Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Media: lone bloggers not under threat

There has been a certain amount of concern as to whether bloggers might be caught by the proposed press regulations, and thus be exposed to crippling fines. However, in the debate last night in the Commons, the position was made clear by culture secretary Maria Miller.

A clause inserted into the coming Bill makes the law apply only to a "relevant publisher". Such a publisher would have to be publishing news-related material in the course of a business, the material would have to be written by a range of authors and it would have to be subject to editorial control.

These tests, says Miller, "would exclude a one-man band or a single blogger". The clause added is "specifically designed to protect small-scale bloggers", she said. Lone bloggers clearly do not meet the criteria necessary to include them in the regulatory maw.

However, online news sites such as Huffington Post, may well be caught in the net. Thus, if anything, this new law will have the effect of levelling the playing field between the clogs and the independent bloggers.

I am sure that is an unintended consequence, but I am not going to shed any tears if parasites such as Huffpost find life a little more difficult.