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Guide for bloggers and cyberdissidents

Reporters Without Borders will release a “Guide for bloggers and cyberdissidents” on the 22nd of September. It will be available on the RWB's website in five languages (English, French, Persian, Chinese and Arabic) and includes an article on “anonymous blogging” by Ethan Zuckerman which was developed on the Global Voices wiki . We will feature some excerpts from the guide this week and next, beginning with this short description:

Blogs get people excited. Or else they disturb and worry them. Some people distrust them. Others see them as the vanguard of a new information revolution. Because they allow and encourage ordinary people to speak up, they're tremendous tools of freedom of expression.

Bloggers are often the only real journalists in countries where the mainstream media is censored or under pressure. Only they provide independent news, at the risk of displeasing the government and sometimes courting arrest.

Reporters Without Borders has produced this handbook to help bloggers, with handy tips and technical advice on how to remain anonymous and to get round censorship, by choosing the most suitable method for each situation. It also explains how to set up and make the most of a blog, to publicise it (getting it picked up efficiently by search-engines) and to establish its credibility through observing basic ethical and journalistic principles.

  • Notwithstanding the fact that only a minority of bloggers have the ambition of being a source of independent news, those that do must always be reminded that if they intend to take the position of a journalist, they must understand and abide by the Code Of Ethics for Journalists.

    This is their biggest failing and impediment. This is why the abovementioned handbook for such categories of bloggers will be of most help.

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  • Please take into account that ethics can be nuanced and that repressive regimes can “judicially” construe dissent as sedition. The guide book should also include a crisis action plan, where a blogger can alert others worldwide in cases of contigency. The guide book should also lay out ITU’s stand on routers and servers strewn all across the world.

    Mathew Maavak

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  • Well, the guidebook for “cyberdissidents” and it’s anonymity tips, will be seen by national regimes as well. Improvisation on both sides is a natural outcome – one to track and the other to duck.

  • sivaparanjothy

    well said totoro..but i dont know how jeff ooi could have made mince meat out of you when all you did was draw hypthetical situations so opinions could be discussed. i dont understand his need for the use of foul and obscene language on his blog. yes, it is his use of foul and crude language – not that of his readers/posters.

    this is the same bloke who it seems sets up his blog claiming to have built it on the principles of free speech … and then goes on to abuse posters for expressing their opinions.

    when accused, his reader totoro explained to him and politely asked him for reasons as to why the blogger accused him of “farting on his blog” repeatedly, his reaction was to continue to abuse him verbally through repeated use of the same crude language.

    clearly this blogger needs to be given a lesson in the polite use of language to make a point. spare us readers this obnoxious behaviour.

    clearly the blogger does not tolerate criticism of his own position over public issues – in this case perceived criticism (of his views). we are not questioning the use of his personal discretion in deciding what to allow on his blog. but applying double standards and harassing his own reader through the use of foul language??

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