Wednesday, March 09, 2005


Who's Responsible?

In a recent blog entry, Sydney is Screwed I observed a tasteless posting which had resulted in subsequent arguments over whether or not it should be deleted.

The offensive post in question has evolved into an argument over whether hate-speech leads to violence, and whether Indymedia is encouraging the latter by turning a blind eye to the former.

On the one hand, an Indymedia moderator being called to account says:
The problem comes in deciding what to hide and what not to hide. That involves a judgement, and I am uncomfortable doing that if I can avoid it. That might mean that the newswire looks less than professional, but the fact is that indymedia is by no means a professional news organisation - nor does it aim to be. We have no money and are run entirely by volunteers.

Also, our motivation is not professional, but community service oriented. I truly believe that providing the opportunity for people to vent their frustrations anonymously prevents them from venting them physically, and reduces the amount of violence in the community. I would rather tolerate over-the-top statements on the newswire than have to read about a rabbi being bashed or a temple defaced.
On the other hand:
its posts like these which make Sydney Indymedia into a junk-site, full of crap which should not be here
In your opinion, encouraging, fostering and hosting comments on Sydney Indymedia such as (from this thread alone):

"This shows how depraved the jews are as a group"
"the jew rats"
"I hope someone does stuff you in a gas chamber sometime soon and post a vidio link here so everyone can enjoy your last gasp."
I believe many in the Indymedia network would disagree with the Sydney moderator's claim (above) that Indymedia doesn't try to be a "professional news organization" save for payment. Certainly, other contributors from time to time admit Indymedia needs to lift its game. The above seems to contradict that position and allow for Indymedia to by policy, essentially remain a free-for-all with the obvious credibility issues (if not illegality in some areas) this creates.

Looking through my archives, I could see this was not the first time Sydney Indymedia has had to 'confront' these issues.
Sydney IMC bows to threat of lawsuit.
Apparently someone took offence to being labeled some not very nice things and threatened to sue Sydney Indy Media if they didn't remove it.
So they did.

Of course that didn't stop a cunning reply-posting pasting the whole controversial article in full. No doubt if the management of the site do find themselves in court they will employ what I call the Standard Indymedia Defence - "It's an unmoderated medium, we can't be held responsible for its content". In rather the same way they would expect you not to be held responsible for someone getting shot with your firearm if you failed to take any responsibility for properly securing it after multiple warnings to that effect.
I think what we are now seeing on Sydney Indymedia is a combination of the "Standard Indymedia Defence" and a belief that it's actually a good thing to allow people to post hate-speech on the assumption (which I completely disagree with I might add) that such benign activity prevents them from engaging in acts of violence.

In other words, hate-speech actually prevents hate-crime. I have previously expressed my thoughts on the insanity of this attitude.
Harrasment and hate-speech aren't the same as free-speech. Preventing hate doesn't make you a sellout.

How to deal with Illinois Nazis
How Jake and Elwood dealt with Nazis
There are at least six-million reasons why Jews would also believe this is wrong.

Ditto US victims of terror given political incitement to kill Americans.
This American administration is an enemy. Our motto, which we are not afraid to repeat year after year, is: 'Death to America.'"

Crowd: "Death to America"
"Death to America"
"Death to America"
"Death to America"
"Death to America"
"Death to America"
I don't suppose anyone believes the attackers on 9/11 simply woke up one morning and decided it would be a cheap thrill to kill a bunch of Americans. There was motivation. And where do the proponents of Indymedia's argument believe that motivation came from?

There is plenty of other discussion here on the matter pertaining to homesexuals and hate-law legislation in the US as well.

Update:A new article on Sydney Indymedia: Anti Semitism: The socialism of fools (or discussed separately on Melbourne Indymedia) is calling for some introspection.
Why on earth is hate speech allowed by Sydney indymedia to remain despite the obvious contridictions this poses to editorial policy. These examples of hate speech such as the excrescent post alleging Rabbi's rape and molest babies and the call to free notorious fascist Anti Semite Ernst Zundel should have no place on this list.

Sydney Indymedia is a joke. What should be a forum for progressive activists has been hijacked by morons and racists. What is worse is that the collective is so politically naive and incoherent as to allow hate speech to go uncensored under the guise of 'free speech.' Racists and fascists should be hunted down, not given a forum to spew their invective.
I couldn't agree more. Read it all.

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