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April 17, 2005

On the League's Brief

"Freedom of the press, or, to be more precise, the benefit of freedom of the press, belongs to everyone - to the citizen as well as the publisher.. The crux is not the publisher's 'freedom to print;' it is, rather, the citizen's 'right to know'"

I am encouraged and proud of the brief filed by our Bear Flag attorneys on our behalf. Although I don't report the news on the regular, there have been several occasions which I do specifically go places to report news. The knowledge that I could be shielded from legal actions like those filed against the Apple leakers is of great import to me and I strongly believe that our folks have the case exactly right.

The fact of the matter is that every writer, every blogger is up to snuff in the particular way we have looked at journalism traditionally. But we are learning new ways of communicating, there are new values given by new content. In many ways, it can be said that blogs are the shape they are, partially owing to the shape of the rest of news reporting. In that spectrum they have unique value and so they generate different expectations from their readers. But the principle of getting news to the public is exactly the same as with any other journalistic endeavor. Blogs are journals. Thus bloggers are entitled to the same legal protections as any other professional journalist. Although the Apple case is not an example, one could clearly see that investigative actions themselves, shared by journalists and bloggers alike, generate the vulnerability which without shield protection would stifle presentation of crucial information to the public.

I've always felt a little twingy about reporting certain things, and yet I've also felt that the blogosphere would be an excellent source for more serious communications. When Sean-Paul over at the Agonist published his PGP key and began taking interviews from senior officers in Iraq during the ramp-up, I was sure I was seeing something new and exciting. The Agonist has continued to be an excellent source of news and Sean-Paul's excellent reputation is well-deserved.

Clearly the California powers that be can step up in this matter and codify blogs as 'periodicals'. I believe that should be sufficient to show that when we decide to report news, that we bloggers will have all the protections of other journalists. The public deserves it.

Posted by mbowen at April 17, 2005 09:35 AM

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