Sunday, January 13, 2008
Should Blogs be Regulated?
That was the topic of this week's We, The People.
In an age of slackening social norms and increasing loneliness, blogs have come in like monster trucks, breaking all barriers and reshaping the Internet. Blogs are arguably the pioneers of Web 2.0. In India, there are 40,000 active bloggers (yours truly included) and at least 400,000 blogs! Of the 21.3 million Internet users in India, a shocking 18 million say that they check out blogs.
The debate began with a young blogger who openly displayed her lust for sex on her blog. Another blogger declared to the unknown virtual world that he was gay. These might be interpreted as being overtly personal or hiding one's identity using a digital guise.
An important point that came up in the debate was on comments: what kind of comments should be deemed acceptable and what sort of controls should one have on who visits their blogs? The truth is that the nastiest, most spiteful comments always - ALWAYS - come from people who declare themselves Anonymous. These people are scared to reveal themselves and the fact that they simply cannot deal with an alternative opinion.
The of course, there was the question of whether blogs (especially the kinds that interfere in people's personal lives i.e., "bad journalism") can be regulated, if at all they should. The general verdict, which I agree with, is that blogosphere is vast and decentralised that it would be very difficult if not impossible to regulate it. Then again, many said that the true characteristic of the Internet that makes it so iconic is that it is the only perfect democracy: where everybody has complete freedom of speech and the choice to choose. Hence, it would be wrong to control it.
Kudos to Barkha Dutt for effectively handling the debate. It was stimulating, insightful as well as inspiring. After all, quality is all that matters in a blog.