After the ruling of the high court this week, which stated that bloggers have no right to privacy under British law since blogging is essentially a public rather than a private activity, there has been a tidal wave of discussion and knee jerk reactions from both sides of the argument. I have been thinking about what this means to the blogosphere and more specifically EMS blogs and I have come to a conclusion which I will share.
Please remember that this is my opinion only and if you disagree with me, please write a comment and lets have a little debate on this if needed!
I am obviously not anonymous on this blog. Everyone who knows me, knows about my blogging escapades and is probably sick to death of how much I go on about blogging this and blogging that. My employers are aware of the blog and I have a general support for what I do (although im sure that would quickly change if I changed the focus and ethos of medicblog999).
I decided to start this blog in the middle of last year. At that time there was a major decision for me to make…..what was this blog going to be like and did I need to be anonymous or not. It took until the 31st December last year for my employers to be happy with what i was going to do and give me the OK to go ahead. If I had been annonymous then this obviously wouldn’t have been needed. I made the conscious decision to tailor this blog around the good aspects of what I do, the reason I love my job, and what I gain from doing what I do. I also decided to share the hard times too, the times where things get on top of me and times where I have really struggled with my feelings and thoughts. It had to be like this, because I wanted the blog to attract people into the service. I wanted people who were thinking of a career in an Ambulance service to get a feel what it is like and the effects it has on a person.
What I didn’t want to do was get involved in the political/management/union side of things. Every job has its problems, every employer makes mistakes as does every employee at one time or another. There are some bloggers who choose to use their blogs to raise awareness into practices or management/government strategies that they believe are not acting in the best interests of the public at large. Most, if not all, of these bloggers choose to be annonymous. They do not shy away from the difficult stories or the policies/procedures which do not work, but they must know the risk that they are taking in doing what they do.
Every NHS employer has job descriptions that states you must not commit any action which may bring the NHS Trust into disrepute. As soon as you start blogging about topics which may bring about a negative impact to your employer, you know that there are people who are going to be actively looking to find out who is the writer and then bring disciplinary action against them.
Maybe I am a coward, maybe some of you reading this may think that I have taken the easy option by deciding not to expose any problems in my service which I may disagree with. My choice was to raise concerns through the proper channels, I have been an active member on a number of committees and have had my say to try and change things for the better of my colleagues and the public of the North East, when the need has arisen.
The NHS whistleblowing policy has been put in place to allow employees the reassurance that there will be no negative comeback if they decide to raise matters of concern. I feel that this is the way I would progress things if I really felt that strongly about something.
I am not surprised by this decision of the High Court. I expect privacy in my private life, that is my own concern and no one elses, but once I put something on my blog, it is out in the public domain and I feel accountable for what I right down.
I admire the bloggers out there that push for change, that expose things that really need to be addressed, but I know I am not one of those bloggers. I would not risk my career for that, as I said, maybe I am a coward, but thats me!
What do you think, should there be protection for bloggers?