9/20/2007

Now Russian Oligarchs can censor British Bloggers

Anyone worried about the rise of the oligarchs and the lack of accountable and democratic government in some former Soviet states should read Iain Dale's comments about the removal of Tim Ireland's Bloggerheads sire from the internet because his web host panicked after receiving threatening letters from solicitors acting on behalf of a Russian Oligarch.

Everyone should be worried by this.

4 comments:

bf bache said...

Great Britain is free. The unwritten constitution is secure. No one is throwing Tim Ireland into the Gulag. He is no John Peter Zenger. He is no Georgi Markov. He has committed no crime. The dispute between him and Mr. Usmanov is a matter wholly within the competence of the civil courts.

Tim Ireland jerked the wrong man around, a man of means who was not willing to accept nonsense from a character Iain Dale has recognized as abusive, thus Ireland's webhost received a demand letter.

His webhost complied. They had a right to defend their interest by reducing or turning away entirely Ireland's custom.

If Mr. Usmanov thinks he has been harmed unjustly by Ireland, he may exercise his rights. He has the right to complain & to seek redress within the courts & without, using all legal means. He has the right to complain, to inform, to gather sympathizers amongst those who do business with Ireland & to seek moral redress.

Too many people have the curious notion that freedom of speech means freedom from (societal) consequences (for misbehavior).

Merlin said...

The point which bf bache appears to be overlooking is that Craig Murray (the former ambassador to Uzbekistan who posted the original article) has repeatedly challenged Usmanov to sue him, which Usmanov has chosen not to do. Murray claims that Usmanov cannot do so because the allegations would be shown to be based in fact.

As the law stands, those who can afford expensive libel lawyers can threaten neutral third parties such as hosting providers in order to curtail free speech without the truth or falsity of the allegations against them ever being tested in open court.

This might not make Great Britain the equivalent of Uzbekistan, where dissidents sometimes end up boiled alive, but it violates free speech and the law should change.

Chris Paul said...

Remodelled as the art lover Alisher Creosotemanov.

Matt Wardman said...

Fisking of "BF" Bache here:

http://www.mattwardman.com/blog/2007/09/27/alisher-usmanov-and-schillings-a-comic-interlude-by-bf-bache/

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