Growing media trend: Bloggers building a case to be classified as credible news media reporters for "free press" rights.
The Jointblog supports this position. It's another reason to support the concept of "Net Neutrality" (here and here). More and more grassroots, street-level news (ignored or unpursued by the mainstream media) is delivered by blogging whistle blowers (sometimes by sources whom want to remain anonymous). Sometimes the publically-traded corporations (like Apple or Microsoft, Viacom, etc.) benefit from the free publicity and word-spreading; sometimes they lose control of information they don't want known. However, to have one, we must have the other; otherwise, it doesn't work. If corporate or government secrets are sometimes exposed for the public good, isn't that a good thing to have? Isn't that the Darwinian nature of capitalism in America?
This Thursday, a California appeals court will hear arguments in a two-year-old case aimed at determining whether California's reporter shield law applies to bloggers.
The case pits Apple Computer against bloggers, who published details about a new product known as "Asteroid." Apple didn't sue the bloggers themselves, but submitted subpoenas to the online ISP and publishing carriers of the blogs in an attempt to discover the identity of the leaker.
Unlike the federal government, California long ago passed a shield law stating that reporters can't be held in contempt for refusing to divulge their sources. Logically, it's hard to see why that law wouldn't apply to bloggers as well as traditional journalists, but the justice system often moves slower than technology, and the issue remains unclear.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation has taken up the cause and will argue that bloggers and other online journalists are as entitled as their ink-stained counterparts to keep confidential sources private.
You can see their side of the issue here and read a related article here.
In a country that supposedly protects its citizen's rights, its Bill of Rights and its Constitution as the highest standard under God, let's hope the court remembers not to be divisible. Corporate America already holds too much power as it is.
A blogger's private stash is sacred territory...don't mess with the private stash! The digital freedom of bloggers within the law is essential, including keeping its ability to speak and protect the truth. Especially for stories based in truthiness...
posted by Chris Kennedy @ Tuesday, April 18, 2006,