Blogger Tour 2010: Day 1 – from blogging to Chinese hymen
So finally I am here, in beloved Berlin, participating in the Blogger Tour organized by the German Federal Foreign Office. The first day of the event started with a great breakfast in Park Inn hotel, where participants are staying. At the moment, we are in DEPAK – Deutsche Presseakademie – and listening to presentatnios on topic “Blogs & Politics in Germany”.
Robin Meyer-Lucht, blogger at www.carta.info and first of four speakers on topic “Blogs & Politics in Germany”, is speaking about their blog and the German blogosphere in general. According to him, the German blogopshere is still evolving and little commercialized, as it is much driven by “passionate authors who treasure their soap boxes” 🙂 Despite this, Robin says, blogs in Germany are becoming increasingly influencial force. As far as I understood, the German blogosphere is mainly about “netpolitics”, media and copyright issues, or talking generally, it is rather about policies than politcs.
Jan Mönikes, expert for German media law and second of four speakers on topic “Blogs & Politics in Germany”, is doing a presentation on legal framework conditions of online communication in Germany. Jan says that media laws in Germany are very complicated as media is regulated on two levels – state and federal, and there are 16 federal governments. One exception in freedom of speech in Germany – Holocaust! Holocaust denial and propagating nazi symbols is a crime in Germany, says Jan Mönikes. If you are a foreign blogger, and publicly deny Holocaust in your blog, you will be tried in absentia and declared persona non grata. This reminded me of Eynulla Fatullaev, a journalist in Azerbaijan, who was imprisioned because of his article [ru] questioning the trueness of Khojaly massacre. But, unlike in Germany, Azerbaijan does not have a such law.
Blogs in Germany are considered to be mass media! However, as the laws on laws media properly work, it is not as frightening as in Central Asia countries, where laws do not protect media from the authoriarian governments.
But, as Mönikes says, the legal status of bloggers in Germany is still inclear. There is a debate going on whether or not bloggers must be considered as journalists or not. There is strong argument that good-quality bloggers should be given a status of journalist. There are two sides of it: good side is that as “online-media-journalists”, bloggers possess all rights conferred upon the press in Germany. The bad side is that all journalists must respect the “press codex” – a collenction of non-official rules for professional journalism. This includes regulations regarding accurate research and coverage.
Two other presentators were Jens Berger from www.spiegelfechter.de and Mathias Spelkamp from www.immateriblog.de, who talked about their blogging experiences and the difference between citizen journalism and classical journalism in Germany.
The day ended with a great dinner at restaurant Barist, where for some odd reasons we were discussing (a.) Chinese hymens* (!), aka “artificial hymen”, that someone actually could buy in Egypt (!) but unfortunately could never see (!) it in use, (b.) what it feels like being married, though the married bloggers did not give any strong arguments for the advantages of marriage, (c.) how Uzbek and Azeri languages are very close to each other, and why some Turkish people are getting rid of some arabic words in Turkish, and last but not least, (d.) our plans for tomorrow and the ways to get Nigar drunk as it is her birthday tomorrow!
* It is a thin sheet of plastic that goes inside the woman’s vaginal canal and contains a little pocket of blood like material which ruptures upon impact and proclaims the user to be a virgin. It costs 15$. Though, it is not yet popular in societies, where pramarital sex is banned.