Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Dave Walker, SSG, SPCK update: Breaking News

Elizaphanian, who republished some of Dave Walkers SPCK posts on his blog, and recieved a Cease and Desist note for his troubles, has published the notice, and related correspondence, on his blog today.

One key reason he gives is that the matter is in the public interest, which 900+ extra hits on this blog, and a 200-a-day spike in Matt Wardmans traffic since he started coverage, demonstrate. Both the SPCK story, and the silencing of one of its main narrators, are matters of public interest, going wider than SPCK itself to free speech and its place on the internet. I don't like people using websites to abuse people anonymously, and Dave has consistently, carefully and fairly reported the SPCK case. It's impossible to interpret what he's done as a personal attack on anyone. Dave doesn't do personal attacks, he does irony and humour.

One line in the C&D quotes remarks about 'incompetence' and 'injustice' as defamatory. I would have thought bankruptcy could be interpreted as evidence of financial incompetence, and an ongoing union action on unfair dismissal is evidence of an injustice committed. These are not personal attacks, they are fair descriptions of the situation as it stands.

This is what Sam Norton has written in reply, which I think is entirely fair.
I believe that my blog contains only material which is either true or "fair comment" upon truthful matters.

If there are particular aspects of the material published on my blog which you believe to be neither true nor fair comment I am prepared to look again at specific items.

Please be aware that I consider the making public of this correspondence to be in the public interest, and that I shall share, via my blog and other media, both your original "cease and desist" request, and any subsequent correspondence.

I would assure you that I have no personal malice towards you in this regard. My concern is that an innocent man (Mr David Walker) has been victimised by your actions. Should you be willing at any point in the future to make a public apology to him, leading to him reinstating his blogposts concerning SPCK, then I shall certainly cease and desist any further writings on this affair.

It's a courageous thing to do, well done Sam. If you think this is in the public interest, you might want to copy and repost bits of it on your blogs too. And if you didn't, then you wouldn't be reading this, would you? ;-)

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