2006 is likely to go down in Irish blogger history as a landmark in the evolution of our blogosphere. The success of the Irish Blog Awards, the superior reportage from Irish bloggers during the Dublin Riots and the growing recognition from mainstream media suggests that the pass-time sport is becoming a serious hobby. Even Planet Journals (formerly Planet of the Blogs) is within spitting distance of aggregating its 1,000th blog. In the first negative development for blogging in Ireland, news is coming out that the El Paso Times is facing legal action for unsavory comments aimed at singer Cathy Maguire and her family.
Regardless of the outcome, if this incident does come to court it is likely to act as a wake-up call to Irish bloggers. Just like most online inventions, blogging offers the potential of anonymity, those who chose to can remain hidden behind a pseudonym or stage name for their entire blogging “career”. Of course, as is becoming increasingly apparent, this veil is only useful as long as you do not force others to peak behind it, once you attract the attention of the law your identity will become a well known fact quicker than you might like. The fact is that information published in Ireland should adhere to Irish law; getting that theory into practice may not be so easy, however.
Simon wonders if this development will effect the upcoming Defamation Bill; unlikely in my opinion although there is every chance that Irish law will be redefined in the context of online publishing, that’s assuming that this potential case does not set a legal precident before then.