts and opinion through blogging are just revolutionary.

Blogging as a Social Force

Blogging has become a social force — it has a class of its own. It can generate real-time responses and a degree of dialogue to the extent that it has become digitally crowded with no definite category.

From a few hundreds to an exponential thousands, bloggers have proven vital in data dissemination. The desire for passing information through the web has become really popular that a lot of people are now regularly posting sensitive government information online, with content similar to those published in newspapers or broadcasted over the television. The Philippines, for instance, has many famous bloggers but some remain anonymous; they fear their opinions will result in jailing or reprisal from authorities.

Detention of Bloggers

Below are some of the documented incidents in which bloggers were detained all over the world:

Photo Source: persian2english.com

On 20 December 2009, Mehrdad Rahimi and Kouhyar Goudazi, both bloggers and members of the Committee of Human Rights in Iran, were accused of wanting to wage “a war against God”. Iranian authorities have jailed several other bloggers such as Hossien Derakhshan in recent years.

Photo Source: wantchinatimes.com

On 24 February 2011, Hong kong-based Chinese Human Rights Defender and political blogger Ran Yunfei was taken by Chinese authorities and was detained on suspicion of “subversion of state power”. Another Chinese blogger, Liang Haiyi, was arrested for the same reason.

Photo Source: hoabattublog.multiply.com

Another blogger, Ta Phong Tan, was detained at least three times during April and May 2010. On 20 April 2010, police forced their way into her home in Ho Chi Minh City, took her to the police station for interrogation, and later released her. Ta Phong Tan is a former policewoman who blogs about corruption and injustice in the Vietnamese legal system.

On 3 April 2010, hackers broke into the Internet accounts of the blogger Bui Thanh Hieu (who writes as Nguoi Buon Gio, or “Wind Merchant”). Ho Chi Minh City police also detained and interrogated him for a week in early March and for 10 days in August 2009, after he posted blogs criticising the government’s policies toward China, bauxite mining in the Central Highlands, and disputes with Catholics over church properties.

In January 2010, human rights activists Le Cong Dinh, Tran Huynh Duy Thuc and Le Thang Long were convicted on charges of attempting to “overthrow the government” for supporting the formation of an opposition party. They were sentenced to prison terms ranging from 5 to 16 years. All opposition political groups are banned in Vietnam.

On Mainstream Resolution

Fortunately, there is good news for Pinoy bloggers who seek change in our political system. Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago calls for the inclusion of online journalists and bloggers in media protection bill (Senate Bill 455) which seeks to amend Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code.

In an interview last January, she said that there is no reason why only members of the broadcast and print media should be included in the proposed law. Due regard must also be given to practitioners of the digital media. Even though they are not traditionally referred to as members of the media, they may actually be exposed to the same dangers encountered by institutional media practitioners. The bill was already approved at the committee level.

Bloggers as Catalysts for Change

Despite the recent mayhem, bloggers are indeed catalysts for change. 2011 is a year in which bloggers can help make our world a better place. Bloggers have been in unison to lead the charge to raise donations for aid organizations in Japan. And, through honest, unbiased reviews, bloggers are holding companies across the globe to higher standards of production and service. So whether you help save a life or just help a family save a few bucks, use your blog to help make the world a little better this year. Explore the blogosphere and fulfill your role.

Ken Michael Jon Taarup , Digital Communications

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