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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

More on blogs

The BBC website has now covered the story of the Standards Committee's discussion of members' blogs, extensively quoting from this post. The item is also being covered by ITV Wales' Waterfront programme, AM PM on BBC Wales and Good Evening Wales on Radio Wales at 5.35pm tonight.

The Chair of the Committee, Jeff Cuthbert is quoted as trying to justify the agenda item. He says: "issues such as what responsibility AMs had for remarks posted on their blogs would be considered.

...."the last three cases referred to the committee all involved AMs' blogs, although they had all been resolved.

...."Who takes responsibility for the remarks that are posted on a blogsite? Regardless of who is actually the author of it, what responsibility, legal or otherwise, rests on the Assembly Member? It's issues like that."

Frankly, he did not need a Committee discussion to establish the answer to that, he could have asked any one of the blogging AMs. The responsibility for all the contents of an AM's blog, including the comments, rests with the AM. That is why we moderate them, or in some cases do not allow them at all.

We are not stupid. We are grown-up politicians, fully aware of the contents of the code of conduct and are capable of regulating ourselves. If we make a mistake then we take responsibility for that and suffer the consequences.

A blog is just another communication tool, like a press release, a normal website, a speech or a newspaper article. If the Standards Committee are so worried about our well-being then why don't they extend their discussion to include other media as well?
More worrying is the fact that the committee seems have decided that 10 minutes are needed to discuss the Chair's visit to the uNiversit of Strathclyde. Another waste of Welsh taxpayers money I suppose.
You shoould check out Bethan's latest blog - and the ensuing comments. I never thought I'd say this, but I think Jeff might be right. If blogs like this are thr order of the day, then someone needs to keep an eye on things.
As I said it is for AMs to take responsibility for their own actions. I would not be in favour of censorship by the Standards Committee.
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