Posts tagged ‘Reporters Without Borders’

I Was Sortof Right

A couple of years ago I made this prediction:

We will soon see calls to bring a tighter licensing or
credentialing system for journalists, similar to what we see for
lawyers, doctors, teachers, and, god help us, for beauticians
.  The
proposals will be nominally justified by improving ethics or similar
laudable things, but, like most credentialing systems, will be aimed
not at those on the inside but those on the outside.  At one time or
another, teachers, massage therapists, and hairdressers have all used
licensing or credentialing as a way to fight competition from upstart
competitors, often ones with new business models who don't have the
same trade-specific educational degrees the insiders have....

Such credentialing can provide a powerful comeback for industry insiders under attack.  Teachers, for example, use it every chance they get to attack home schooling and private schools,
despite the fact that uncertified teachers in both these latter
environments do better than the average certified teacher (for example,
kids home schooled by moms who dropped out of high school performed at
the 83rd percentile).  So, next time the MSM is under attack from the blogosphere, rather than address the issues, they can say that that guy in Tennessee is just a college professor and isn't even a licensed journalist.

Well, despite all efforts by John McCain, we still have free speech on the blogosphere.  But I was almost right, because another country is considering such a proposal -- In France:

The government has also proposed a certification system for Web sites,
blog hosters, mobile-phone operators and Internet service providers,
identifying them as government-approved sources of information if they
adhere to certain rules. The journalists' organization Reporters
Without Borders, which campaigns for a free press, has warned that such
a system could lead to excessive self censorship as organizations
worried about losing their certification suppress certain stories.