Monday, 25 January 2010

Blogger brings in police to silence another blogger

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A worrying story has broken online today regarding an incident last November, when the Christian student blogger Seismic Shock, was visited at his home by West Yorkshire Police, in relation to posts he had written regarding Anglican Vicar Stephen Sizer. As Padraig Reidy at Index on Censorship explains, Seismic had alleged that Sizer had "associated with Holocaust deniers and anti-Semites". The police, visiting the blogger following a call from Sizer, insisted they were only there for an "informal chat" but, as Seismic Shock explains in a guest post on Harry's Place, the visit still resulted in censorship:
"The sergeant made clear that this was merely an informal chat, in which I agreed to delete my original blog (http://seismicshock.blogspot.com) but maintain my current one (http://seismicshock.wordpress.com). The policeman related to me that his police force had been in contact with the ICT department my previous place of study, and had looked through my files, and that the head of ICT at my university would like to remind me that I should not be using university property in order to associate individuals with terrorists and Holocaust deniers (I am sure other people use university property to make political comments, but nevermind)."
 Index on Censorship asked West Yorkshire Police for their side of the story, and they responded today as follows:
“As a result of a report of harassment, which was referred to us by Surrey Police, two officers from West Yorkshire Police visited the author of the blog concerned. The feelings of the complainant were relayed to the author who voluntarily removed the blog. No formal action was taken.”
Naturally, this news has caused concern around the blogosphere – are the police really willing to intervene to solve disputes among bloggers? Sizer seems to think so - as Index point out, he's even been gloating to an Australian blogger about his new-found ability to call on the law:

Dear Vee,

You must take a little more care who you brand as anti-semitic otherwise you too will be receiving a caution from the police as the young former student of Leeds did recently. One more reference to me and you will be reported.

Blessings
Stephen

5 comments:

Irregular Shed said...

Early vote for Stephen Sizer to end up on the Bad Faith 2010 longlist for this.

Stuart said...

@ Irregular Shed

He'd get my vote!

We wish to show our solidarity with Seismic Shock who has been the victim of intimidation for shining a spotlight on the anti-Zionist theology of Reverend Stephen Sizer.

Miss Addict said...

disturbing. I read about this on neil gaimans blog earlier!

I would hope that the Australian police would have more sense. Our laws differ quite a lot from the UKs. That said with the new laws on internet censorship perhaps I'm wrong!

Eiskrystal said...

Sizer sounds like a horrible little worm. He should remember that what goes around, comes around.

However the blog from what you say was taken down because it is linked to his place of work, who also complained. This was also a formal complaint of harrassment, so, yes, the police would normally do something.

Seismic said...

Thanks guys so much for posting this!