64 people have been arrested for blogging in the past 5 years, according to World Information Access report. The average jail time served was 15 months.
More than half the total came from China, Egypt and Iran, but the USA is in there with three and England, France and Canada can boast one blogger arrest each.
I understand most of the categories on a chart that’s made up of what appear to be casino chips, except for “other” and “violating cultural norms.” (Things like “using blog to organise political protest” speak for themselves.) The UK one is in the “violating cultural norms” category. Huh? Violating cultural norms? What on earth are they? Not saying “please” and “thank you”, not staying in line at the cash point, wearing brown shoes with a black suit?
Stopped in my tracks from an incipient rant about denial of freedom of expression when I see that the arrested UK blogger seems to be a turd in human form. The Luton and Dunstable On Sunday News says
Racial hatred arrest for internet blogger
So, I’m a bit torn. I get really irate about bigotry. On balance, though, I still think that these sorts of lunatics are a price we have to pay for “letting a thousand flowers bloom” on the Internet. It’s not as if they disappear when they can’t express themselves. It’s probably not even as if they’d get more than half a dozen hits a day. (Which is where I am sort of cheating, because I might feel more moved to think this was justified if he represented anyone but himself.)
But, what a buffoon.
His photo shows him standing next to a dummy in Crusader costume. I assume that he intends us to identify with the image of the Crusader (which would in itself show a truly pitiful grasp of medieval history) but I took it as him identifying with the dummy
Paul Ray, who uses the pseudonym Lionheart on his provocative online diary, was arrested two weeks ago after returning from South Carolina, America where he was seeking political asylum……..
“I was arrested on suspicion of stirring up racial hatred. They questioned me on parts of my blog. Compared to what’s happening out there I haven’t done that much.
“I’m a Christian – that’s my defence
Political asylum in America? I’ll have to use the LOL word, sorry.
And being a “Christian” is a “defence”? Excuse me while I LOL again. In this case, certainly he isn’t talking about the Christianity of Desmond Tutu or Martin Niemöller. He’s not even talking about the Christianity of the televangelists and creationists. He’s talking about the Christianity of the medieval crusader knights, which bears about as much relationship to a philosophical system as a light bulb does to an Ordnance Survey map of Luton.
All the same, it’s easy to defend the right of self-expression of people who oppose corruption or repression (most of the arrested bloggers.) It’s a lot tougher choice to defend the rights of fools and knaves, but it’s still probably necessary.