Tue, Sep. 09, 2008

Media Censorship: Grassroots Meet

CK - Washington.   Censorship in Germany is no more prevalent than censorship is in the United States. Unlike strange FCC rulings, and with rules similar to those in other European countries, Germany requires many writers on the Internet to disclose their identity and many other details. The concept is known as Impressum. There is no groundswell of protest against such censorship because the notion of Impressum is grounded in consumer protection.

The dangers to consumers from the required disclosure of personal information and the dangers to free speech are generally ignored. Almost single-handedly, a Hamburg man has been working on a grassroots campaign to fight censorship in Germany. His target is the press and media law chamber at the Hamburg District Court led by a judge whose last name inspired the intrepid fighter for free speech to invent an -ism and to call his website Buskeismus.de.

On September 12 through 14, 2008, its author, Rolf Schälike, plans a meeting in Hamburg and has extended an open invitation to all interested in misguided decisions of that chamber and censorship in general. Schälike's focus is not the Impressum requirement.

Rather, he finds fault in the court run by Andreas Buske which has become the forum of choice in Germany for unusual decisions against publishers, including bloggers, and on third-party liability, such as blogger liability for third-party comments. In a country where judges do not enjoy the royal respect that seems to prevail in the United States, the three-day gathering should witness a great deal of unrestrained speech.


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