City Council Forces Forum Offline; Claims Debate Should Take Place At Meetings Only
from the civilized-people-don't-do-online-forums dept
Eric Samson writes "The city council of the small town of Rawdon, Quebec (population: 9400) has managed to get a court order to shut down an online forum (French only) because its users were posting messages that were considered ‘defamatory and detrimental to the reputation’ of the elected board. Police raided the forum owner’s house, copied his entire hard drive and asked him to delete the offending posts, and when he said he had over 8,000 messages to look through, they did not specify which ones were specifically targeted.
So he simply shut down the site.
Five other users, posting under their real name, were visited by police as well. The city’s lawyer declared: “What we can’t do in newspapers, on the radio, or on TV, we can’t do on the Internet. This is the message we’re trying to get across.” The mayor had this to say: “Debate should be civilized and take place during Council meetings.”"
Democracy may be messy, but it seems rather pointless to completely shut off an avenue for discussion just because some parties are a little rude. If any individual was being defamatory, charge them with defamation — don’t shut down the whole thing. And, to then claim that debate should only take place at council meetings shows a council that isn’t just out of touch with technology, but with democracy as well.