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Session 2: Best of Both Worlds (Part 2) December 10, 2005

Posted by delal in GV05, Session 2.

Lisa Goldman – It’s almost impossible to have a sane/rational conversation about the mideast these days. People have agendas, problems listening to each other. I blog about listening to the other side. Recently there was a huge controversy b/c I talked about a dilemma faced by a Palestinian cameraman; he told a group of Israeli and Palestinian journalists who meet in Amman to discuss cooperation That elicited an amazing, stunning, unexpected amount of controversy, and hatred as well. There – the Israeli blogophere is an interesting animal. Most bloggers whose native language is Hebrew don’t blog about politics; but about intimate personal issues. They don’t want to explain about [anything but] their lives; the books they read, the flowers they’re planting. The English bloggers attract a lot of controversy; for many reasons; from anarchists in favor of a one-state solution to are-right-wingers living on the west bank who believe that territory was given to them by God. I think the fact the blogosphere is so diverse and reflects a wide range of opinions is good; and in roundups I say, they’re all so convincing, how can you figure out who’s right?? If you have an agenda and strong opinion, you’ll just find something to confirm your opinion. I’m trying to get around that; it’s very hard. Right now I’m taking it on the chin from everybody; I’ve been called a useful idiot, a propaganda tool; jew-hating and anti-palestinian…Sometimes it keeps me up at night. Other times I say, come on, it’s just a blog. I do believe in bridge-building. But I think it will be a long long time before [people are really listening to one another] I want to close by saying that 4-5 months ago, a journo for Ma’ariv wrote a column, saying I don’t know why everyone says the Israeli blogosphere is so boring…The fact of the matter is there are fascinating blogs out there; but not written in Hebrew, written in english. I linked to a bunch of them, and led to a bunch of traffic. Israel is very wired; hardly a home without a wireless connection. Everyone’s really into tit; but they see it as a high-tech tool more than a political tool. I welcome you to my roundups where I will try very hard to make sense.

Rebecca MacKinnon: Thank you… later this afternoon we’ll be talking about language. I’m grabbing people, but at any time if people have something they want to add or elaborate on, jump right in.

Traditional journalists – we are not here to replace you, but to provide sources – Jeff Ooi (via flickr)

(grabbing jeff ooi)

Jeff, you and other Malaysian bloggers have really been doing your part to bring issues forward that the media is not talking about. But to what extent are you a journalist, and to what extent do you think you are something different.

Jeff Ooi – Thanks! I’m Jeff Ooi, from Malaysia; got its independence 48 years ago. We’ve retained a lot of [good] things about being a colony of the uk; the government system has remained intact. But there were a lot of things where we tried to get equal with the rest of the world; and that’s where we have faulted. for instance, most if not all are owned by political parties, incumbents in the government. We have never changed government since we gained independence 48 yrs ago, and that is peculiar. A lot of journalists gain [position?] by [paying homage to political leaders] that’s where bloggers can help, with missed information, etc. When blogs came out, 2-3 years ago they were despised. But there has been a lot of changes since then. The biggest onslaught on bloggers who tend to blog on alternative views of major political events, are basically — the onslaught took place in the oldest English newspaper. We noticed that 1 yr ago, bloggers were termed as ‘unrestrained do-gooders’ and after a year, that stance coming from this oldest paper has changed and they said “bloggers are now the byword for freedom of expression”–Bloggers have taken on the views that 1) they are taken seriously as senior editors… and there were certain news items which editors would not run because they’d make an enemy of a politician; so they would pass it on to bloggers. When that kind of info was passed on to bloggers, we thought it might be a booby trap, and we had to verify the facts and unknowingly, we put into practice “two independent sources”…so that’s something interesting that /has/ happened. 2) we try to engage the senior editors by challenging them. You can call us names, but why not challenge us by starting your own blog or started by the smallest newspaper group; it didn’t last more than 3 months. I think plurality should be kept at all levels. Now, there’s a lot of trouble here : 1) they have to obey their political [masters], 2) they don’t want to sink to the level of ‘unrestrained do-gooders’ 3) there was an interview of 3 editors-in-chief or senior editors; each was asked about bloggers, and if bloggers are really replacing the role of journalist. Because at times bloggers broke news SARS case [blackout in the msm]

…Tsunami 3 mo later, aftershock in nicoba? islands… happened at midnight simply no more online updates on newspaper websites. We don’t know if we are replacing journalists, but that’s not our primary goal. We wanted to forward/project a context for all info printed in papers; mostly people say the truth only lies in online media, not print media in Malaysia… taking stock of blogosphere in Malaysia (where you have democracy, and freedom of speech [if not after speech] enshrined in the constitution. This is related to many things — migrating Malaysia from a production-based con to an information-based economy and why so many stories don’t get run; That’s where we are pumping hard still.|Still ongoing, but the latest olive branches come from online orgs. next week, by the time I get back ,the former prime minister of Malaysia will host a world blogo-peace forum for 3 days! Bloggers will be given press passes for the first time ever…

(Tagged: gv2005, globalvoices)



1. Colin Brayton - December 11, 2005

Can I use HTML in this box? Oh, well. Thanks for a very stimulating discussion, I wish I could have attended live, but North-South latency made streaming tricky (I’m in Brazil). Here’s an extended, “devil’s advocate” take on this portion of the discussion: … http://blogalization.nu/marketmachines/?p=752

2. pwywecfncu - December 6, 2006


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3. paul_p - January 25, 2007

with posts like this how long before we give up the newspaper?!!

4. Florian - January 28, 2007

I found your blog via google by accident and have to admit that youve a really interesting blog 🙂
Just saved your feed in my reader, have a nice day 🙂

5. qxklponutg - March 11, 2007

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