EU Want To Regulate Blogging
I don't know whether to laugh or cry. I've just seen this snappily-titled Motion for a European Parliament Resolution on Concentration and Pluralism in the Media in the European Union.
It appears that our elected officials in Brussels, never known for their love of the wild and crazy interweb, are now considering regulating blogging:
"...whereas weblogs are an increasingly common medium for self-expression by media professionals as well as private persons, the status of their authors and publishers, including their legal status, is neither determined nor made clear to the readers of the weblogs, causing uncertainties regarding impartiality, reliability, source protection, applicability of ethical codes and the assignment of liability in the event of lawsuits..."
Did they just say you're too dumb to tell the difference between news.bbc.co.uk and blog.iannelson.uk?
"...whereas the level of media literacy among the citizens of the European Union is below desirable levels and awareness of the need for media literacy is low..."
Yep, they did.
"Stresses the need to institute monitoring and implementation systems for media pluralism based on reliable and impartial indicators..."
Don't worry about it guys, Googlebot has that one covered for you.
"Proposes the introduction of fees commensurate with the commercial value of the user-generated content..."
At least that shouldn't cost me too much, judging by the quality of comments on this blog :-)
"Suggests clarifying the status, legal or otherwise, of weblogs and encourages their voluntary labelling according to the professional and financial responsibilities and interests of their authors and publishers..."
Voluntary labelling for blogs! I am utterly amazed and can't wait to hear what kind of information such labels should contain. Will it just be one of those CE logos on any blog that meets a set of standards? Maybe we can go for some traffic-light blobs like the ones on food, warning about the proportions of geekery, bad language, rumour-mongering, teenaged witterings about how unfair school was today, and general navel-gazing...?
"Recommends the inclusion of media literacy among the 9 basic competences..."
They called you dumb again.
"Recommends that the regulations governing state aid are implemented in a way allowing the public service media to fulfil its function in a dynamic environment..."
Because bloggers pose such a threat to the BBC, don't they?!
The whole thing is so utterly unbelievable that I wouldn't have believed it if I'd only read it on one of those dangerous unregulated weblog things. But there it is, in black and white, a PDF on europarl.europa.eu. Crazy.
Update - Daniel Hannan has picked up on this topic in today's Torygraph too.
Update 2 - and another thing - have they considered the practicalities of trying to regulate the web? This site, for example, is hosted on servers in the United States.