In order to trust bloggers’ views on a particular issue they should be rated for ‘authenticity’, said European Parliament member, Marianne Mikko in a report which recommends the European Commission and EU member states regulate the media through competition law.
Mikko’s report suggested the legal status of blog authors be ascertained, along with full disclosure of their intentions or interests which could compromise the blog’s objectivity.
The MEP also called for voluntary labelling of blogs by their authors, although what outcome Mikko expects from this initiative is uncertain. Does she want people to tag the blog with elements like age, sex, location, employment status, education or political leanings?
This would not be considered as being in line with print media standards by most, although Mikko seems to think it is.
In an interview with the EU Observer the MEP said: “The Economist is a valuable brand, its articles are trusted by readers without contributors having to reveal their names.
“If there is a way to validate the best bloggers in the same way that publishing in The Economist validates its writers, it should be done.”
While Mikko said the EU would not need to know the ‘exact’ identity of the blogger, she seems to think the blogosphere operates in the same way as print media.
Print media might supply validation in the form of individuals writing for a company and in turn being vetted by it, but of course print media also pays its contributors.
Most bloggers write in their spare time on their own dime purely out of interest in or passion for a particular topic.
What Mikko wants is validation of expertise. She asked why a “radical high-school student from Gaza” should be taken as seriously as a Harvard professor on the topic of the Middle East peace process.
This journalist thinks she misses the point of the blogosphere entirely. Has Mikko ever read the Baghdad Blog?
“We need some credentials, a quality mark, a certain disclosure of who is writing and why. We need this to be able to trust and rely on the source,” she said to the EU Observer.
By Marie Boran
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