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Sunday 22 April 2007

Ireland awards political vloggers, UK talks regulation

Spot the difference. has created the Online Irish Politics Awards to recognise what they're calling 'digital doorstepping'.

Organiser Cian O'Flaherty said:
"This will be the first Irish general election with a lot of participants experimenting with online media like YouTube, Bebo pages and blogs."

"There's probably going to be an awful amount of crap put out there -- frankly -- and we want to reward those who make a real effort before a jaundiced view of the internet and Irish politics sets in."

"A lot of journalists have been jeering at the internet in terms of its effect on politics here and jeering at politicians for not engaging the youth vote."

"These awards might help deflect that cynicism. Yes, a lot of 20- to 30-year-olds don't vote, but if they can discuss politics in a medium they can relate to it gives them an improved sense of ownership of the process."

"Some of the political advertising companies and spin doctors may not like this because they advise and control 'image' and 'message' but tools like e-mail allow general access to politicians, and although it doesn't beat meeting people in person on the campaign trail, it can work well if done in the right way."

Irish politicians are nothing if not ambitious online, going by the soundtrack to this video:

Meanwhile in the UK The Electoral Commission and Ofcom are said to be watching web campaigning closely, at least initially to keep track of election spending.

Ofcom says that it's jurisdiction only extends to "a website broadcasting pictures which filled the full screen".
"If it looks and feels like television, it might well be subject to regulation," an excited spokesman said.
The EU's extremely controversial audio-visual media services directive, which will increase the regulation of video content on the web, is due to come into force in 2009.

Ofcom is, of course, wetting itself:
"That will shake up the way we regulate and will bring many more services under the scope of regulation - but we are not there yet."

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