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.
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.