With all the hoohah about bloggers’ rights I started wondering about defamation laws for ordinary people like me and you. I totally believe in freedom of speech and I especially believe in the web as a free and democratic space which should not belong to anybody and should serve the people not enslave them like all other institutions seem to do, especially most forms of mass media.
And with people getting sued and locked up left, right and centre in this country, it seems even more pertinent to talk about and fight for, so -called ‘bloggers’ rights’ and the freedom to express oneself.
Like all other media, blogging and anything published on the web is subject to the same liable laws as print and broadcast media. It is hard to fathom that your silly, self-absorbed and self-obsessed little site could be read by at least one person who may find what you say offensive. It could happen. But if you did happen to say something mean or slanderous about someone and that person reads it, it’s not likely that you would get into trouble. Not unless the person you mention is famous ie in the public eye, could you potentially get sued for defamation.
As usual, the law protects those who should actually be exposed, whose actions need to be monitored and who are most accountable for their actions ie public and government officials and not your everday person just minding their own business.
I guess under these circumstances self censorship with regards to respecting the laws of nature and the unwritten laws between fellow citizens need be practiced ie respect. I especially recommend that if you publically state your own creed and code of ethics then I should expect you to at least honour it, if you feel no other law should bind you because of freedom of speech or otherwise.
Like I said, I firmly believe in freedom of speech. But I also believe that everyone should take responsibility for what they say, for their own actions. Because when it comes down to it, you can’t just simply say what you want in a public space. Respect the web and respect your fellow citizens.