Blogs and Press Freedom

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Blogs represent a new type of medium in which journalism is participatory and available to anyone. However, as with any new communications technology, there are unique challenges to blogging as a medium, both legal and ethical. Therefore, it is important to ask the question: Should bloggers have the same journalistic rights as traditional journalists?

The situation is complex because there are so many different types of blogs and bloggers. Whereas certain news bloggers need journalistic rights in order to ensure reporting accuracy and confidentiality, other bloggers do not need these same rights. There is no clear line that differentiates a journalist from a webmaster. Therefore, though bloggers can be journalists, uniformly treating every blogger as a journalist may carry unintended consequences. As a result, it is important to reevaluate freedom of the press rights and other legislation in their application to blogs.

To do this, we will investigate 3 main topics: the legal basis for freedom of the press and its application to blogs, the practice of blogging as a journalistic medium, and several case studies of blogs and freedom of the press. Our findings are summarized and can be accessed at right.

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