Back in June there was a lot of debate on numerous blogs about a draft European Parliament Resolution by Estonian Socialist Marianne Mikko. The original draft contained some rather strong paragraphs about placing legal restrictions on blogs but, after all, the initial draft – as I argued at the time – was probably the misguided view of one MEP, and that some MEPs had proposed sensible amendments.

Now Mikko has taken on board some of the amendments from MEPs in the Culture Commitee and a new draft has been produced, the version that will probably be the basis for a vote. Why is this any worse than what we had? Well, Daniel Hannan calls Mikko’s document the ‘full report’ – correct. But the document would still only be a resolution, it’s not a regulation or a directive. EU Referendum does not seem to understand that this document still will not have legal force – it’s the EP equivalent of an early day motion.

Iain Dale and Dizzy are all too happy to jump on the bandwaggon, throwing out accusations that the EU is controlling the blogosphere, etc., etc.

So, now as previously, the EU does not have a hope of controlling blogging the way that Mikko’s report advocates. If that were to even be a danger you would see an enormous lobbying effort from Member States, companies in the sector etc., rather that a few shrill voices in the blogosphere. Let me make it clear – I don’t want this legislation either, but let’s not get carried away.

Then there’s the communication aspect, and on this the approach of the European Parliament is damned frustrating. If you say anything about blogs and bloggers you are going to draw a counter-reaction, a fierce one in this case. Many bloggers are perfectly capable of taking their gripes to the mainstream media too, and achieving wider audiences that way.

So what media strategy, if any, does Mikko and the European Parliament seem to have for this whole thing? None, as far as I can tell – there’s not even a news story on the EP website. It would also be a fair idea to try to build some working relationships with bloggers that might be favourable to what you stand for. After the reaction in June that should have been an obvious step. I don’t know about others but as one of the only broadly EU-favourable blogs in the UK blogosphere I for sure have not been contacted by anyone in the EP.

So in short we have everyone being silly. EP proposing an unwise resolution and not communicating it sensibly, and British bloggers getting themselves into a lather when there is probably no need. Plenty of heat and not much light.

8 Comments

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  4. this stuff is fascinating. It couldn’t work, of course, even if it was a Commission proposal…
    but if you are in the sort of mindset that sees this brave new blogging world as a threat because it subverts the traditional possibility of building a relationship with those commenting on what you do, you can see that your gut reaction would be to try to control it in some way.
    I’ve been doing some thinking about this over at thoughts.com…

  5. I wrote on a rather similar issue yesterday. See http://tinyurl.com/559way

  6. Michael Cork

    That word ‘probably’ in the last line demonstrates the weakness of your position.

  7. I know the game though – you play it one way and I play it the other. In every own initiative report you see a danger for the future, and I see it as not that much to worry about.

    As for whether the Commission is behind this – not too sure. I think it’s more a rather foolish MEP that doesn’t know what she’s doing.

  8. Jon

    You don’t seem to understand what I do and do not understand … Try reading the piece again – here’s a clue:

    “…Of course, Jon Worth can still dismiss this as an “own initiative” report with no legislative significance. But it is the case that the commission uses its stooges in the EU parliament to fly kites, and if they get friendly receptions – which they so often do – it then uses them as the justification for proposing legislation.”

    I did not spend four years working in the EP without learning the difference between an own initiative report and a legislative proposal.

    BTW – thanks for the photo!

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