Friday, December 25, 2009
Blogger Whaleoil to be prosecuted...
"The man who writes Whaleoil, one of the country's best known blogs, is being prosecuted for what police say is breach of court suppression orders.
Cameron Slater is the first New Zealand blogger to be taken to court instead of just warned.
He has removed the items from his website after advice that if he didn't, he could be fined $5000 a day.
It is a tricky name and shame campaign which has landed the right wing blogger, known as Whaleoil, in hot water with the law.
Slater says he is being prosecuted for naming two celebrities on his blog.
“I've allegedly named two celebrities or so called celebrities on my blog - that’s what the police have alleged,” he says.
But it wasn't words that Slater posted on his blog; it was a series of pictures which the police say reveals the identities of two high profile people with name suppression for separate sexual offences.
“They've got form - they've got history - ones been in the slammer before so I couldn't see a reason why they should have name suppression,” he says.
Slater says he hasn't named anyone - just posted a series of random pictures, but media expert Martin Hirst believes that is enough to get him busted.
“Perhaps he was thinking that this was a clever way to get around the whole legal problem he's now facing, obviously the prosecutors had a different idea,” he says.
Posting the pictures was a protest by Slater at the way suppression orders are granted.
Although the internet has become a popular place for publishing suppressed material this is the first time a blogger will be brought before the courts.
Slater will be appearing at the Auckland District Court on January 5, he says he will fight any charges and that pictures will form part of his defence."
So what does this mean for other bloggers? Well, in my opinion there are two issues here. Whaleoil has broken a specific suppression order and law: Firstly,he released informed suppressed by the courts. He hasn't been denied the opportunity to release general information in his blog. New Zealand is not Fiji, China, Iran or Zimbabwe in this respect. Secondly, his opinion about the suppression law is a different issue, and I'm inclined to support him to some degree: Some people have their names suppressed during court trials for pretty flimsy reasons at times. So for the latter: Go for it Whaleoil!
Acknowledgements: Rebecca Wright, 3 News