Socialist Worker

How the internet bloggers broke the story

The stories of the Craig Murray documents and the Athens spy scandal would have remained under wraps if it were not for left wing internet sites and alternative media outlets, writes Richard Seymour

Issue No. 1982

The Times, the Scotsman, the BBC, the New York Times, the Daily Telegraph, ABC News, Al Jazeera, the Los Angeles Times, the Sydney Morning Herald... these are just a few of the mainstream publications that have now covered the release of Craig Murray’s documents.

This is what the foreign office did not want anyone to read about. Murray’s superiors instructed him to hand over all copies of the documents. Quite inexplicably, however, the documents were made public in the middle of last week.

Left wing blogs — including Bloggerheads, Blairwatch, Chicken Yoghurt and Lenin’s Tomb — posted the documents.

It took less than a day for the news to be picked up by left blogs across the world, including Daily Kos, and Antiwar.com.

By the weekend the story had made its way into the mainstream press. What few of these outlets mentioned was the unique way in which the story had been broken. Only a few years ago, the government would have successfully kept these documents secret.

Consider, for instance, the Greek spy scandal in which MI6 agents are alleged to have been present during the torture of “terror suspects”. The British government issued a D-Notice instructing the press not to name any of those involved.

Despite the fact that this order has no direct legal force, all the major British newspapers complied — with the exception of the Morning Star. Greek blogs were able to share with English-speaking readers exactly what was alleged and who was accused.

But the corporate media cannot hegemonise the distribution of information any more. Informal networks of cooperation arise and expand on the internet — and censored information can now be propagated much quicker than ever before.

Richard Seymour writes for the Lenin’s Tomb blog at www.leninology.blogspot.com


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Sat 7 Jan 2006, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1982
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