European Parliament attacks blogger… So much for pluralism!

Dear European Institutions, Bloggers are not rebels (you idiots...), they are concerned citizens of Europe who have an opinion, and have a right to share their opinion with other concerned citizens...

Dear European Institutions, Bloggers are not rebels (you idiots...), they are concerned citizens of Europe who have an opinion, and have a right to share their opinion with other concerned citizens...


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Gawain towler, with his numerous blogs and fancy Press position, is very well known in Eurocircles, and surely does not need an introduction.

He has been ordered (in European terms- asked politely…) to close the blinds on his England Expects blog and surrender quietly into the blogosphere’s night. From the grapevine, I understant that the wrath of the Parliament’s secretary general trickles back to a post on Mr. Towler’s blog on September 1st:

Dear ColleaguesThe Bureau of the European Parliament adopted on 19 May 2008 the language specific guidelines for gender neutral language as outlined in the report by the High-Level Group on Gender Equality and Diversity.

DocEP is already ensuring that gender-neutral language is employed in all translations. You are kindly invited to respect the proposed options (e.g.: Rapporteur instead of Drafts(wo)man).

The models of the RdM will be updated as soon as possible.
The report of the High-Level Group is annexed.

Regards

DG Internal Policies

Div.General CoordinationBurotics/Informatics


APPENDIX
LIST OF RECOMMENDED NAMES OF PROFESSIONS AND FUNCTIONSIt is generally not difficult to find a gender-neutral term for professions, occupations, functions, etc. in English, although there are some exceptions. The following is a non-binding list of recommendations, with alternatives where relevant.

Actor/actress (actor is now commonly used for both sexes; use actress if the person’s sex is relevant)
Ambassador (for both sexes)
Author (not authoress)
Business person / executive (plural: business people) (not businessman; alternatively and in plural contexts, use: business circles or business milieux)
Doctor/physician (for both sexes, including for ‘Ärztin’, etc; avoid lady/woman doctor; also applies in the sense of ‘Ph.D.’)
Firefighter (not fireman)
Flight attendant or (in plural) flight crew (not air hostess)
Head/head teacher (of primary or secondary school; not headmaster/headmistress)
Lawyer (for both genders)
Lay person (plural: lay people; not layman)
Lecturer (for both genders)
Manager (not manageress)
Mayor (not mayoress)
Midwife (for both sexes; there is no accepted alternative for male midwives)
Nurse (for both sexes; avoid male nurse)
Police officer (not policeman/policewoman unless the officer’s sex is relevant)
Sales representative (not salesman)
Speaker (for both sexes)
Teacher (for both sexes)
Translator (for both sexes, including for ‘traductrice’, ‘Übersetzerin’, etc)
Usher (not usherette)
Waiter/waitress (no gender-neutral term has been successfully proposed)
Weather reporter/forecaster (not weatherman)
Writer (for both sexes)Unless a person’s sex is relevant, do not precede professions, occupations or functions with ‘lady’, ‘woman’ or ‘female’.

We (Europeans), regardless of political affiliation, position or internal rules… stand behind Mr. Towler, as the outcome of this situation will set a paradigm to the way the Institutions treat bloggers.

Commissioner Wallstrom has set high standards when it comes to discussing the development of the European Public Sphere; and carries a very popular blog. I would very much like to know what her opinion is.

Should a political opinion be limited to those with political power?

We are aware Mr. Towler has broken 1 internal rule as he disseminated (onto the internet and with ironic tone) an email which was very carefully supplied to its readers on a need to know basis. Not more than 7,000 other people…

The politicians responsible should feel ashamed of themselves!

Gawain Towlers post:

http://englandexpects.blogspot.com/2008/09/ironique-et-eurosceptique.html

Other Bloggers protesting the matter:

http://landedunderclass.wordpress.com/2008/09/24/well-i-wouldnt-work-for-them-mate/

http://libertarianalliance.wordpress.com/2008/09/24/eurosceptic-blogger-is-shut-downbe-warned/

http://shoutingoutloud.wordpress.com/2008/09/23/european-parliament-closes-down-sceptic-blog/

http://berlaymonster.blogspot.com/2008/09/news-in-briefs.html

http://www.jcm.org.uk/blog/?p=1849

http://www.jonworth.eu/in-defence-of-gawain-towler/

http://blogs.eureporter.co.uk/chris/?p=38#more-38

Bloggers are not untouchable, but they can be smart

We don’t exactly know what is going to come out the European Parliament concerning blogging and the rights of individuals seeking to put their personal thoughts on the internet for communication with other likeminded (or not) individuals.

One thing is for sure; with the impact of a few large-fanbase blogs, politicians are starting to worry.

We have even heard of Euro-politicians accused of being under investigation by OLAF, the European Anti-Fraud Office, in blogs without a shred of evidence. Things like this lead to law suits….

We have seen bloggers leaking information from the companies they work for. And of course that leads to dismissal.

Many bloggers have to realise that we/they are not above the law. Bloggers have the right to remain anonymous in so long as they don’t break the law. Yes the internet is quite unregulated, but blogs are now being treated like any other medium; as public forae.

So, like in any other public forum, you cannot make allegations without at least having some evidence. If you do make allegations of scandal and corruption, at least be smart about it. As the law is observed its not a problem… Just like you cant go out on the street screaming very very bad words at someone, you shouldn’t be able to do so on the internet. Bloggers can be a little careful. Not that they shouldn’t make allegations they believe are true- but they should probably use journalistic phrases like “it is believed that”, or “some citizens think that”, or, “though there is no tangible evidence, it is a possibility that…”

And the thing is, if it is done within the scope of the law- it hurts them even more!

Be wise, and Blog on…

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