The more opinion the better: A blogger's defence

Some people criticise blogging. They say there is too much uninformed opinion online. I would like to turn their attention to their computer's ‘Shutdown’ setting.

Murtaza Jafri August 06, 2010
Blogging is a good democratic avenue for self expression. Some find a blogger's desire to write offensive, and that is fine. I’d like to turn their attention to their computer's ‘Shutdown’ setting. If one doesn’t like what my blog or any particular message board they stumble across says, then by all means, don’t participate. Because it is the ability to participate in the debate that makes the blogosphere democratic and unique.

Blogging, is a right. If I or any other member of the blogosphere decides to express an opinion then that should be lauded (I laud myself all the time!). It is when one represses the rights of individuals that one spreads terrorism.

There is nothing more important to a society straining to attain a healthy democracy than diversity of thought and multiple platforms of expression, unless one advocates a ‘controlled democracy’ (read totalitarian society; we’ve tried that, it doesn’t work).

If one finds it acceptable to restrict what people think into their own realm of accepted views, then perhaps they preferred the days preceding the internet. However, in this time and age, short of banning the internet, one had better accept the notion that one can’t restrict writers from expressing themselves, in the blogosphere or otherwise.

Here are some popular criticisms of the blogosphere:

Bloggers are far too young to write intelligibly

It's my generation that taught the er… ‘experienced’ (by experienced I mean older) generation of writers how to use their fancy 'laat-top' to bang out their artfully crafted pieces, check their gmail and make their own fan pages on book-face (in the vain hope that the government would ban them).

With no offense intended on Pakistan’s glorious veteran truth speaking establishment, I doth do protest (as is my right; I checked). As old as some of these distinguished experienced journalists may be, I imagine that back in the 1800’s some were still in the pinnacle of their youth and attempting to learn their trade, becoming great at journalism or any other field requires time, patience and accountability and most of all, a platform. Being old doesn't give one a patent on being able to write any more than my chaiwalla is a banker.

Bloggers know nothing, and only experienced journalists hold the elixir of truth in their soft hands

Ideas matter, and if we’d like to live in a society with actual freedoms, we have to shy away from debating in fear. It is the ideas that pulsate on the blogosphere that reflect what people are thinking. News will be news, one cycle after another. Journalists will always remain relevant, but it is the response to news items that adds to the realm of debate even more crucially than the original news pieces themselves.

As terrific as the news that emanates from this country of ours, the response is what really matters. If the Hindu community is viciously attacked by fanatics, do we raise our voices or mutter something about ‘them finally accepting Islam’?

The myth that bloggers actually care what others think

We don’t. My own personal writing and thinking fetish aside, it may be pertinent to note we all shall pass from the earth at some point, if our legacy is to be our deeds, our ideas fall in that category. Long after we are gone, our ideas will live on, and does it really matter if one doesn’t like it?

Well, they can write a blog about it.
Murtaza Jafri A Karachi based banker who writes cultural satire
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.


Murtaza Ali Jafri | 13 years ago | Reply @ Everyone, thank you for the comments, glad you enjoyed the blog @Anum: I'm not sure if I'd call the blogosphere powerful in terms of change. I think it's helping the media outlets become more innovative and bringing about a more interactive, all encompassing product. @Ghasia: There is a pay off between grammar and sentence quality and giving up the essence of the content. because news sites like tribune, dawn and the news are culpable for what they publish, they tend to becareful of what they allow to appear on the site. Comments or otherwise. @Umair: Haha, switched no, diversified, yes. @Faisal Shaji: Completely valid.
Faisal Shaji | 13 years ago | Reply I agree that bloggers exercise best form of expression. It is a new era of democracy where a blogger also participates in nation building. Expressing some thing is good rather cursing and doing nothing. It is good that it should be part of culture to express and debate rather than using brute force.
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