charles johnson v. indymedia
I've had my share of run-ins with the folks at Indymedia. While they told lies about me and even printed my phone number and address, those things don't come close to what an Indymedia poster did to Charles.
I won't quote any of it here, you'll have to go read it yourself. Steven DenBest thinks Charles has a good case for libel. However, you may recall the big noise the blogosphere back in June when it was announced that forum operators and bloggers could not be held for libel:
blockquote>The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last Tuesday that Web loggers, website operators and e-mail list editors can't be held responsible for libel for information they republish, extending crucial First Amendment protections to do-it-yourself online publishers
Actually, that was not a totally true statement. It turns out that email list editors and forum operators were off the hook; individual bloggers were not.
Indymedia is a forum, not a blog. If Charles wanted, he could sue the person who posted the statement, if he could find out who the person really is. He could probably try to sue the Indymedia moderators, for not taking the post down when it was obviously inflammatory and against the rules of Indymedia posting.
But - suprise here - I am not one of those who is going to cry for Indymedia to be shut down because of this. For all our talk about free speech, some of us seem awfully eager to shut people up.
I'm just afraid this is going to blow up into something else entirely; maybe a reason for many bloggers and blog readers to get together and try to kill Indymedia once and for all.
That would be a shame. As much as I despise that site, I do recognize that they have a right to exist. Take on the individual who made the comments, by all means. But don't try to get the whole place shut down. It would be censorship, a form of stifling those who oppose you. It would be a blow against free speech to shut down a whole site for one post on one sub-site among many.
Yes, Indymedia posts some horrible things. They are violently anti-Semitic. They hate everyone except themselves and Karl Marx. It is an ugly, hateful world inside the bowels of that sewer.
Yet I am violently pro-Israel. I hate the people at DU and IMC. I write about it often. I call them names. wish ugly things upon them. I am, at times, no better than them. I just happen to think my ideas are right, just as they believe that their ideas are right.
I think there are an awful lot of bloggers and readers who are looking at this not as a wrong against Charles, but as a chance to shut Indymedia up once and for all. If I could say one thing to them it would be: go after the individual, not the entire IMC community and all of its websites.
As much as I deplore the views and ideologies of Indymedia, I still realize if people start chasing them in the dark with torches held high, we all look bad. Free speech works both ways and we need to remind ourselves of that often.