“For the first time ever, Reporters Without Borders is publishing a list of profiles of “100 information heroes” for World Press Freedom Day (3 May). Through their courageous work or activism, these “100 heroes” help to promote the freedom enshrined in article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the freedom to “to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”
This blogger offers appreciation & thanks to all journalists who believe information does not belong to anyone and who put this belief into practice by fighting to keep information flowing worldwide.
Here’s a tiny example of what I’ve had to address on this blog that shows what journalists have to cope with just to keep information flowing without interference or censorship.
Early in my blogging career, a few years ago, I published a post that someone did not like. The post I published included this person’s website address amongst a hundred other blog addresses owned by people who believe they have multiple personalities or the psychiatric diagnosis of Dissociative Identity Disorder, (DID). It was a directory compiled so my readership could easily and quickly access information.
The angry blogger, I’ll call Mary, had been visiting my blog regularly leaving hateful comments telling me my opinions were wrong and, therefore, I was an awful person. I don’t like being called names but allowed the discourse because I believe in freedom of thought and expression.
Mary demanded that I remove her web address from my post. I contemplated her request and decided to leave the post as is. Soon thereafter I received an email from WordPress, the host and owner of the software, telling me there was a complaint against me for copyright infringement. Yep, copyright infringement. “What?” I thought. Furthermore, I was given a short time to correct the matter, or have my blog shut down. “What?”
When I investigated the complaint, I found that Mary, the angry blogger who didn’t want her web address on my blog, filed a false complaint of copyright infringement, and named her friend, I’ll call Sara Pawn as the paralegal handling the complaint. I did a paralegal Internet search using the name “Sara Pawn” that turned up two hits in the United States. I spoke to both law firms and their Sara Pawn was not associated with the WordPress complainant, Mary.
Knowing I had not infringed on copyright law and finding no paralegal in the United States named Sara Pawn associated with the angry blogger, I concluded the complaint was without merit. However according to WordPress, I had a choice of removing Mary’s web address or have my blog shut down. I allowed this blog to be shut down while I decided what to do. WordPress representatives informed me that they do not investigate the veracity of complaints, they just forward them to the blogger, me. I eventually removed the address and WordPress reinstated my blog because it was easier than continuing a ridiculous fight.
I offer this anecdote as an example of what journalists deal with on a daily basis. My story is infinitely small compared to journalists in war torn countries struggling to keep news flowing, but it shows how easy it is to hurl insults and lies in an effort to silence journalists and how journalists have to stop reporting on world events in order to handle side-shows.
Sometimes journalists are jailed; some go missing; others are killed while getting you and me information.
Several years have passed since Mary falsely accused me of not having journalistic integrity. I now know the lengths people will go to silence me and to censor the information I bring to you simply because they have differing opinions. This is a tiny blog on the Internet, imagine the stress and struggle high-profile journalists cope with.
The next false complaint against this blogger will not be met with compliance.