Thursday, January 08, 2009

Bloggers, Libel and Defamation

Donal Blaney has kindly alerted me to an excellent feature from the Law Society Gazette on the issue of bloggers and libel. If you are a blogger yourself you should definitely read it HERE. I think this is going to be an issue of growing relevance and importance this year, and bloggers need to be increasingly knowledgeable about what is and what isn't acceptable both in terms of what they write and what they allow to be published in their comments.


Anonymous said...
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weathercock said...

Martin, we need you back @ PB. We all miss you. :-)


Anonymous said...
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cartermagna said...

Which bloggers do you see as having to be careful then Iain? From what I could make of the article blogs are now every bit as accessable as a newspaper and so have to be careful about what they portray as fact or opinion. No?

I mean, The Devil's kitchen, as a blog entity doesn't worry about calling anybody, well, anything! And long may this continue btw. However, will we as bloggers get into hot water if it's proven that Gordon brown is actually a rather decent chap and we've all been doing him and the track suited one a great disservice? I think we're pretty safe on that but one really would like to be sure.

Blaad said...

Doesn't take too much to realise Guido will need to moderate many of his Geoff Hoon fans

Old Holborn said...
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Unknown said...

Old Holborn is just offensive. Care to do us a favour and ban this scrotum from ever commenting on your blog again Iain?

Old Holborn said...

He can't

The best he can do is delete my comments

When he gets back from the Friends of Israel party

Iain Dale said...

Old Holborn's post above was deleted for swearing.

Old Holborn said...

But not for the content

Fair enough Iain, that I can respect.

I've chucked in blogging by the way. Too many weirdos want me and my family dead after Obo the Clown published my name and address.

God alone knows what you have to put up with

Old Holborn said...

Hot News from Gaza, South Zion

Today, at 1pm, the invincible Army of Jehovah, currently busy clearing a small patch of scrub land of over one million juvenile weeds, stopped and took a Pizza break for a couple of hours.

“Blaahdy Hell, peeps. Dis Pizza tastes good! Is it Kosha? I wouldn’t want to eat any Goyim poop, innit. dirty hands, all of dem” said Abe van der Kafirbasher, a recent immigrant to Gods Chosen Land from 2nd Place God’s Chosen Land, South Africa.

Literally tens of people all over the world have donated Matzkas and gefilte fish, boiled beef and carrots to keep God’s Army on the move.

Meanwhile, in the wastelands of Gaza, local filth, who have lived there for a thousand years, used the lunch break (sponsored by Guido-Dale, DK Ltd and Moisha’s Pizza Ltd) to bury their children, try and find water and find somewhere to hide from IDF phosphorous bombs (courtesy of Lockheed Martin Inc.* Motto-Ready when you are, A-rab mo-pho)

Hamas, the 12 evil terrorist people who have lived there for more than 1,000 years more than God’s Chosen People have appealed to the satanic State of Iran for more steel piping and some fertiliser to make fireworks with, whilst the Glorious IDF today took delivery of some new nukes, 120 Apaches, a brace of F-16’s and a gaggle of cluster bombs, fresh and free of charge from their sponsors, Finkelstein, Dale and Fawkes, Lawyers, Lower Bronx, Ny, Ny.

Major Schnickel “Alf” Garnetberg of the IDF was reported as saying “Blaaady Red Cross, Blaady shoot the bastards, that’s what I say, ya silly moo. What are they doing on a dung heap anyway? Bloody c***ns”

This has been an Associated Press report on behalf of BernieEcllesteinberg News, Madoff Drive, AlanSugerberg. OiVey 01116 Tel Aviv.

Reposted with no swearing. Courtesy of New Labour Friends of Israel

John Pickworth said...

Old Holborn said...

"... Too many weirdos want me and my family dead after Obo the Clown published my name and address"

No he did NOT.

An untruth which, ironically (given the topic here), could be construed as libellous and moreover a malicious one given your frequent and repetitive posting of it across the blogosphere.

Seriously, I doubt anyone gave a damn about your name and address until you started incessantly bitching about it; and most of those are probably frustrated participants of the "Guess Old Holborn's Past" Christmas quiz which YOU held recently.

By the way, any sicko internet killers out there? Old Holborn has gone into protective hiding and is now posting under the assumed name of Old Holborn. Yeah, right, that'll fox 'em.

Jeeze, OH, you're becoming a parody of yourself.

Don't Call Me Dave said...

Getting to back to the subject matter at hand…

There is a world of difference between saying, for example, Cllr X is a useless idiot (which is an opinion and fair comment) and Cllr X is a paedophile, which would be libellous - unless of course the person in question was a convicted paedophile!

Bloggers do need to be careful not to cross the line, but the worry is that Labour will bring in legislation to try and curb the anarchic nature of the internet - which it what makes it so appealing to so many. I don’t think the Conservatives would oppose such legislation as they don’t like their people being slagged off either.

Thanks to blogs like this, politicians no longer have a monopoly on expressing opinions, and that is what gets under their skin.

Rupert White said...


Actually, I think saying a cllr is 'useless' might well stray into defamation, as you're saying s/he's incompetent. It's this lack of basic defamation law that is the heart of the problem that our feature was about.

However, I'm enormously glad it galvanised a post and comments on Dale's Diary! Thanks for reading.

(the features editor of the Gazette)