A few weeks ago, the political blogosphere united to condemn the actions of Alisher Usmanov and his lawyers for attempting to shut down Craig Murray’s blog. We were right to do so; what made Usmanov’s actions particularly reprehensible was the way he used the law to intimidate Murray’s hosting company while cowardly avoiding a fight with Murray’s publisher who had already printed the allegations two years previously.
Now, Ben Goldacre draws our attention to another attempt to shut down a blogger. This time the fight is between a scientist and the Society of Homeopathy.
Andy Lewis‘ allegations seem quite straightforward. The Society has clear guidelines and Andy has what appears to be relatively clear evidence that one of its members is in breach of these guidelines. This isn’t about homeopaths making exaggerated claims about curing head colds to middle class Brits either, but involves potentially dangerous attempts to market homeopathy as a cure for malaria in Kenya.
Andy Lewis demanded answers: the response was a writ issued to his hosting company who subsequently took down the offending article. Sound familiar?
Sound familiar? It should do. There’s a growing list of bloggers who are protesting about this. So come on then Tom, Iain, Guido, Tim and others, how about it?
(pardon me while I try shoe-horning this pun in place… ugh… there)
A welcome return to Craig Murray, still unbowed despite Alisher Usmanov’s attempts to shut him up. I think we should thank all the newspaper and broadcast journalists out there who have bravely and tirelessly reported this case beyond simply mentioning that Boris Johnson has been taken down as well. Does anyone know anyone?
At the risk of not having anything particularly new or interesting to say, I thought I’d better add my voice to the growing throng condemning Alisher Usmanov’s successful bid to shut down Craig Murray and Tim Ireland. It illustrates the vulnerability the blogosphere has to punitive libel laws such as the ones we have in this country; similar action against a newspaper would be much more difficult (although legal action against a newspaper’s distributor has been attempted in the past). Many of us are hosted by small companies who are incredibly vulnerable to the merest threat of legal action. Does such a thing exist? I can only find a single reference to one Out There – and that is to a call for a US version.
UPDATE: The BBC have reported Usmanov buying a blocking stake in Arsenal, but have not covered this angle. Curious, no?