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Friday, 3 October 2008


Last week MEPs voted through a report by my Estonian MEP colleague Marianne Mikko. The report was on the importance of media pluralism. The report covered problems with the concentration of media ownership into a small number of companies. It also called for more transparency about media ownership as well as encouraging use of the 'digital dividend' spectrum to promote media plurality.

These are important issues, but as often happens with Parliamentary reports, the main issues were overshadowed at the last moment by other concerns. The report turned into a debate about proposals to register bloggers.

Marcel Berlins wrote about this in the Guardian last week, although he may have slightly misrepresented Marianne Mikko's position.

I was one of a number of MEPs who strongly argued that the blogosphere should be kept open. There are already existing legal measures to deal with illegal content online. We should not be restricting or registering bloggers who play a vital role in our democracy.

Of course those who express concern that bloggers have hidden agendas and can hide behind anonymity are right to be concerned. But the solution is for us to improve media literacy in the public at large, not to demand registration of bloggers.

A compromise was made on the report before the final vote. The report, as adopted, simply encourages an open debate about clarifying the legal status of blogs.

Surely we can all agree to that. I'm sure much of that debate will take place on blogs themselves.

You can read the final report here:

There's also more on the position of other MEPs here:

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