The Media Blogger's Association has launched a new website with a new mission statement.
I find this part of the statement particularly poignant:
These forces, whether they be government, corporations, individuals, or others groups or organization, manifest themselves as deep-pocketed litigants who can afford to use the threat of litigation to suppress speech they do not like.
Few bloggers have the financial resources to defend against such a threat and even if they did, few are willing to spend several years in court litigating over their blog which is, for most, a sideline. Having dealt with many such cases over those first three years, we knew that for most bloggers would simply remove a post or even shut down their blog entirely in the fact of what was often a baseless threat. The net effect has been a chilling effect on citizen media, which, left unchecked, would only further embolden litigants and encourage further efforts to encroach on blogger speech. We concluded that bloggers needed a reliable way to punch back, a credible threat, a way to access the same sorts of legal and financial resources being used in attempts to shut down their blogs. Whatever doubts many of us have with traditional media - and there are many – it was also clear that they had been dealing with the exact same sort of threats and learned how to defend themselves.