I agree with FIGJAM

I’ve had a good long think about the so-called Whaleoil Effect.

Justice Minister Simon Power has asked the Law Commission to review the adequacy of regulations around how the internet interacts with the justice system.

“I’ve ordered this review because it’s imperative the law keeps pace with technology and that we have one set of rules for all news media,” Mr Power said.

“At the moment we’ve got two tracks – conventional media and the so-called ‘new media’ – intersecting with the justice system, and it’s not sustainable.

The “new media” category includes the likes of bloggers, and professional journalists and regular citizens who use the likes of Twitter to report events in real-time.

“It’s a bit of a Wild West out there in cyberspace at the moment, because bloggers and online publishers are not subject to any form of regulation or professional or ethical standards,” Mr Power said.

“Issues I’m concerned about include how trials can be prejudiced by information posted on websites and seen by jurors, real-time online streaming of court cases, breaches of court suppression orders, and re-publication of a libel.

“Because of the enormous scope of this whole issue, the terms of reference for the review have been tightly defined.”

It will focus on whether either of the two existing industry watchdogs – the Broadcasting Standards Authority and the Press Council – could provide a suitable vehicle for regulating unregulated forms of new media.

At first I was against his idea, but after a good deal of thought and some research into what this would all mean I have come to the conclusion that bloggers should support this fine initiative from Simon “FIGJAM” Power.

There are two reasons to support it.

Firstly, because it legitimises bloggers. if we are to be members of the Press Council and subject to the Broadcasting Standards Authority then there really isn’t any viable objection to bloggers becoming members of the parliamentary Press Gallery, or any valid argument that we aren’t in fact part of the media. Prize cocks like Kevin Taylor wouldn’t then be able to ban bloggers from attending conferences as media. To do so would exhibit inherent bias on his part, a bias he doesn’t show to the mainstream media pinko luminaries like Damien Christie or Vernon Small yet he does against bloggers ostensibly from his own side. It will be an own goal and one set up by FIGJAM.

The second and more delicious prospect for this blogger is that under the rules and guidelines governing the Press Council and the Broadcasting Standards authority is when someone has a complaint they must first make their complaint to the broadcaster, which in my case would be to me. Long serving and loyal readers all know what happens when people make complaints or send legal letters to me. They get published. In total. The next step in the procedure would be for the broadcaster in question to conduct an investigation into the allegations. So I will be conducting an investigation into myself…sweet. Can’t wait for the results of those investigations…which of course, in the interests of communication and transparency will be published almost immediately.

So yes, with some thought and a little bit of research I can safely say that I am very much looking forward to the implementation of FIGJAM‘s new rules, that will once and for all bury any pretense that blogs are not media, broadcasters or press and will enable people to complain to the said broadcasters knowing that there are robust procedures that broadcaster must follow in dealing with complaints.

In fact so enamoured am I with his proposals I think I will put up a complaints procedure page and also start calling myself a broadcaster.

Boy, he’s cunning, that Simon Power, he’s even got me agreeing with him now.

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