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Here’s NZConservative blogger Lucia Maria, replying to [public] correspondence with the successful applicant in the recent internet take-down and gagging order case I referred to in Is this what we want? Internet ‘take down’ and indefinite gagging orders? and
Steven Price: ‘wider factors to consider’ in recent online gagging order.

As I do (and others do), Lucia Maria says she feels uneasy about aspects of Judge Harvey’s decision and its implications. (I said: “I find the whole thing chilling and unsettling.”)

Her comments below, in the comment stream of her blog post yesterday Private messages regarding recent online harassment case also reflect the very real sense of tension (‘Should I speak up, in the face of predictable, aggressive criticism for so doing?’) that led me to quote Pastor Martin Niemöller’s poem, “First they came for the …”

Hey Madeleine,

The thing is, I’m looking at this from a blogger’s perspective and how dangerous for me personally it might be to disagree with you about anything that you take offense to. That tempers everything. Every interaction will now be through the lens of personal safety, now that I can see how easy it could be for someone to be legally targeted because what they’ve posted could be seen to have caused a reasonable person personal distress. That’s also making it very difficult for me to actually do what I wanted to do, which is to expand upon my first post on this topic on the topic of free speech.

As a blogger, that’s a big deal to me. My free speech is now being affected because I have to think to myself – is it worth it to say anything? When I wrote my first post [here – ed.] I wondered how much trouble I would get into for it, as trivial as it was and as little as I actually did say, and then I thought – that’s cowardly, and so I went ahead after thinking about it for a day or so, because to not do so would be to ignore something really big that’s happened here in NZ that matters, that needs to be talked about in detail.

And then I get the “intervention” of private comments seeking to guilt me into removing the post (making all sorts of moral judgements and using inflammatory and patronising language as if I’m an idiot or evil) and this post as well, which at least is public due to me having to drive you guys out into the open.

So, don’t worry about having hurt me, you haven’t. I’m not hurt, but I am seriously annoyed. And so I take breaks so that I don’t post things I regret later.

However, I refuse to get herded into a corner on this, and I’m not going to shut up about the potential clampdown on bloggers and free speech, and I’m not going to get guilted into not talking about this because of why you thought the harassment case was necessary in the first place. They are two completely different things – one being cause and the other effect. Yes, they are related, but it would be good to be able to talk about the consequences of this without a whole lot of emotion being constantly thrown around to drown out the conversation.

So that’s where I at. Give me some time to calm down and let me post on what I want to post and we’ll be good.

7:06 PM, June 25, 2013

For full context, see Lucia Maria’s post: Private messages regarding recent online harassment case.

– P

UPDATE: And this follow-up comment from Lucia Maria (I might start referring to her as ‘Lucid’ Maria!) seems to have penetrated the issue for one of my, er, ‘outspoken critics’ … which is a good thing.

Lucia Maria said…

Not read the judgement, huh, Scalia? The test is what would cause a reasonable person “distress” after two incidents in a year – the incidents being referred to are blog posts and comments. Most people wouldn’t bother, of course. But it’s like the Sword of Damocles that could fall on anyone on any moment. Most bloggers tend to annoy people. Wait till some of those people figure out what type of weapon this could provide them.

8:00 PM, June 25, 2013

scrubone said…
[…quotes comment above…]
Ah, I see your problem.

I think that is a *very* valid concern, as you have raised it, and deserves some consideration and explanation. If I have my facts correct here, that’s the new test that’s been established (don’t have time to read the judgment) but it’s not something in isolation, it merely joins the other tests, all of which must me(sic) met.

If that were the only one, heck, I’d be joining you!

11:14 AM, June 26, 2013

scrubone said…

Well, having worked out Lucia’s issue I’ve decided to delete my comments here – she’s right, we should be debating the principles, not the case.

11:18 AM, June 26, 2013