Is Irish Blogging about to get its first slap?

2006 is likely to go down in Irish blogger history as a landmark in the evolution of our blogosphere. The success of the Irish Blog Awards, the superior reportage from Irish bloggers during the Dublin Riots and the growing recognition from mainstream media suggests that the pass-time sport is becoming a serious hobby. Even Planet Journals (formerly Planet of the Blogs) is within spitting distance of aggregating its 1,000th blog. In the first negative development for blogging in Ireland, news is coming out that the El Paso Times is facing legal action for unsavory comments aimed at singer Cathy Maguire and her family.

Regardless of the outcome, if this incident does come to court it is likely to act as a wake-up call to Irish bloggers. Just like most online inventions, blogging offers the potential of anonymity, those who chose to can remain hidden behind a pseudonym or stage name for their entire blogging “career”. Of course, as is becoming increasingly apparent, this veil is only useful as long as you do not force others to peak behind it, once you attract the attention of the law your identity will become a well known fact quicker than you might like. The fact is that information published in Ireland should adhere to Irish law; getting that theory into practice may not be so easy, however.
Simon wonders if this development will effect the upcoming Defamation Bill; unlikely in my opinion although there is every chance that Irish law will be redefined in the context of online publishing, that’s assuming that this potential case does not set a legal precident before then.

12 Comments

  1. I got my first solicitor’s letter for a mailing list item written in 1998 and another solicitor’s letter for a blog item written in 2001 and along the way have chatted with at least three other people who enjoyed the same kind of feedback. Getting slapped is part of the game. Play on.

    Reply

  2. Administrator 01/04/2006 at 19:10

    Interesting; I assume they were taken no further than letter, then?

    In reality solicitors letters are not uncommon in traditional media, as everyone knows. I think the precident due to be set here is not that Irish bloggers are saying libelous things but rather they’re being punished for them (and in the to and fro of it having their anonymity removed by court order)

    Reply

  3. People get “punished” all the time for defaming others. Not everyone that defames gets “punished” though. It’s the real world and for the likes of libel and defamation the real world is harsh in Ireland. You’ve seen the Digital Rights Ireland piece on libel?

    Reply

  4. Hea there,

    Not the first SLAP, but not the last either.

    As Bernie said, its part of doing it. no one is forcing you (unless you are getting paid).

    Unless El Pao can prove it they should remove it. It could be true, but to save themselves a potentially €20,000 case, they should remove it.

    my 2 cents,

    bernard

    Reply

  5. El Paso Times just said it was an April Fool.

    Reply

  6. Administrator 02/04/2006 at 09:10

    Interesting; an april fool joke two days before april fools day. El Paso Times comes out looking quite foolish from this in my opinion.
    They still made libelous comments, though.
    Frankly, I hope a trial does come to pass; I agree with Bernard that the truth of the matter is irrelevant, the ability to prove it is the deciding factor.

    Reply

  7. [...] Whether an April fool or not, the El Paso incident has provoked some healthy discussion. Adam Maguire stated: In the first negative development for blogging in Ireland, news is coming out that the El Paso Times is facing legal action for unsavory comments [...]

    Reply

  8. Somehow I don’t think the woman involved will see it as an April’s fool joke.

    Neither do I see “ah sur it was all a bit of a laugh, guv’ner” standing up as defence in court.

    bernard

    Reply

  9. Personally, I think the El Paso crew just got themselves the wrong kind of attention. And along the way, they lost a boatload of good will in some pretty strong currents. From those who have been there–Good Luck, lads.

    Reply

  10. Administrator 02/04/2006 at 13:42

    Personally, I think the El Paso crew just got themselves the wrong kind of attention. And along the way, they lost a boatload of good will in some pretty strong currents. From those who have been there–Good Luck, lads.

    Agreed.

    Reply

  11. ethel dawe 22/04/2006 at 08:36

    were they wrong about her family? she is a lovey girl. maybe someone should do their research about the family before condeming the wrong people.

    Reply

  12. ethel dawe 22/04/2006 at 08:40

    is it libel to tell the truth? or could it be a legal way of covering up facts.lovey should read lovely!!
    for the the record el paso times are closer to fact than fiction in this case.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>