Blogging: A hazardous occupation in Alabama; Egypt, China, Iran, New Zealand.

“Freedom of the Press is guaranteed only to those who own one.

A. J. Liebling (1904-1963) of The New Yorker (1935-1963)

“Journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed: everything else is public relations.”

George Orwell. (requoted in the New York Post)

Worldwide, bloggers are being lauded as the new wave of journalism; Bloggers are recognised as Citizen Journalists. Simultaneously bloggers are decried as unremittingly polemical and irredeemably abusive. This by Governments and judiciaries wordwide. Bloggers are accorded none of the privileges of the established media with the  inherent right to keep secret he identity of their sources. If bloggers offend the wrong agency they are jailed and  killed outright.

What do the countries of Egypt,¬† China and Iran New Zealand and some U.S states have in common with regards to adherence to tenets upholding the ‘Freedom¬† of the press’?

All are hostile  environs for bloggers to file both opinion pieces and stories based on information provided by primary sources.

From the sublime:

New Zealand: Is Whale Oil a journalist?

“A blogger (Cameron Slater of whale Oil Beef Hooked) who broke the Len Brown sex scandal story has been ordered to reveal confidential sources after a judge ruled his site was not a “news medium.”

(NZ Herald)

To the ridiculous:

Alabama:‘I’m not some whack job’, says jailed Alabama blogger Roger Schuler

“An Alabama blogger who continued to write about the alleged extramarital affair of a prominent lawyer despite a court order was arrested and jailed last week. He was still being held without bond as of Tuesday, according to reports”.


And the downright  insidious:


Sattar Beheshit, Iranian blogger was beaten in prison according to prosecutor.

“TEHRAN, Iran — Iran’s state prosecutor has confirmed for the first time that a blogger who died in police custody last month had been beaten.”


Egyptian blogger arrested in widening crackdown:

(Reuters) – “A prominent Egyptian blogger said on Tuesday he had been arrested, the latest political activist to be detained in a widening crackdown on dissent by the army-backed government.”

US research and data backs up the theory that bloggers and freelance writers are being persecuted and killed in growing numbers:

From the World Information Access Project:

WIA Blogger Arrests around the World

“Unfortunately, one way to assess the political importance
of blogging around the world is through the growing
number of blogger arrests. Since 2003, 64 citizens
unaffiliated with news organizations have been arrested
for their blogging activities.
The topics of these blog posts vary, as do the kind of
criminal charges and punishments handed down.
Altogether 940 months of jail time has been served by
bloggers around the world. China, Egypt and Iran
account for more than half of all the arrests since 2003.
These bloggers expose bureaucratic corruption or
human rights abuses and express opinions about
political figures and public policy options. They post
reports and photos from social protests. They write
about political artwork, or share images and texts that
some feel violate cultural norms.”
And that seems to be the offensive element that attracts the ire of the Government Agencies and Judiciaries alike
Bloggers just don’t play nice or pay lip service to accepted cultural mores¬† in the way that media outlets of previous generations did:
The¬† Hanna Barbera aphorism, ‘those meddling kids’, best¬† describes the conflict between the Establishment and upstart bloggers. We can look back into the annals of history for insight:
Karl Kraus (1874-1936)
Karl Kraus was a preeminent writer and journalist from the turn of the 19th century; the period that marked the last glorious epoch of the old Austro-Hungarian Empire.
Kraus was most known for editing the influential magazine ‘Die Fackel ( the torch); a magazine that exposed the crimes, lies and miss-steps of Austrian society. He targeted the press of the day, which he considered complicit and a plague on society.
Die Fackel was the equivalent of today’s blogs. Maligned, misunderstood and misrepresented, It nevertheless retained a huge and influential audience.
Much like today’s most influential blogs.
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