Blog at your own peril! Two stories from Azerbaijan

Two bloggers In Azerbaijan had the punishment for blogging delivered to them earlier this week.

An anti-corruption blogger, Mehman Huseynov, who had been sentenced to 2 years in prison last year on libel charges, has held that the government has been filing fabricated cases against him due to his anti-corruption writings. Now the Supreme Court of the country has upheld the sentence.

Blogger's lawyers are thinking of approaching the European court of Human Rights for his acquittal.

Another blogger, Alexander Lapshin, who is an Isreali-Russian passport holder, gets 3 years in prison for entering and reporting from areas under control of Armenia but claimed by Azerbaijan as its own.

While in Belarus, Lapshin was extradited to Azerbaijan before being sentenced. Russia has objected to extradition of its citizen to a different country.

risky blogging
Blogging can be risky if you venture into dangerous territory.

Online abuse and then stabbing to death: did the blogger deserve that?

It is reported that a Japanese blogger who had gone in a seminar to share how to grow traffic and deal with trolls, fell victim to a troll's physical assault. Ironically, he was a cyber security expert and had just told the gathering how to deal with trolls.

Kenichiro Okamoto, the blogger, had finished his seminar and gone to the bathroom where his online harasser, Hidemitsu Matsumoto, stabbed him to death. Matsumoto later surrendered before Fukuoka city police and said he held a grudge against the blogger after their online spat, and he had been planning to kill him.

The killer seems to have a criminal mind as he was a regular troll online and used a number of anonymous handles on social media. His account had been frozen by a blogging service that he was using, but he had bragged that he was not afraid of such actions and had continued with his online harassment of social media users.

online trolls catch victims like spiders

Bloggers and other users of social media need to be wary of trolls, especially when they are persistent. In this case, Matsumoto had been harassing Okamoto since 2016. Women bloggers especially need to be wary of commenters, followers and friends whose identities look suspect and who persist with their views or become exceptionally warm or abusive for no reason.

Tanzania wants bloggers to register!

Bloggers, and other online publishers, need to register themselves with the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority and get a licence. The rule to this effect came into force on 15th of this month. It revives the rule earlier passed  but could not come into effect due to a court case.

Tanzania imposes blogging tax!

The requirements for obtaining licence include financial and tax documents and personal information.

The fee is exorbitant, and at $920 a year it equals the annual income of an average Tanzanian. The penalty for posting inappropriate content - that includes content with criminality or that can endanger national security and interestingly "that causes public annoyance" - is $2180 fine, which could come with a prison term of up to one year.

Are your blog posts like doodle or Mona Lisa?

The importance of quality of writing on blogs need not be emphasized. That is what makes a blog great or commonplace.

In the linked article, Suhaib Mohammed hits the nail on its head when he says you blog posts must look like Mona Lisa rather than doodle. Then he tells how to do that. Do have a look.

Link to Suhaib's blog post

Blog quality matters the most

Hollow blog or hollow criticism?

In India, political battles are fought mostly on the ground, some on social networking sites. Though some years back blogs were popular among some top politicians as the first medium to express themselves, they lost momentum as social networks took over. Yet, some of them keep writing posts on their personal websites/ blogs. The thoughtful among them, yes.

Arun Jaitley blog

It made news when a spokesman of the main opposition party, the Congress, chose to call Arun Jaitley names. "He is writing hollow blogs to regain lost political relevance," it was said. The provocation was a post written by Arun Jaitley, India's Finance Minister who is recuperating after a serious illness and has not been able to be active in his ministerial portfolio for some time. In his post titled 'Is Congress Becoming Ideologyless? Is Anti-Modism its only ideology?', he had lambasted Congress leaders for blindly opposing the Prime Minister and not seeing the gains of his welfare/ developmental schemes.

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Blogging is growing, with tilt towards earning than socialization

I believe that blogging is not going to evaporate as some media pundits have been predicting. It is only growing in forms and formats. Yesterday it was in the form of a diary, which initially had hardly any customization and had just some text and links. Then it started adding pics, audio and video. Then came all types of technological frills that can make a blog as modern and full of functionalities as any other modern website.

In the western countries where e-commerce came early, blogs started earning money. It also led to use of SEO tricks that have been frowned upon by search engines and therefore no longer work. But the blogosphere has matured now in those countries, and blogging is a mainstream online activity and some have adopted it as business. In other countries, the use of internet - especially through the mobile phone - has grown fast in recent years and blogging is becoming a serious earning activity.

The monetization intent is making the blogosphere a business arena more than a social networking place as the latter activity has been taken over almost completely by social networking, messaging, social sharing and social bookmarking, aided by mobile apps.

blogging is now focused more on earning

If you are interested in further discussion on this topic, look for 'earning' tag on this blog. You could also consider buying The Manual of Blogging.