Another test of whether Bloggers should be considered journalists or not is soon coming up in Hawaii. At issue is whether or not a Blogger there should be forced to turn over her sources for a story she wrote on a questionable land deal.

A lawyer trying to get an Internet writer to testify and turn over notes for a court case says Web bloggers shouldn’t have the same rights as mainstream reporters.

With the Internet increasingly blurring the line between “journalists” and everyone else it is only natural that we should come to a time when classifications and rulings must be made.

The courts will have to weigh how many press freedoms extend to the realm of the Internet, said University of Hawaii constitutional law professor Jon Van Dyke.

“How does she differentiate herself from the zillions of other people who use the Internet, posting things on MySpace or whatever?” he asked. “If we’re going to give special protection to the press, we should have some idea of who’s in it and who’s not.”

Absolutely the professor is right. These questions need to be answered. I often wonder myself just when what I write here on the Internet might serve to drag me into court for one reason or another. I get enough hate mail and threats of court action as it is and the legal limbo is a bit off-putting.

… not that this will deter me, naturally.

Still, I hope that, as time goes on, we will see our role as true reporters and journalists affirmed for what they really are; part of the “real” press apparatus of information dissemination in this country.

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