Tagged: United Kingdom

Cathy Gellis Wins Second Victory Against U.K. Subpoena Seeking To Pierce Blogger Anonymity

Back in October I described how attorney and blogger Cathy Gellis won a significant pro bono victory, quashing Oliver Gobat's subpoena to unmask the blogger behind the St. Lucia Free Press. Gobat, who was suing over blog posts from and about St. Lucia, sued in the United Kingdom, which is to defamation plaintiffs what Walt Disney World is to sticky and demanding children: a fantasy tourism destination. Cathy convinced a California court to quash a subpoena issued here based on the U.K. proceeding; that subpoena to the St. Lucia Free Press's California-based ISP sought the identity of the anonymous blogger....

British "News" Program Censors Mohammad Cartoon While Covering It

Last week I talked about the British controversy over Maajid Nawaz, a Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate who tweeted a link to the satirical cartoon Jesus and Mo, which depicts conversations between a cartoon Jesus and a cartoon Mohammad to explore religious beliefs and attitudes. The United Kingdom's Channel 4 News decided to run a story about the controversy. Naturally they showed a picture of the cartoon so that viewers could make an intelligent assessment of the claims of offense. Well, sort of. In Channel 4 News' story, at about :25, the reporter says: This is the cartoon that is causing...

The Self-Perpetuating Logic Of Censorship

When I oppose things like European prohibitions on denying the Holocaust, or "hate speech" laws, people tell me that I Don't Get It, that these laws address unique situations and unique historical dilemmas, and that they do not represent a wholesale abandonment of the value of freedom of expression. The problem is that censorship is legally and culturally self-perpetuating. Once you accept that it is legitimate to ban speech because it is offensive, or ban ideas as historically dangerous, that decision is used both as a legal precedent and — invoking the values of fairness and equality — as an...

If You Go Far Enough Right OR Left, You'll Wind Up At Segregation Again

Now and then I write about a conflict between "multiculturalism" — as that term is understood by some — and certain core values. Those values include the rule of law, and the equality of all humans before it, and freedom of expression, and freedom of worship. "Multiculturalism" and "core values" need not conflict. Rationally understood, multiculturalism is simply an openness to ideas and contributions from cultures other than our own, and an interest in the history, artistic expression, and philosophy of other cultures. Multiculturalism encourages us not to be hostile to or afraid of something because it originates from somewhere...

Good News From The United Kingdom: Lesley Kemp Prevails Against Censorious Thuggery

Back in April I wrote about Lesley Kemp, a transcriber who was sued for defamation in England when she complained on Twitter about delays in being paid by Resolution Productions and its principal Kirby Kearns. When I wrote Resolution Productions seeking comment, I received a threatening-to-the-best-of-his-limited-abilities email from Barjinder Sahota of Sahota Solicitors who demanded that I "resist and desist" writing bad things about his clients. I responded like me. Good news today: Ms. Kemp has won and the plaintiff Kirby Kearns has abandoned the field. Kemp was tremendously fortunate to secure pro bono help from Robert Dougans of Bryan...

Cathy Gellis Wins Pro Bono Victory Against U.K. Defamation Subpoena

I've previously praised Cathy Gellis, who helped provide pro bono representation to an anonymous satirical blogger menaced by Charles Carreon, and who has guest-blogged here about the Prenda Law debacle. Time for more kudos. Last week Cathy — again offering her valuable services pro bono — won a hard-fought free speech battle and succeeded in quashing a subpoena that sought to unmask an anonymous blogger. The blog — the St. Lucia Free Press — wrote critically about the development of a local resort and made accusations of misconduct. One executive — Oliver Gobat — asserted that the St. Lucia Free...

Four Points To Remember In Connection With The Detention of David Miranda

This weekend British authorities detained David Miranda — a Brazilian citizen and partner of journalist Glenn Greenwald — for nine hours at Heathrow Airport as he traveled from Berlin to Brazil. Miranda was detained under Schedule 7 of the U.K.'s Terrorism Act of 2000, which allows up-to-nine-hour detentions at the border when British agents wish to question travelers they believe might be "concerned in the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism." British authorities reportedly took all of Miranda's electronics and electronic storage devices. Miranda had been visiting filmmaker Laura Poitras, who has been repeatedly detained by the United...

We're Here, We're Snivelling Censors, Get Used To It!

Straight Pride UK is an organization that fights for the equal social and legal rights of heterosexuals and sentence fragments: The celebration of one's heterosexuality. It is not a bigoted or intolerant thing to proclaim-it is simply stating the truth, that you are straight and not ashamed of that fact. Straight Pride UK — which also has a Twitter presence — is concerned with heterosexuals being "silenced and abused." Now, it's perfectly reasonable to be concerned about mounting censorship in the UK, though I see no indication that heterosexuals are subjected to it more than absolutely anyone who says anything...

I Guess Being A Thug Is Better Than Being A Child Molester

Robert Alistair McAlpine, Baron McAlpine of West Green, is not a child molester. When BBC2's Newsnight reported on a child abuse scandal, it incorrectly stated that a "a prominent Thatcher-era Tory figure" had engaged in child abuse. This report, premised on mistaken identity, was widely understood to refer to Lord McAlpine, and intended to refer to him. It is hard to imagine a more damaging false accusation than one of child abuse. The BBC has apologized and paid Lord McAlpine; if (as the stories linked above suggest) it was reckless in its reporting, that's a just result. But Lord McAlpine...

Mo The Rutabaga Isn't Safe In The U.S., Either

I've been pretty tough on the United Kingdom recently, what with them arresting people for burning poppies and trying to make Twitter free of offense and threatening U.S. websites and thus-and-such. But it's only fair to point out that it's not necessarily safe to carry around my rutabaga named Mo here in the United States, either. Courtesy of commenter Trebuchet and Ed Brayton, I discovered Eugene Volokh's testimony to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, which offers numerous examples of embarrassing attempts by American academics to suppress speech. They don't call it blasphemy, but they might as well. Volokh's conclusion...

Upon Hearing Of The Arrest Of A Kent Man For Burning A Poppy

In Churchill's realm the weaklings grow They report mean words, blow by blow to the police; and in the sky The cameras, for their safety, spy Scarce cared of by the men below. They are the Hurt. Short years ago They fought, sought truth, and bravely strove, Spoke out their mind, but now they whine In Churchill's realm. Take up their quarrel with the foe: No hurtful words disturb their soul The torch; be yours to hold it high: With feelings must the law comply Make careful speech, when weaklings grow In Churchill's realm.

Well, Now I'm DEFINITELY Not Taking Mo the Rutabaga to England!

A couple of weeks ago I introduced you to my rutabaga, Mo. I expressed my angst at traveling with Mo to England because lunatic student union "officials" at universities there apparently have a grave problem with offensive fruits and vegetables, as demonstrated by the experience of the University of Reading Atheist, Humanist & Secularist Society, which got in trouble for naming a pineapple Mohammed. Most people — sensible people – recognized that the Reading University Student Union "officials" acted like jackasses. There was hope — a hope born from faith, not experience — that over time cooler heads would prevail....

This is my rutabaga. His Name is Mo.

There are many like him, but he is mine. He has never let me down, and in sharp contrast to the lot of you, he never will. I mean, until he rots. I would like to take Mo on a trip. It's been 21 years since I lived in England; I thought I could take him there. But I have some concerns — and I'm not just talking about the TSA violating him. In fact, I'm worried that I might be banned from some places in England if I bring Mo.

United Kingdom Makes Sincere Attempt To Kick Assholes Off Internet

It's really not my intent to make this bash-the-UK week. In my defense, they seem to be trolling me. Dateline: Lancashire. A 19-year-old oaf named Michael Woods writes nasty and stupid things on the internet about the abduction and murder of five-year-old April Jones. For this — for the crime of sending a "message or other matter that is grossly offensive by means of a public electronic communications network" — he was arrested "for his own safety" and, after a guilty plea, sentenced to three months in jail by outraged authorites. What did he say? Matthew Woods, 19, from Chorley,...

United Kingdom Fecklessly Badgers American Website

I am neither a booster nor a detractor of badgers, the 2000 Rose Bowl notwithstanding. I am, however, a booster of free speech, and a detractor of bullies. Therefore, today I tell the following to the government of the United Kingdom, with all respect that is due: back the feck off or we'll put a boot up your arse.