Tuesday, February 17, 2009

it's called censorship

…or perhaps just incredible naivety.

The Victorian police want to ban blog messages about the accused Churchill arsonist.

I’d think that there would be better uses for police resources right now. What about you?

Update: The Age has a digital front page headline 'Arson' blog rants pulled (once you click on the link the header is "'Arsonist' online threats taken down") though the article relates to Facebook and Myspace. Very sloppy reporting The Age. I am sick of bloggers getting a bad name.

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Anonymous Ruby said...

What's the point in blogging about the accused? It could jeopardise the case. The accused is innocent at the moment. Let justice take its course and blog about it afterwards.

11:58 am  
Blogger Pavlov's Cat said...

I agree with Ruby; I don't think it's either censorship or naivety, but rather a desperate attempt to make sure the course of justice isn't utterly derailed by lessening the possibility of an untainted jury. Everyone who puts facts or opinions about this bloke in the public domain is helping to postpone his trial and make his conviction less likely.

12:08 pm  
Blogger Another Outspoken Female said...

"We'll talk with the [Department of Public Prosecutions] and we'll also make some inquiries with the blogging side of it, whether we can have it removed."

I think the above quote from Deputy Commissioner Kieran Walshe shows naivety, the idea that they could trawl through every comment on every blog that mentions the bloke - and squash it.

I am all for justice, as I mentioned a couple of posts ago and think it will be very difficult for this man to have a fair trial, especially in Victoria. Although it appeared to be no secret about his identity in the Churchill area, I do think with such a distinctive name there was grounds to continued nondisclosure of his identity (there are only 2 homes registered to that surname in Churchill). It would be good to think that his children were afforded safety.

How will they manage a jury selection in Victoria to filter out every person remotely affected by the bushfires, who hasn't at least had some kind of emotional response?

I think blogging is just the tip of the iceberg. The amount of hot heads who have had media airplay voicing their opinions as to the fate of this man, even before he is proven guilty, is overwhelming.

12:50 pm  
Blogger Pavlov's Cat said...

Agreed about the impossibility of an unaffected jury. Also, I think your update is right and that we're dealing with spokespersons and journalists inexperienced in the different forms of online activity -- I wondered about the wording myself, as I'd understood that the problem was Facebook rather than blogging. I have several Luddite friends who have no idea what the difference is but don't let that stop them voicing firm opinions about both. Sigh.

2:47 pm  
Blogger Margaret said...

Yes, it's censorship, but no different from the censorship of other areas of the media. I don't know what alternative there is if we want to aim to have untarnished trials.

3:11 pm  
Blogger Melba said...

I agree with what is being said about fair trial etc. I also think that it is Facebook that is the problem, not general blogging. There has been a lack of restraint on Facebook that I've not seen on blogs, which is really quite scary.

10:51 pm  

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