2010: Year of the NZ blogosphere?

The blogs are claiming 2010 will be the "Year of the Blogosphere". And with some high priority examples in New Zealand, it's becoming hard to argue the point.
Written by Darren Greenwood, Contributor

The blogs are claiming 2010 will be the "target="_blank" class="c-regularLink" target="_blank" rel="noopener nofollow">"Year of the Blogosphere".

The British blogs have a general election to look forward to, but what about New Zealand? Ours was just over a year ago where they claimed an impact, with one even saying he got his dad (a former National Party president) "target="_blank" "="" class="c-regularLink" target="_blank" rel="noopener nofollow">a new government for his birthday!

Even without an election in New Zealand this year, blogs' impact on politics and current affairs could still be major. Already, the aforementioned Whaleoil and its author Cameron Slater is making history with a "target="_blank" "="" class="c-regularLink" target="_blank" rel="noopener nofollow"> landmark court appearance this week. You may recall my recent post on the internet killing name suppression.

The New Zealand courts are quite frequent in their use of name suppression, particularly to protect the identity of celebrities. Now, we have recently had some "target="_blank" "="" class="c-regularLink" target="_blank" rel="noopener nofollow">notorious court cases where name suppression was granted to an entertainer and an Olympian.

Blogger Whaleoil posted a few pictorial clues as to their identities, leading to the charges he faced yesterday. His case came as a thug who attacked an 86-year-old was also granted name suppression to protect the feelings of his 90-year-old grandmother!

"target="_blank" "="" class="c-regularLink" target="_blank" rel="noopener nofollow">"This is why I fight," cried Whaleoil, as he appeared on the front page of Wellington's The Dominion Post newspaper. Already, the New Zealand government has been looking at the issue of name suppression in court cases and what role the internet may have in protecting such identities.

The publicity generated by Whaleoil has certainly led to much debate over the issue of name suppression. In the kiwi blogosphere, New Zealand's leading Libertarian blogger "target="_blank" "="" class="c-regularLink" target="_blank" rel="noopener nofollow">Peter Creswell likens Cameron Slater's battle to American Larry Flynt's fight on free speech.

Hong Kong-based kiwi lawyer Cactus Kate notes the irony of "target="_blank" "="" class="c-regularLink" target="_blank" rel="noopener nofollow">yet another court case involving name suppression on the very same day Whaleoil appeared in court — a so-called comedian appearing on charges involving him sexually assaulting his four-year-old daughter!

But perhaps predictably, the "target="_blank" "="" class="c-regularLink" target="_blank" rel="noopener nofollow">left-wing bloggers are less supportive of Whaleoil. Now, "target="_blank" "="" class="c-regularLink" target="_blank" rel="noopener nofollow">Whaleoil will be back in court in two weeks, in a case that could drag on for months. It follows much notoriety that Whaleoil has already generated.

2010 certainly looks to be big for this "internet warrior", as Whaleoil sets to harpoon yet more victims. But 2010 could well be a big year for other bloggers.

Indeed, as the British blogs gear up for their election, and Kevin Rudd must also face Australian voters in the next year or so, it could well be worth pondering what role the blogs will play in the political battles to come.

A good look at the efforts overseas may well lead to 2010 being the Year of the Blogosphere in Australia too! Are they up to it?

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