Last night I heard a piece on Radio 4 by Paul Wood, a journalist of the BBC, covering the phenomenon of blogs posted by allied combatants in Iraq. These aren’t the filtered, considered views of embedded journalists nor are they the thoughts of military strategists. They’re the raw recollections of soldiers often minutes after action which, alongside contemporaneous YouTube accounts taken with ever-smaller portable cameras, herald a new form of citizen journalism: I term it martial journalism.
Some bloggers regret what they’ve posted. Others think twice and self-edit. Still others are ordered to cease and desist, but their conscience drives them to continue and risk court-martial.
Let us not fool ourselves: sometimes even soldiers will embroider truth or succumb to prejudice, or be influenced by their horrendous experiences to portray a situation in a way that they later discredit. But one cannot deny that this shows the power of blogging to provide a voice in regimes where voices can be silenced.
To find out more simply type Iraq blog into Google. Here, I’ve even done it for you.