‘The undetermined and unindicated status of authors and publishers of weblogs causes uncertainties regarding impartiality, reliability, source protection, applicability of ethical codes and the assignment of liability in the event of lawsuits,’ according to a draft report by MEP Marianne Mikko.

The MEP wants ‘clarification of the legal status of different categories of weblog authors and publishers as well as disclosure of interests and voluntary labelling.’

Somehow, I don’t like the sound of that.

What’s my legal status? I’m a citizen.

My liability for anything I write is well established in Irish law. Whether I write something here or in a national newspaper makes not a whit of difference. It’s the same law of defamation, and the same remedy.

And what’s voluntary labelling? Would you take anything I wrote more seriously if I put five stars in a corner?

Cheap and easy to maintain, blogs live or die on the quality of their articles, as readers come back or ignore them.

It’s the essence of free speech, what the American Supreme Court once called the marketplace of ideas.

No one is impartial. Freedom works when people are allowed to read – and write – what they want, and make their own decisions.

By Gerard Cunningham

Gerard Cunningham occupies his time working as a journalist, writer, sub-editor, blogger and podcaster, yet still finds himself underemployed.