On March 18th, 2010, Ambroise PIERRE, in charge of the Africa desk for Reporters without Borders, met with four Antananarivo-based bloggers: Pakysse, Jentilisa, Avylavitra and I. He wanted to know more about the real situation of local journalism in particular and the freedom of speech in general. He was more interested in the involvements of the Malagasy journalism on the political turmoil, and the effects of such crisis (which is not over yet) on Malagasy journalists and on freedom of speech.This appointment was not possible without the priceless help of a former Malagasy journalist and blogger: Randy Donny
Here is a little extract from his report which is visible on the web site of RWB and released on July 12th, 2010. This part dealt with the implication of “new media” on the crisis which started on January 2009.
“FOKO” and the Malagasy blogosphere
Pakysse, Cyber Observer, Jentilisa and Avylavitra,are bloggers, members of “FOKO” (the tribe in Malagasy), a network which gathers more than 400 members in the capital city and in the regions, and which organizes each year the “BOMBS” (Best Of Malagasy Blogs). Writing in Malagasy, in English, and sometimes in French, they do not write the same type of posts and do not always have the same approach of their activity. They have in common the concern to inform, but do not deal with the same topics and give to themselves more or less freedom in their comments. “I am not a journalist, but I have the right to inform. I express my opinions I hate that conventional journalists do not tell all the truth”, one of them said.
During the crisis, they all blogged about politics, some against their will, others less. “Because we have to do everything by ourselves without a boss, we are our own censors. Here, the problem is not that “we can not tell all the truth”, it is that “we tell anything”. The pecuniary aspect makes traditional journalists do anything, but we understand them, we all have to live. We do the reversed way. We spend to inform. To blog costs us money.”
The development of the blogosphere appears as an oxygen breath to the corrupted and self-censored traditional journalism. Even if, according to them, only 03 to 04% of the whole population use internet on the great island, the network is getting developed, and with it, a new practice of the journalism and freedom of speech.