British libel laws swing into action again, protecting the interests of the “uncleansably rich”. Reposted from Pickled Politics:
Well thank god for our stupid libel laws again! Justin McKeating has blogged and sent an email around alerting us to the fact that Tim Ireland and Craig Murray’s blogs have both been taken down by their hosting company.
It happened because both had asked questions about Uzbek minerals billionaire Alisher Usmanov, who recently bought shares in Arsenal. The Guardian pointed out last week:
Schillings, the lawyers acting for Usmanov, have been in touch with several independent Arsenal supporters’ websites and blogs warning them to remove postings referring to allegations made against him by Craig Murray, the former British ambassador to Uzbekistan. Usmanov was jailed under the old Soviet regime but says that he was a political prisoner who was then freed and granted a full pardon once Mikhail Gorbachev came to power as president. Schillings have warned the websites that repetition of Murray’s allegations were regarded as “false, indefensible and grossly defamatory”.
More on Obsolete. British libel laws always make it more difficult on the party with less money. So hosting companies don’t want to take a chance and, at the first threat of legal proceedings, will capitulate. Tim and Craig’s example is worrying because it may have repercussions for British blogging in general. So do blog about this and spread the word! This will hopefully make others re-think before issuing legal threats to bloggers. Oh by the way, we’re hosted in the United States, which have different libel laws :)