The Advocate’s editorial today is dedicated to blogging and clearly mentions Barbados Free Press and Barbados Underground.
‘polibogs (political blogs)’
No! I don’t think so, both frequently cover non-political topics.
Observation by our frequent writer Adrian Loverige
MORE than one commentator in recent times has commented on the role played by the popular local blogs in the recent elections. The blog, or web log, as it is more formally known, takes a variety of forms, but essentially describes an online journal. They can be the personal musings of one author or, like the local “poliblogs” (political blogs) Barbados Free Press and Barbados Underground, can be written by many authors, or contributors, on a common set of topics. Online media such as the BBC, the Trinidad Express and the Times, to name a few, provide opportunities on bIogs, for readers to discuss topics which they have covered. It should be also noted that both of the major parties in Barbados employ blogs as a means of communicating with its supporters and others.
The blog is not immediately to be compared to a newspaper, so far as the law is concerned. It allows for a greater degree of anonymity, thus guaranteeing a degree of freedom of expression quite unlike that historically provided to the press. It is not that the blog is not subject to the laws of defamation, for example, but the ability to identify the writer is fraught with procedural difficulty, and the liability of the host provider for the statements of a contributor is not absolute.
There is no doubt however that the blog is here to stay. It has democratised free speech in a way that was not possible a few years ago, when “only a small number of powerful speakers (and writers) could dominate the marketplace of ideas”. Now, as the court put it in a recent Delaware case, the Internet blog allows anyone to “become a town crier with a voice that resonates more than it could from any soapbox”.
More than that, in Barbados the political blogs, without judicial or legislative intervention, have served to revolutionise the traditional balance between the individual interest in reputation and the right to freedom of expression, and have done so in a way that goes beyond even the much acclaimed US defamation law. At present, officialdom seems prepared to ignore this, but it is at least incongruous that one law should apply to online communication while a different, and more restrictive, law applies to the printed media. And by all indications, the readership of these blogs is in excess of that of the two local daily newspapers.
Freedom and development
We make it clear that we are by no means proposing that the blogs be restricted in their freedom of expression, but rather that the authorities consider carefully whether such freedom is in keeping with the development path of this island and, if so, whether it should not also be extended to other media.
In the Delaware case to which we referred above, the court treated the blog as a “vehicle for the expression of opinions” and held that a reasonable person reading blog statements would not necessarily “assume that such statements are factually based and researched”, as opposed to, say, those in the Wall Street journal In consequence, these were to be regarded as either “subjective speculation” or “mere hyperbole” and thus not actionable.
With all due respect to that court, we differ from this view. We consider rather that the blog is merely the online equivalent of a newspaper, and that they should both be subject to the same laws in respect of freedom of expression; no more, no less.
Read an excellent article on this subject posted over on a sister blog: Living in Barbados: Blogging: The local press takes note
Adrian we have no comment on this except to say the push is on by the status quo to destroy blogs. How silly? How can they stop something which is a worldwide phenomenon.
Shows their ignorance doesn’t it. To be fair to them we have been attacking them so we have to be prepared to take it. In the coming weeks we will be returning the favour.
Dave, where’s your link to the story!!!!
Could n’t find it, online!!!! Think they could be growing-up, at last?!!!!
Useless immature idiot.
Does the Nation ever write articles to say that the Advocate mentioned them?
Both Barbados Free Press and Barbados Underground have an idiotic policy of posting notices whenever any mention is made of them in the established press, and it makes you look childish and unprofessional.
Blogs are here to stay whether one likes it or not. It is a medium which politicians and the mainstream press should use to feel the pulse of the people. I think that the last year or so leading up to the elections in Barbados has taught everyone a lesson about the effectiveness of the blogs. Believe me blogs carry a tremendous amount of weight and credibility here in the USA and I am sure they will too in Barbados. Any entity who attacks or tries to destroy any blog will be doing so to its detriment.
Ditto to Tony. I don’t care much what the Advocate or the Nationnews writes about the blogs, as Tony stated the international best practices of blogs are there for all to see. They may very well know a lot of things about Barbados and Barbadians , but the elites in Bim seems unable to connect these things to form a sequential picture story from all these things that they may know. Bajans do a lot of things in secret, and i know for a fact that things are communicated under the radar about what people read on these blogs, and the number of Barbadians being made aware of and are subsequently logging on to the blogs or are encourage to start recording their thoughts in their own Blogs is growing. There is a virtual consituency in Barbados, a select group of persons connected by a medium of communication with which they share ideas, and are deepening unity amongst themselves, there by making this constituency a dependable source for power in numbers on a number of things, some of which are, which political party to vote for, which retailers to boycott, what newspapers to stop buying etc. it is going to get very interested as Barbadians avail themselve of technology to communicate amongst themselves without oversight or should i say the peering eyes of the elites, and the landed gentry. The group is 7,000 strong and growing.
You could not have said it any better. Excellent comment.
The Advocate finally mentions Barbados Underground and BFP some two years after all this blogging business started in earnest, but it took the fall of a government for them to do so.
After our recent election, the newspapers and the politicians fear the blogs.
It might help to keep them honest.
As far as I can tell, the Advocate has not yet updated its website. We are still on Wednesday’s edition.
What is this here in Barbados? I know there is a culture of not keeping to time (I’ve read Harold Hoyte’s “How To Be a Bajan”) and I am quite comfortable with this in social events. But when it comes to public services, libraries, government health centres AND the private practices of doctors (see the waiting in their rooms, even though you have an appointment, etc. commitment to timekeeping is dismal, to say the least.
My last experience at the QEH was that, even though I had an appointment time, I was told this same time was given to everyone, and then we waited. And of course, there was plenty of queue-jumping.
McEnearny’s have a ticket system, but the tickets in my local Health Centre are dog-eared and possibly chewed over the years, I hope nothing nasty is transferred as I sit there with it in my hand! Cable and Wireless Customer Service in Government Hill is now unbelievable – flashing signals, soft voice-over, to keep us in line – I like it!
Sorry for the rant, but come on, Advocate, kick some-one’s butt and update your website. I do not buy the paper version anymore. Perhaps should send this to the Advocate!!
Unfortunately we had to scan the article because the rag has not updated its online version the last time we checked.
By attempting to foist on some persons, businesses and other entities in Barbados an old, dingy and failed thinking of his, it seems like Professor Michael Howard wishes to see Barbados return to those ole dark and unenlightened ages of yore, whereby ruling elites of Barbados used to dominate the affairs of the country by, among other things, keeping the masses ignorant of many subjects and affairs affecting them.
But, because, we, esp. of the masses of people of Barbados, are no longer existing in those times, but are living in greater times of enlightenment and progression, it must be the duty of the People’s Democratic Congress – a progressive party of the masses and middle classes of people of Barbados – to let Professor Howard know in NO UNCERTAIN terms that gone are those days when so-called highly trained university lecturers in Barbados and elsewhere, would rationalize that they had the monopoly on the conceptualization, analysis and dissemination of the greater forms of appropriate ideas, theories, and models for assisting in the further growth and development of any society of this world or segments of it. As well, that gone are those days when they used to think that they had this automatic right to enthrall and enchant throngs of unquestioning, supine and genuflecting followers, esp. university students, who were very much the hapless recipients of the indoctrinations and shibboleths they were spewing forth.
Why we make those kinds of opening remarks is, indeed, in light of a story on the front page of the Nation Newspaper of Thursday, January 31, 2007, and under the big bold caption: LEAVE VAT! That this story so verily sought to depict Mr. Howard in the imagery of a reactionary neo-colonial thinker is indeed apposite to what might be a rather ill-considered and absurd view of his that he is the leading taxation economist in Barbados. Truly, we make this bold speculative statement given that, for us, ECONOMICS is really the inverted political ideology, philosophy and psychology of the then industrializing European elites, ruling classes, and their supporters, and has therefore been an old dehumanizing discipline used by them and their descendants to assist in the domination and exploitation of Europeans of the lower classes and non-Europeans worldwide. Economics has thus been very anti-national planning and development where Barbados is concerned. Therefore, who in their most conscious and right mind would want that type of acclaim – the leading taxation economist in Barbados, esp. given the just preceding information and the information following?
So, here is it that we have an old economics theortician who, inspite of the havoc and distress that TAXATION has long been wrecking on the integrity of the production and distribution sytems of Barbados over the years, and who, in spite of the oppression and exploitation that this said TAXATION system has been meting out to esp. the masses and middle classes of people of Barbados over the years, would go on to utter that the VAT should not be tampered with and should not be dealt a mighty blow, even. Since its introduction in 1997, the VAT has been very draconian and harmful in its impact on the masses and middle classes, and on the industrial and commercial affairs of this country. Could you imagine that this middle class citizen of Barbados would be so unwisely valiant in defence of this VAT system – another Eurocentric invention that would really have been designed to help bring about all of this untold damage (helping to bring about the skyrocketing cost of living, etc.) that it has so far been wrecking the livelihoods of the masses and middle classes of people of Barbados and elsewhere?
Any how let us tell this nutty professor something: that, unlike him, many Barbadian people, businesses and other entites are becoming more enlightened about what is really TAXATION – inclusive of the fact that it is a very harmful component of ECONOMICS – and about what are many of TAXATION’s destructive effects. They are fast recognizing that TAXATION is theft; theft by the state and its relevant agents of many portions of the incomes of the relevant persons, businesses and other entities in Barbados. Therefore, having already known that theft is an evil act, process, or thing, they are fast coming to realization that TAXATION is also evil and wrong. Which means that TAXATION is an abominable, diabolical and an anti-people’s method that the leaders and managers of state use to arrive at most of the money that they say has to be spent on these various things that they say the state has to involve itself in. Indeed, Mr. Howard, in his half baked contribution in the said Nation Newspaper, does fail to account for some of these destructive ideological, philosophical and structural underpinnings supporting the origins and maintenance of this vile and murderous TAXATION system. Finally, Mr. Howard must be told too that notwithstanding his old, dingy and failed thinking related to the VAT and TAXATION, that such will NOT be enough to stop the time that is fast approaching when NO longer in Barbados will TAXATION be carried out, as that it SHALL BE ABOLISHED by a future and very enlightened PDC Government, supported by an enlightened and progressive masses and middle classes in Barbados.
Does anyone know if the Advocate’s printed editorial article about the blogs had slipped through the cracks; if it were too late to pull back so they decided not to publish their Wednesday on-line edition?
That will not be very smart of the Advocate because if you look above you might have notice that BU was still able to have the full text from the paper edition of the RAG posted on BU.
Now you see why we have to continue to thank and prase the blogs such as BU & BFP for providing and out let such as this one.
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The Advocate and the Nationnews have only themselves to blame. I have sent countless articles to those two rags over the years and have never once gotten publish. I wouldn’t be wasting my time with them ever again. I have also stop purchasing the print edition which you can get in Boston although a day or two stale, and i am activly encouraging others to keep their 3 usd in their pockets and tune into the blogs for real news. We can survive with the 20-25% content of the online version, supplimented with VOB and Jumptv-cbctv. For those who are in England where i believe Jump TV requires paid access (it’s free in the US) you may try loggin on to the internet via a US base proxy service then unto to Jumptv.
The truth is BU and BFP need other people to start to blog about all kinds of other interest. This will have the effect of promoting the idea that there are alternative sources of information even if it is the social media. People currently operate under the misguided view that a journalist can only work for a traditional newspaper or TV station.
Anybody who can report on news can become a journalist. If Barbados is the educated society we brag about finding people to come forward should not be that difficult. We in the BU household do not consider ourselves journalists but it is said sometimes that the blind shall lead the way.
They are one by one mentioning the blogs. It was Johnson’s turn on the radio this evening. An acceptance of the inevitability maybe?