The other day I read a post from Idd Salim on why Kenya has or is full of pussy bloggers, depending on how you look at it. My first instinct was to take issue with the naming, why you have to be a pussy blogger just because you cant say things as they are. I thought the title was and still is sexist but thats debate for another day.
It happened that we had a bloggers meeting shortly after the blog post went up and several bloggers, including Salim, were there. I remember we joked about who could qualify as the so called pussy blogger and it became obvious that bloggers are also being forced to think twice about complaining or writing negative stuff.
You probably know this guy as the most stinging and his language is unparalleled, those days, when blogging was still new, this guy could attract an average of 22 comments per post. You have to know him to know he is the blogger but its not obvious from the blog.
So, this guy wrote a post against a giant telco, and it happened that the company he works for was abut to get a huge deal with the telco. Apparently, the guys at the telco investigated and knew where the guy worked and they exerted pressure to have the guy apologize or lose his job. He tried to deny that he wasn’t the blogger but it was made clear, am sure they searched for the IP and traced it back to him, and being the sharp techie he is, he chose to just apologize. I met him during that meeting and he said “I apologized profusely” and we all laughed.
The funniest thing is that this was not even in a blog entry, it was a rant on a mailing list, and the guy was forced to retract or you know the consequences. The two companies happened to be doing business together and the complaints meant loss of business. And the writer had to apologize, forget that the discussions were not even public.
It is very easy to say that bloggers are bad because they do not seek a comment from the other side like journalists do but in some of the cases, the posts are based on personal experiences.
So, are we likely to see defamation cases against bloggers? My bet is that soon, litigation will be very different and the judicature Act will be amended.