Responsible travel blogging

June 5th, 2009 by scott and becky

Throughout our journey, we have been reminded that freedom of speech is not a universal right. As travelers and bloggers, we have the opportunity to meet many people, and often we report our meetings in our journal. However, in some of the countries we visited, we suspect that stories we tell are read not just by our friends and families, but also by the various authorities within the country. We hadn’t really thought about this before we left, but part way through our journey, we learned how our writing could have a negative impact on our friends.

A fellow traveler reported something on their blog about current events in the country they were visiting, including some seemingly innocuous commentary by a local friend. Later, that friend was arrested and incarcerated for several days, and was questioned about the comments reported on the blog. We like to think are writing in our own obscure little corner of the Web, but it appears some countries are monitoring even the obscure corners…

We tell you this vague story to remind any fellow travelers that we have a responsibility to the people we meet while we are travelling. Some of these people live in places where our speech may adversely affect their health – so we must use our speech responsibly. Our new friends may be made accountable for what we say. We hope that we have been careful enough in our blogging to not get anyone in trouble. We don’t think our self-censorship has had much effect on the stories we have told, but are unhappy that we needed to do it.

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