Bloggers Plug the Democratic Deficit

I’m quoted in this Herald article about bloggers in Scotland.

Robert Sharp of English Pen, however, stressed that online sources and bloggers were now replacing newspapers in much of rural Scotland – putting themselves at risk.

He said: “The Highlands and Islands cannot depend on the established media to hold decision-makers to account.

“It is bloggers who plug the democratic gap, and they need a simple, clear law.

“If our rights are written in statute and not confusing case law, they would know where they stand and will be better equipped to scrutinise the people with money and power.”

I should say that after this was published, colleagues in the newspaper industry took me to task for the suggestion that bloggers are ‘replacing’ newspapers in rural Scotland. This is something they dispute. 

 I think what is not in contention is the idea that rural areas do not receive as much media scruting as cities, and that smaller blogs and social media groups can serve democracy on a hyper-local level in a way the traditional press outlets do not. these new media citizen journalists need a libel law that works for them.

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