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Press Salon

The discussion begins. Konstantin is expanding the topic... that's good, since bloggers are not journalists, so weblogs don't have much to do with *press* freedom.

Freedom of *expression* is something that means something in Germany and the United States, but perhaps something different in other countries. Therefore it is good that DW has brought two guests from China and Russia (links to follow) who perhaps have a different experience with freedom of expression than the type weblogger.

(The event is taking place in German, therefore I'll be simultaneously listening, blogging and translating, and that somewhat slowly, and not very well. )

Mu Zimei (lucky google link) describes her experience with webloggingas a comet, spontaneous, bright, but falling fast. Not planned, not political, and a controversy for both Chinese society and the Chinese government. (The Schockwellenreiter is fascinated.)

Anton Nossik: The Russian internet has a different history, elitist and acedemic. It was never meant to be a mass medium. The authorities are not interested in supressing speech, but what is heard, what information is actually disseminated. Laws are banning press coverage of terrorist acts, or even violence in general... will audiences turn instead to the internet? They are not yet.

Jörg Kantel: In comparison, in Germany things are relatively good... except maybe in Nordrhein Westfalen, where a state government has a regulation on paper about links to neo-Nazi sites. Can a mere link be illegal? Otherwise, there have been copyright and trademark conflicts (Novitel). Impressungspflicht (identifcation of publisher), does it apply to webloggers (who do not have a business address for their blog)?

Question from Konstantin: Do the technological possibilities of the internet fundamentally change freedom of speech? If there are millions of bloggers instead of a handful of broadcasters and publishers? Is blogging OK only as long as it remains under the radar, as long as noone listens? Jörg says no... the internet can be a mass medium and a personal medium, at the same time.

Heiko Hebig: What is the best and the worst thing to happen as the result of your weblog? Maybe something we can all think about.

Scott Hanson: Do spammers have freedom of expression?

Mu Zimei: Charity blogs: a way for blogs to make a real difference?

(And at this point the live blogging ended. More posts on the evening are here.

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