The main stream media are fond of characterising the blogosphere as being an anarchic 'pyjama-hideen' comprised of disgruntled teenage geeks mindlessly venting their spleen and angst. This unwarranted image has taken several knocks over the past few months.
The 'Climategate' debate originated from the intelligent analysis carried out by bloggers who proved more than competent to rebut the prevailing 'expert' opinion that society was doomed to fry imminently. If these were teenage geeks, they were remarkably well informed teenagers. The anarchic label took a battering as old animosities between bloggers were laid aside, and a new spirit of collaboration ensured that information was shared and publicised, until even the mighty BBC was forced to concede that Climategate was a legitimate debate and not a foregone conclusion.
This week, another milestone has been reached, as the Blogosphere reacts to an injustice by mounting a campaign to free publican Nick Hogan. The main stream media had ignored Nick Hogan for the past two years, as he battled his way through myriad court cases mounted by his local council for failing to act as an unpaid policeman and report two of his customers for smoking on his licensed premises; that he was not present on the premises when this event occurred only added to his sense of injustice.
Part way through the proceedings, Hogan was bankrupted, and forced to relinquish the lease on one of his two public houses in Bolton. On Friday he went to court to argue that he could not afford the Â£500 a month payments demanded to pay off an Â£11,600 bill for mounting the prosecution against him.
The Magistrates were unimpressed that he had only paid off Â£1,600, and refused to listen to further pleas for time to pay. They jailed him for six months.
Early on Sunday evening a blogger, Anna Raccoon, wrote a blogpost on her blogspot (www.annaraccoon.com/politics/pub-landlord-nick-hogan-jailed-over-no-smoking-ban) appealing for help to pay his debt and be released from prison. With the help of another Blogger Old Holborn she was able to provide a donations button.
Within 24 hours, the blogosphere had raised £5,000, and the donations are still tumbling in. It has been estimated that if the present rate of donations continues, they should be able to have Nick out of debtor's gaol and back with his family, this week.
Fund raising campaigns have always been the preserve of the mainstream media – 'generous readers have raised' – the past 24 hours have proved that the blogosphere is neither selfish nor anarchic, but is proving itself capable of being a fast moving and highly motivated force to counter the apathy of the media in highlighting injustice.
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