Friday, February 10, 2006

Here comes Radio Free Politics (and Videoblogging)

It looks like the wackwits (there's a more colorful word, but I've overused it when writing this blog in anger at various idiocies) in the Latvian parliament (Saeima) are going to pass a law that essentially forbids all political advertising and political agitation 90 days ahead of the October 7, 2006 parliamentary elections.
This is an idiotically overbroad draft law, it would suffice to tighten up campaign spending limits, to monitor them and to enforce penalties against violators. Besides, we are constantly subject to advertising, and if we haven't learned how to critically examine this method of communication, well, then we deserve what we get (and seem to have gotten it in the present Saeima).
One way to get around the repressive IDIOT LAW (which could be interpreted to attack the press and television) is to use the internet to say FUCK YOU ALL! in the name of freedom of expression to the legislators and to conduct the campaign by internet. Political advertisments, podcasts and videoblogs can replace using the national media and serve as totally free and unregulated places to conduct a political campaign. Short of turning Chinese, there is no way to stop this. You simply host and finance everything from a foreign server, where the friends of Party X,Y, or Z in Sweden or Kiribati or Moldova fund the podcasting of political agitation and the videoblogging of paid (by Kiribatian friends of Party X) political advertisments.
Once you get key voter segments, like the 500 000 + users of draugiem.lv to start listening to podcasts from Radio Free Latvian Politics or watching Political Web TV (or getting short political commercials as guerilla e-mail attachments or even multimedia phone messages), you have a completely different campaign. Instead of advertising street rallies, one will summon the party faithful as "flash mobs" by SMS. I would like to seen the Green Stupider than Peasants Moron Party (the Latvian Green/Farmer's Alliance sponsored the bill, which passed by 60 votes in a preliminary reading, left-wing wackos voted for it, the other coalition parties didn't) start confiscating mobile phones as "outdoor agitation.
This puts a bizarre twist to a remark I made to Kristaps Kaupe, a Latvian blogger (at http://blogs.7x24.lv/blog/kristaps/). He blogs mainly on sometimes arcane IT matters (being an IT person), but is also a bit of a political activist on the radical end of the nationalist spectrum. I phrase this gently because Kristaps is still mourning a laptop hard disk and I know what that's like. Anyway, much as I, being of libertarian-anarchist inclinations, would disagree strongly with much of the politics of the Union of Nationalist Forces (Nacionālo spēku savienība N.S.S.), but at one point I commented on Kristaps' blog that a small party(or movement or whatever they consider themselves) could popularize its views in podcasts and videoblogs (this was after Lattelekom indicated they would be hosting Apollo internet users' videos after their got their IP TV service organized, much the way Google does with Google Video).
So now it looks like we are heading for where all Latvian political parties, who want to keep their freedom of expression or simply defy this moronic law, will be using the uncontrollable internet to run political campaigns that will be banned from the traditional media. In fact, if the Monkey House on Jēkaba Street actually passed the bill as a law, I am thinking of starting a Free Latvian Politics blog through Blogger, which is hosted somewhere in the US and protected, I should hope, by the First Amendment of the US Constitution.

1 comment:

Aleks said...

Juris,

I've been thinking of starting a weekly podcast on my own site devoted to politics and, well, life in general in Latvia. I agree it is far better way to communicate what you want to say and how you want to say it. I just have a few problems with the computer to fix and who knows, we'll have a alternative to gathering information from crappy TV....