Are blogger the new journalists?
Are blogger journalists? Blogger are more and more present and begin to play an important role – not only since the riots in the Arab world. The FBI thinks about adding prominent bloggers to members of the press. But are people who write without a formation and without guidelines really journalists?
Some time there has been a fight between Lina Ben Mhenni and the Tunisian authorities. The young woman from Tunis was feared by the mighties. She wrote on her blog in French, Arabic and English about themes which were unusual in the Tunisian media like oppression and censorship. Therefore her blog, a Tunisian girl, was soon forbidden in Tunisia. But she went on to criticize the policy of her country by finding supporters in other country who helped her to publish her articles. There are people who say that it was the blog of Lina Ben Mhenni which had have a strong influence on the fail of the tunesian government, because she informed about the events in her country and organized protests.
Lina isn´t a journalist. She began after a high school year in the United States with blogging, only for writing about her daily life, her experiences and feelings. After a while she started to write about political topics. She never learned the tools of journalism.
However can she be seen as a journalist? Is it not the task of the media to inform the public and to give them the possibility of opinion formation? Bloggers don´t have to take care about qualitative or ethical guidelines. Now it´s possible to argue that Lina didn´t write about something – she wrote against something, the politics of her country. Therefore she is more like an activist than like a journalist. But perhaps the information from bloggers are sometimes more objective than in professional media, because bloggers aren´t dependant on stakeholders. There are some people who trust more in the information from blogs than in the news of professional media. How reputable the role of bloggers today is, shows also the fact that the FBI thinks about adding prominent bloggers to members of the press or the fact that they are sometimes invited for press conferences.
Lina has left the commitee for reformation of the Tunisian media, which the new government has created, – she continues to write independant about her point of view on her blog.