The Maltese blogging scene is nowadays taken for granted as a major participant in the field of information processing. The Blogosfera is as varied as ever, covering a panoply of interests with the occasional blog or two getting its moment of limelight within a particular sphere. markbiwwa.com recently let out a rant about the dos and donts of blogging (and what’s wrong with the word “blogosphere”). It’s been some time now that conceited bloggers like myself (wankellectuals) have been a proverbial pain in the arse for mainstream media pointing out flaws, errors and journalistic faux pas.
Melahart was at it this week commenting on the selective editing that seems to be the trend in some papers (Media manipulation…) while Rich Muscat Azzopardi also had a good point to make about the Times’ trend to becoming a click-hunting site above all (Rightly So). I’ve got some bad news for Rich. His autopsy on local journalism comes a little too late.. J’accuse had proclaimed it dead a while back after a particularly jarring episode of Bondiplus regarding Plategate.
The role of blogs and bloggers in filling the vacuum of investigative journalism is what triggered off this post in actual fact. Given how most media establishments in the country are agenda-driven or just downright lazy, the levels of investigative journalism have fallen to an all time low. Blogs and bloggers (not Times trolls mind you) might just be in the right place to fill the gap.
Take the Running Commentary. Back after the traditional end of summer pause, Daphne has set her sights on a deal between Polidano and Mintoff’s offspring. In her first post on the subject Daphne called for a Public Inquiry. The facts mentioned in the posts relating to the issue are just that: facts. They are publicly available to anyone wishing to discover them – in the archives of MEPA to begin with.
Now I do not believe that Daphne spent her little sabbatical recovering from the trauma of Mintoff’s passing away looking through random archive of the MEPA records. What probably happened is that somebody (a mole, a snitch, a leaker,… whatever) passed on this information to Daphne with the intention of getting as much public coverage for this bit of news. Used to be such news would go to a media outlet but then again… given the subject matter what better place to go to than Malta’s blog with most hits?
Am I saying it is wrong? Not at all. Expect more of this phenomenon as things get to a head. A while back we had also featured a Polidano related post on J’accuse. In March we were writing “Polidano Can, if he thinks he can” pointing out the rough manners in which Polidano literally bulldozers over our planning laws. In that case too I had received a pointer as to some illicit night time action in which Polidano was engaging in some property close to Zmerc in Balzan – what prompted me to give particular attention to the matter.
The network of blogs – with different affiliations, orientations or independent minded persons – that has developed over time might end up with Malta having its very own unofficial network of Wikileaks. What worries me is that each blogger will have a sieve of their own with regard to what information can or cannot be published. Expect blogs associated to the mainstream parties to be very selective as to when to make a noise about information in their possession. Expect others to proceed cautiously as they are drawn closer and closer to the limelight of lawsuits, libel proceedings and other “democratic” mechanisms of silencing the truth.
Expect, in other words, the development of a network of Wikileaks à-la-carte. Probably not the best of worlds but already going a long way into filling the gap left by a media system that is either dead or in a long coma. Or in the case of the Times… busy chasing the cheap click.