Friday, January 13, 2006

Anglofonia, num governo perto de si

Create an e-annoyance, go to jail

Last Thursday, President Bush signed into law a prohibition on posting annoying Web messages or sending annoying e-mail messages without disclosing your true identity.


"The use of the word 'annoy' is particularly problematic," says Marv Johnson, legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union. "What's annoying to one person may not be annoying to someone else."


That kind of prohibition might make sense. But why should merely annoying someone be illegal?

There are perfectly legitimate reasons to set up a Web site or write something incendiary without telling everyone exactly who you are.

Think about it: A woman fired by a manager who demanded sexual favors wants to blog about it without divulging her full name. An aspiring pundit hopes to set up the next A frustrated citizen wants to send e-mail describing corruption in local government without worrying about reprisals.

In each of those three cases, someone's probably going to be annoyed. That's enough to make the action a crime.



Muslim leader faces police questioning about 'homophobic' remarks

A British Muslim leader is being investigated by the police for allegedly homophobic remarks made during a radio interview.

Sir Iqbal Sacranie, the secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain, said that homosexual practices were "harmful" and civil partnerships "not acceptable" last week.


Peter Rippon, the programme's editor, was telephoned by an officer at West End Central police station in London yesterday, who said that he was investigating a homophobic incident under section 5 of the Public Order Act 1986.

This makes it an offence for a person to use "threatening, abusive or insulting words" within the hearing of "a person likely to be caused harassment, alarm or distress" as a result.

The prosecution must also establish that the defendant intended his words to be threatening, abusive or insulting or that he was aware that they may be.

It is a defence for the accused to prove that his conduct was reasonable. The maximum penalty is a fine of £1,000.

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