They hardly knew what blogs were before Intelligentsiya went live in January. Even today, radio, TV and newspapers all think that the word blog is interchangeable with Blogspot and that “blogsites” is also a term to describe it. Could it be an aversion to technology the journalists barely knew existed before the December putsh?
The aversion could also stem from the fact that most of the media have just gotten their heads around the whole business of the World Wide Web. The grand old FijiVillage is still there – emphasis on the old. And FijiLive, whose design is definitely past its used-by date, is trying to hold on to its reputation of online breaking news reporting
Then there’s the site that’s desperate for a top ranking of country sites, FijiTimesOnline.
FijiDailyPost went online last year, with its self-proclaimed “independent” reporting. There’s also Fiji TV whose newly redesigned site has an irritating urge for users to log in before seeing content that is much touted on the evening news bulletins.
The point is, bloggers have been a threat to the online presence of the established media. We’re taking eyeballs away from their websites, to quote Patrick Craddock of the USP journalism school, and they don’t like it. Internationally it’s becoming acceptable for staff writers, reporters, announcers, photographers - most media people - to blog as part of their work. But I think there was some horror (expressed by a journalist being interviewed on TV) that blogs should be mentioned in the same word as journalism.
Hence, the underlying hostility when the media reports on bloggers.
However, the paradox it created for bloggers was that while the media attention was focused on what the military were threatening to do to us, free speech became a tangled metaphor and some of the real issues that needed to be raised were pushed off the news agenda.
We definitely appreciated the media attention because it contributed to the military seeming to back down from censorship of cyberspace. But even bloggers were caught up in the coverage of ourselves.
Propaganda, fuels counter-propaganda, fuels counter-counter propaganda… An endless cycle of talking heads and back-chat while the country goes to hell in a handbasket.
For a good rundown of how every junta leader and his dog jumped on the blogger bandwagon last week and what we should not lose sight of, read FijianBlack’s assessment here.