Saturday, 19 October 2013

ARUNGA: State wrong on move to train bloggers

By Abigail Arunga
More by this Author
Bloggers are to undergo journalistic training?
In another grandstand move, we are deflected from the need to focus on actual issues (the government, health issues, security threat) and divert our attention to idiocies like training bloggers.
Bloggers are not journalists. The two words are not synonyms. Bloggers CAN be journalists, but it is not a default setting. In the same way, journalists are not bloggers.
Now that that has been clarified, why is it that bloggers – who are not journalists – should undergo journalistic training – unless they want to be journalists?
Which is a different article all together.
By definition, a journalist is allowed to write whatever they like, and thank God for freedom of expression.
The government, police, citizens, organisations and the press don’t have to like it, and should not be at liberty to control it – unless, of course, it abuses the freedom by spreading hate, intruding into other people's privacy among other unacceptable practices.
In fact, if everyone likes what you write, you’re probably doing it wrong.
A blogger serves as the voice of the people – unfettered, unbound by script (and sometimes even grammar) or convention. Which is why they can write about things a journalist will not touch.
It is a blogger’s choice and a blogger’s right.
Can you imagine the circus they want to create?
A commission to track down and register all bloggers.
Devising a curriculum to teach.
Paying for ‘compulsory’ training of those training the bloggers.
Housing the said bloggers (where will they learn? Or will we just shove them at the back of mass communication classes?).
Buying the learning material.
Registering them under the Media Council of Kenya. The list is endless. And all involves money. Money that could be used to do useful things.
Who else will point out what the media is missing if not the alternative media?
Training bloggers is a silly and downright laughable idea – although an excellent idea if money is what you are meaning to waste. Even if it is not a silly idea, is now really the time to be focusing on this agenda?
In case you were wondering, the answer is NO.
And we are forgetting the most important factor: Training does not a journalist make.

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