It occurred to me this morning that bloggers may just wield a more powerful tool than they realize. I was writing an article for my Knoxville Social Media Examiner column entitled, “Russia’s new blogger law tightens censorship of the Internet.” With Russia’s recent crackdown on bloggers and the new blogger laws put in place, it is apparent that the Kremlin is afraid of bloggers for some reason. Perhaps bloggers have a bit more influence than they think they do.
If Russian bloggers have a readership of 3,000, they must register their blog with the government and publicize their contact information. If they commit any infractions such as inaccurate information or obscenities, they will be heavily fined. More importantly, if they publish anything the government does not like, the new laws provide that websites and blogs can be removed with no explanation given.
Despite the photos showing Russian President Vladimir Putin without a shirt, swimming in ice-cold water or wrestling wild animals, it appears some sweet little mommy blogger is very frightening to him. Seriously, you see that this is really about stifling anti-government opinions. One part of the law you may find interesting is that the blogger is legally responsible for any comments made on his or her blog.
In the United States, people get most of their news from the Internet, and bloggers and free-lance journalists are often the source of the stories. Blogging is a big responsibility, regardless of what your niche is, but if you blog about news and politics, your words will carry more weight than you think. Government officials, like business leaders, know that your words have power, whether positive or negative. (One or two bad reviews can destroy a business.)
Blogging is truly a privilege, but having the trust of your readers is an awesome responsibility, too. Apparently, you are also a bit of a threat to the powers to be. That is really something to think about, isn’t it?