The unpopular parts of the blogosphere have got all in a tizzy about the PCC expanding into regulating blogs. Round robins have been signed, letters have been sent to ministers, high horses have been mounted. For nothing. It was all a misinterpretation which could have been corrected by one of them simply calling the PCC and asking them for comment. Guido did this basic check. This apparently makes him an establishment toady. Guido thought it was just good journalistic practice.
Roy Greenslade has just published a clarification:
Buscombe clarifies blogging intentions: only volunteers will be regulated: PCC chairman Peta Buscombe has said she does not want to regulate bloggers after all unless they sign up for it
In her letter she refers to “my apparent proposal to regulate the blogosphere” and clarifies what she said to The Independent’s media writer Ian Burrell. She writes:
“My point to him was about the dangers of over-regulation, the misplaced desire that can be common to governments to seek to control areas of freedom. Blogging, as your letter rightly suggests, is a clear area where freedom of expression is absolutely paramount. I have no desire to infringe on that. My point was that, as there is already pressure to increase regulation of the internet, it is important to make clear that this must not lead to some form of statutory interference. Rather, a system of self-regulation (such as exists by the PCC for newspapers) would be more appropriate, if any bloggers wished to go down that route. [my italics] I say ‘wish’, because any advance in this area would have to be consensual. Self-regulation is about collaboration between willing parties. The PCC is not in any way constituted to impose its views on the unwilling and cannot simply extend its remit to cover non-newspaper sites.”
In other words, she is making it clear that she does not want to regulate bloggers after all unless they sign up for it.
The Fabian Society’s Sunda Katawala has tried to do some rebuttal, as well as some sub-editing, but the fact remains, the PCC had no intention of regulating blogs, nor could it without consent and no consent will be forthcoming. Guido also spoke with the Indy’s Ian Burrell, he confirms the obvious “Regarding blog regulations, I don’t think they are going to impose it. They can’t impose it can they? They would need to work with people voluntarily”. So comrade bloggers, don’t fear, the storm in a tea-cup is abated…