Barbadian blogs are some of the most outspoken in the Caribbean, regularly taking politicians and mainstream media to task for issues such as transparency and public accountability. The landslide opposition victory in the country's recently held general elections has raised the issue of the power of the blogosphere and whether popular political blogs like Barbados Free Press and Barbados Underground had a role to play in influencing the vote.
Neither the DLP nor the Barbados news media want to mention the blogs and the voice that every citizen now has.
Neither the DLP nor the Barbados news media want to mention how much of the public’s vote was driven by the growing realization and disgust of the corrupt activities of the past government AND the growing public realization and disgust with the spineless Barbados news media.
Neither the DLP nor Peter Wickham want to mention that during the election they turned to the Bajan blogs because they realized that the new media is now playing a significant role in our society.
Keltruth Corp., however, was quick to address the issue in his own blog:
Role of the Blogs plus a Few Brave Souls!
The more established blogs have really delivered on the news that the Nation, Advocate and CBC would not touch. Things that the ruling party would have preferred swept under the carpet were brought to light. Congratulations especially to BU and BFP for their amazing coverage of the news and the elections. Bravo!
Congratulations to those brave souls actually residing in the island, who kept passing on and reporting the news despite the numerous threats.
Way back in July 2006, Barbados Free Press blogged about a call for internet regulation by then-Deputy Prime Minister Mia Mottley:
…the Deputy Prime Minister of Barbados is calling for changes to our system of government – saying that call-in shows “will continue to predominate” and that internet blogs “marginalize…parliaments and cause disrespect (for the rule of law and institutions that keep our society safe,)”…
Ms. Mottley is now the Leader of the Opposition and while she personally has not resurrected the issue of internet regulation, the topic still appears to be very much on the table – a topic that is of great interest to us here at Global Voices.
Barbados Free Press reports that a former Deputy Speaker of the House of Assembly has spoken out against the blogs in a mainstream newspaper, calling them “a virulent threat to democracy”:
Ezra Alleyne Just Doesn’t Get It.
The world has changed. The elites of media, government and business no longer have the ability to censor information from the public. No longer can they control the discussion by ignoring issues and preventing them from being discussed in a public forum. No longer can they make court cases and other news “disappear” from the public record when it suits their purpose.
On this evening’s talk show, our eardrums were offended by the preamble delivered by Dr. Don Marshall, a lecturer at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Cave Hill. In essence, he suggested that the unregulated environment in which Barbados Free Press and Barbados Underground peddles information is a dangerous development which should concern Barbadians. He believes that if Barbadians have to resort to the blogs to air their views then we are not living in a democracy – words to that effect.
It smacks of a high class hypocrisy that Marshall would make a statement on national radio to imply that the Bajan blogosphere is a negative for Barbados.
So are Bajan blogs under attack? That may still be up for debate, but according to Barbados Free Press, the Bajan blogosphere is here to stay:
Welcome to the future. Most of us newly-active Bajan voters are young and idealistic… and we are online.
There are over 2 million WordPress blogs in existence today. While the stats change daily, at this moment CNN News Political Ticker is the #1 most popular WordPress blog in the world.
Fox News Presidential Campaign Blog is the #3 WordPress blog in the world.
And on Wednesday, January 16, 2008, the #4 WordPress blog in the world is Barbados Free Press.
That’s right… a nothing little blog run by a group of amateur writers on a tiny Caribbean island is, right now, the #4 most popular WordPress blog in the world.