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Monday, November 24, 2008

Is Blogging Lobbying?

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Blogger beware? State regulators are wondering whether online political activism amounts to lobbying, which could force Web-based activists to file public reports detailing their finances.

In a collision of 21st century media and 1970s political reforms, the inquiry hints at a showdown over press freedoms for bloggers, whose self-published journals can shift between news reporting, opinion writing, political organizing and campaign fundraising.
State officials are downplaying any possible media rights conflict, pointing out that regulators have already exempted journalistic blogging from previous guidelines for online campaign activity.


But the blogosphere is taking the notion seriously. One prominent liberal blogger in Seattle is already issuing a dare - if the government wants David Goldstein to file papers as a lobbyist, it will have to take him to court.

Goldstein, publisher of the widely read horsesass.org, wants to know how his political crusades could be subject to financial disclosures while newspaper writers, radio hosts and others in traditional media get a pass.

For most bloggers, Goldstein said, the work "is a hobby, a sideline. And yet they contribute greatly to the public debate and to the new journalism."

"When you start talking about regulating Internet activity, you open up a Pandora's Box," he said.

Source: Seattle Times
Hat Tip: Freedom Folks (via Ace)


Commentary

I would expect that as blogs become more trusted than the Legacy Media outlets (at least most of us aren't afraid to tell you our bias), that this sort of thing will become more and more prevalent.

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