by a Thinker, Sailor, Blogger, Irreverent Guy from Madras

Piss, shit or throw up - don’t whistle, shoot or blow up (2)

That’s the message  for bloggers and tweeters from the UK law enforcement and courts today.  The referred article describes the problems faced by the bloggers and tweeters, if they are intemperate in their language.

updated 13 Nov 2010 :  seems you can be sued for ‘opinions’ - read last paragraph.

  • One was about the former IPL commissioner Lalit Modi who has been accused of several wrong doings to the effect that reportedly his passport has been  withdrawn, including an Interpol alert.  
  • Without getting into the controversy, of interest right now is his defence in the UK courts on libel/slander of a Kiwi cricketer Chris Cairs on match fixing.  The case has been allowed to proceed against Modi.
  • The second and more serious is the case of Gareth Compton, a Tory  who tweeted ‘to stone’ an independent columnist on her criticism about British PM’s actions in China.  He was arrested.
  • The third and most serious was the conviction of Paul Chambers, the accountant who joked about ‘blowing up an airport’.  His tweet was considered ‘menacing’ in the prevailing security situation.

With the courts starting to take such a serious view on what was basically day-to-day talk or gossiping in the pub in the old days.

My suggestion to all bloggers and tweeters is:

Don’t ever use the *menacing* words like shoot, bomb, blow up et al. or their worse counterparts;  Instead start using words like Throw-tomatoes, Fishy, Piss, Shit, Throw up, Puke et. al.

Thinking about it -

Modi could have tweeted that there is something fishy about activities of someone (and I am not implying anyone ;-D ). 

Could he have been sued for slander? 

Match fixing is an serious allegation, but stating something is smelly or fishy is just expressing a suspicion; not an opinion - which cannot be slander.

update:  read last paragraph

Compton could have tweeted calling for ‘pelting tomatoes’ on someone (and I am not implying anyone ;-D ). 

Could he have been arrested? 

Calling for a stoning of someone is a call for physical assault, but pelting tomatoes is a way of expressing disgust - no way is it barbaric - more rotten the tomatoes, more merrier.

Chambers would have been well advised to tweet ‘I am going to piss, shit or throw up everywhere at the airport’. 

Could he have been called menacing?

Taking a leak or crapping or even throwing up can never be a threatening act - uncivilized, but never threatening.

So take heed fellow bloggers and tweeters, there are more ways to skin a cat without getting into trouble.

Before PETA or SPCA get into the act - let me amend it.

So take heed fellow bloggers and tweeters, there are more ways to skin a carrot without getting into trouble.

update:  13 Nov 2010.  It seems an US State Court of Appeals has a different view.  It appears that the court affirms that legal action can be resorted to stop publication of negative opinions.  Read the full story at Chris Gregerson’s website.

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