The outing of a political blogger in Australia once again brings the issue of online anonymity into the spotlight. Harsh words have also been directed at the Murdoch-owned News Ltd group, with suggestions that at the very least it is being inconsistent in its stance on blogging. The immediate cause of all the fuss is the …
So, outing the guy will likely silence him.
I would say that's a rather serious point in the freedom of speech issue at hand. Does causing an influential blogger to stop blogging serve the public good? Weren't his readers expected to make up their own minds anyway?
If the blogger outed himself had a hidden agenda, using his anonymity or pseudonymity to wilfully misrepresent himself, I might agree outing to be justified. Now? It's an infringment on his rights. That is, if this is indeed a case where he's venting private opinion that he otehrwise couldn't because he's a public servant by day. Which in my book is an enabler, not an abuse.
Of course, some people choose to abuse their anonymity. But knowing that is no reason to ban anonymity. Or should we ban all people just because some are very bad people indeed?
Can we not talk about Guido Fawkes in anything other than the contemptuous tones befitting a blogger who is about as anonymous as the Stig. The guy feeds out rumour as if it is fact and his readership are happy to accept it because they are the same sort of people, fascinated with the idea of power and celebrity, that read dross like OK magazine.
News International has done this before. The Times did for UK police blogger Nightjack about 18 months back.
Where are you from? Australia doesn't guarantee freedom of speech!
That would be the point.
Maybe they should change that, then. And pretty soon, before "the right to get censored" becomes entrenched as the status quo. Wasn't that what the discussion was about?