Saturday, December 26, 2009

To Blog Or Not To Blog: That Is The Question

Whale Oil's logoCameron Slater, writer of the biting political blog Whaleoil, faces court on January 5th., charged with breaching name suppression orders. He posted pictorial clues identifying people in two high-profile sexual offence cases.
It's the first time a NZ blogger's been taken to court, rather than just getting a growling. But Slater says he'll defend his actions because the laws protecting people's identities need changing: NZ's suppression laws were last reviewed six years before the Internet was invented! Also, he says, because websites like his are not owned in or run from New Zealand, it's unclear which countries' laws bloggers should adhere to - a nice try but I suspect the country in which you're actually writing will have the authority.
You're Busted! Cntrl Alt Del!Those in/around journalism a while know the boundaries and, if unsure, common sense makes you pull back a bit. If you're a political blogger like Whaleoil, then you DO know.
Slater claims the Police have made QUOTE: "a small (small?!?) issue of a breach of name suppression into a global debate about the rights and wrongs of criminals being able to hide their details when the victims are often publicly named and their pictures shown for all the world to see."
I see two issues here:
(1) Criminals and accuseds often get seemingly-unfair name suppression (for the sakes of their reputations, families, careers etc) while their victims stand penniless, cower in fear or lie in hospital beds.
(2) Whaleoil knowingly breached legal name suppression orders.
Issue (1) needs serious/urgent overhaul because, yes, it SUCKS!
Issue (2) smells like an experienced blogger being too clever for his own good...and that sucks too!
PS: 06 Jan.2010 - Slater appeared in court yesterday and has been remanded on bail without plea for two weeks. Watch this space (or his...)!
PS: 12 Jan.2010 - Couldn't leave well-enough alone: while on remand Slater's done it again, this time naming a former politician accused of indecent assault, and using computer coding to mask the text! He thinks it's his right to do so, because he feels the law is wrong. Whaleoil is the one who's wrong: until the outdated law is changed, he is breaking it. Simple as that. What a wanker!!

1 comment:

Kiwi Riverman's Blogesphere said...

A reciprocal reply to your visit to my blog. We both agree that Slater is foolish and will cop it from the law, and the law itself needs looking at, because some people are hiding behind it right up to semtencing.