A clash between bloggers and business, with claims of heavy handed attempts at censorship – from a blog renowned for censoring comments.
On Thursday Martyn Bradbury posted overdramatically The NZ Police would like to have a word with me.
In this media landscape where progressive voices challenging authority get strangled off on a near monthly basis, hearing that the NZ Police are suddenly looking for you gives one a slight cold shiver up your spine.
I’ve just been contacted by friends that the NZ Police are keen to speak to me*. A Detective no less. I’ve been asked to meet with the Police tomorrow at midday to discuss this blog by John Minto.
Mr Talley and his rich friends certainly seem to have a lot of pull to be able to get Detective’s to contact blogs wanting a chat about negative coverage.
I will state here so there is no confusion, I will not censor or remove John’s blog from this site.
I won’t be intimidated or threatened or pushed around by monied industries who make workers lives a misery.
I will explain that in polite language to the Police tomorrow.
If you don’t hear from me after midday Friday, I’m guessing it will be because I’m under arrest.
Welcome to the new world of intimidation.
Welcome to Bradbury’s same old dramatics.
He refers to another Daily Blog post, by John Minto, where he refers to someone as “butcher of meat and workers” and repeat’s a Mike Treen comment accusing a company of being “reactionary corporate murderers”.
And Minto calls on a boycott campaign.
Consumer products from South Africa were targeted. Companies importing South African wine were picketed and normal business disrupted while people were urged to boycott the likes of South African guavas and dried apricots.
Consumer boycotts themselves are difficult to make economically effective but coupled with a little bit of creative shopping their effect can be dramatically multiplied.
People would go into supermarkets with their car key and quietly puncture the bags of dried apricots and scratch the labels on the wine bottles to make them unsaleable. People would also take packets of dried apricots from the shelf into their supermarket trollies and deposit them at the bottom of the deep freeze under the frozen peas.
Small acts of civil disobedience like this are an appropriate response to the vicious attacks on workers’ rights.
So the aim is to sabotage products with an aim to sabotage a company. I don’t know how valid their complaints against the company – Talleys – is but this looks a bit like the campaign against TV3 for reducing current affairs by canning the John Campbell show. Sabotaging TV3 would significant;y reduce television diversity and coverage of current affairs.
Then yesterday Bradbury poisted again: NZ Police request Minto blog be removed or censored
I asked under what law the Police were asking me to do this and the Detective replied no law, they were just asking me to do so.
I asked if there had been an official complaint, the Detective said no, the blog had just ‘come to their attention’. I asked if the Police regularly monitored blogs to see if they were breaking laws he said no but this one had.
The Detective again asked if I would remove or censor the blog, I told him that no I would not as the principle of free speech was one I took seriously.
The Detective said I would be contacted next week.
Talley’s is a company with a well known track record for maiming their own workers, adopting hunger to starve 5000 kids as a negotiating tactic and Union busting work conditions. The only public safety issues here are the way Talley’s treat their workers, not activists intent on resisting the cruelty Talley’s operates under.
The Police should be arresting Talley’s, not demanding I censor blogs.
If Minto, Treen, Bradbury and accomplices manage to drive Talleys under that puts more than 5,000 people’s jobs at risk. Those workers may not appreciate campaigns against their livelihood.
From what Bradbury has said the Police didn’t ‘demand’, he describes it elsewhere in his post as ‘requested’ and ‘asked me’.
Involving the Police in trying to moderate blog posts does seem heavy handed by presumably someone associated with Talleys.
But the accusations and language used by Treen, Minto and Bradbury are quite extreme and could be legally actionable.
Many of the comments on both posts are also extreme.
One comment, by unionist and ex Labour MP Darien Fenton is more calm and chilling.
Next thing you’ll get a legal letter threatening you with defamation. So will John. You can add it to the pile they’ve already sent to the MWU.
There seems to be a flurry of threatening legal action to try and shut down commentary, with Colin Craig still promising multiple defamation actions and Jordan Williams yesterday actually filing against Craig.
There’s serious issues here involving free speech rights and responsibilities.
People with the financial or legal means of challenging online speech could be reasonably protecting themselves from damaging and false accusations. Or they could be using an imbalance of power to threaten and intimidate to clamp down free expression.
And people like Minto, Treen and Bradbury could be bravely holding corporates and rich and powerful people to account. Or they could be maliciously trying to damage businesses and threaten jobs.
It could be a mix of all of those things.
I don’t think taking conflict to extremes wil do either side any favours.
What should Talleys do when they don’t like the ‘free speech’ of Minto and Bradbury at The Daily Blog?
They could do what many people do on blogs – respond in comments and state their own case. They could also submit a right of reply. But Bradbury and the Daily Blog are notorious for filtering comments – that’s their own way of censoring.
Which makes “The Police should be arresting Talley’s, not demanding I censor blogs” rather ironic.
Bradbury is standing up against enforced editing, fair enough for that, but censors his blog himself, I’ve experienced that myseklf and many others have claimed comments submitted to The Daily Blog never get pass moderation.
On a supporting post at The Standard – Williams sues Craig and Bomber takes on Police – this comes uip in comments:
It’s been going on since The Daily Blog started – comments often end up “somewhere in space”.
Talleys are understandably annoyed at comments made about them which may be defamatory.
Bradbury is understandably annoyed at the Police becoming involved in asking for the editing of posts. But complaining about attempts at ‘censorship’ when he is renowned as a heavy handed censor himself is more then a little hypocritical.
Free speech is being drowned out here by a cacophony of extreme action and extreme overreaction.