Is A Blogger Strike The Best Way To Fight Back Against Laws Designed To Quiet Bloggers?

from the doesn't-seem-like-it dept

Last month, we wrote about a proposed law in Italy that would likely have serious chilling effects on bloggers and other independent online producers, by setting up fines for not pulling down content if someone accuses the site of defamation (not upon a court verdict, just upon accusation). In response, bloggers throughout Italy went on a "blog strike" to protest the proposed law. However, CitMediaLaw points us to a blog post raising the question of how a blog strike accomplishes that goal? If anything it would seem to do the opposite. By silencing themselves, and not talking about the issues, it keeps those issues out of the discussion for whatever period of time. Instead of silencing, why not do what the bloggers do best and talk about the problems of the law so that many more people are aware of them?
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Filed Under: bloggers, censorship, defamation, free speech, italy

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  1. identicon
    Jerry Leichter, 19 Aug 2009 @ 9:42am

    Don't look with just American eyes

    In much of the world, the use of strikes to make a point is a long-established tradition. As it happens, this tradition is very strong in Italy. The basic message of any strike is: We're here, you need our services (see how it hurts you when we don't do our jobs?), you need to give us a place at the table. In the US, strikes are reserved almost entirely for labor negotiations - though there are celebrated examples of other uses: Consider the Birmingham bus boycott. (Actually, this displays a linguistic distinction: Strikes are over labor issues while boycotts are general political tools. There are other ways in which Birmingham wasn't a "strike", but we do tend to maintain that line in the US.)

    The general strike - an attempt to basically shut down the economy - has been a common tactic in parts of the world for many years, but has never had much of a presence in the US, probably because we've never had any unions large enough to pull it off (though in the US in might well produce more anger than sympathy anyway).

    Other cultures have developed other variations. Hunger strikes were a characteristic Indian form of protest against the British colonial government, and similar forms continue to be used in modern India.

    It's always a mistake to judge the meaning and effectiveness of a tactic within someone else's culture by the standards of your own.

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