Russia has a bill before parliament suggesting a 10,000 audience threshold at which point a blog or other “independent” (non-traditional) news source Â automatically becomes eligible to be part of the “mass” (or main stream) media.
The Russian newspaper Izvestia quotes an unnamed parliamentary source as saying that the proposed legislation is part of suggested amendments to Russiaâ€™s Law on Mass Media. Izvestiaâ€™s source allegedly said that the figure of 10,000 daily visitors already has been fixed in draft proposals, but that it hadnâ€™t yet been specified if this was a single-time threshold or a mean visitor index.
When a blogger registers for media accreditation, he or she will automatically have the obligationÂ to observe all legal norms applied to registered news mediaÂ outlets, which includes the obligation to verify information before distributing it and responsibility for the consequences caused by publications. Izvestia adds, that the bill is based legislation [on] used by Israel.
Makes sense that you can’t have a foot in both camps. Â Once you apply as “media”, you are subject to all the benefits as well as all the responsibilities.
But, this has far reaching consequences
- Would accreditation enable independent media likeÂ nsnbcÂ international to protect its sources on equal footing with â€śmassâ€ť media?
- Does accreditation imply access to press conferences, access to crime scenes, access to information that is usually reserved for â€śmassâ€ť media?
- Does accreditation protect aspiring independent media from unlawful closures of their websites under false pretenses, as it happened withÂ nsnbcÂ international at least once within one year?
- Does this accreditation mean thatÂ remunerationÂ of contributors from the â€śsparseâ€ť advertising revenue and â€śalmost non-existentâ€ť donations would become tax deductible?
- Does it mean that small, independent media enjoy the same protection as mass media when someone sues them for libel?
- Would independent newspapers, likeÂ nsnbc,Â be held accountable for the material of each individual blogger and his/her material?
Oddly enough, we already follow most of the responsibilities without having any of the benefits.
And if Russsia has a 10,000 daily visitor threshold in mind for a population of around 145 million, would that mean that for countries like New Zealand the threshold is going to be proportionally lower? Â Using that figure NZ blogs would only require about 110 daily visitors to meet the mark.
At that point, just about any New Zealand blog would qualify for media accreditation.
But then again, under our laws, media isn’t about audience size. Â It is about what you do.
The law is very clear: Â publish or broadcast to the public anything of public interest that wasn’t in the public domain before.