Europe To Regulate Bloggers Along With Traditional Media

from the right-to-reply dept

Declan McCullough takes on European bureaucrats for their latest proposal to require the “right to reply” for any online media, whether it’s professional or amateur. The original idea behind “right to reply” is that if a news organization says something negative about you, you should be given a fair chance to respond. The problem of course, is that the law puts the burden on the news organization to afford to “offended party” the space to respond. This can have a chilling effect on news organizations that shy away from controversial topics to avoid the associated burden. McCullough notes that the original ruling said only “professional media”, but has been downgraded to include bloggers as well. The bureaucrats defend this by saying that bloggers have become influential enough that they need to offer this ability to respond. I’m a bit confused. Why can’t the offended party just respond on their own website? In the case of many bloggers, this shouldn’t matter – since they don’t mind taking on a little fight and pointing out what their critics say (and why they’re wrong). The burden here is saying that they’re required to give this information equal billing, taking up prime real estate. Also, how do you determine who is the correct offending party? What if fifty different people have fifty different viewpoints, and all want their say? The nice thing about the internet is that anyone can put their own site online and publicize it. This is really a marketing issue. If someone has a point to make, and thinks someone else is wrong, they should tell people about it, and get attention for their own viewpoint. If it has merit, it should get the attention necessary, rather than being forced to take up the initial site’s time and space.

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