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(BBC)   Man pleads guilty to joking about missing white girl. Unclear whether he will serve more or less time than the man who killed her   (bbc.co.uk) divider line 37
    More: Misc, Madeleine McCann, Chorley Magistrates, missing children  
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11715 clicks; posted to Main » on 08 Oct 2012 at 12:54 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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Archived thread
2012-10-08 01:48:34 PM
3 votes:

logistic: I can't tell if it's Saudi Arabia or England anymore.


I think that Americans in general (myself included) don't understand the difference between what we considered free speech, and what the rest of the world calls 'free speech'.

It's perfectly legal - not to mention reasonable and expected - in pretty much every other country in the world, to - for example - jail someone for speaking negatively about the current government or public workers. Sure, they don't always jail someone for it, but they almost always have the option. This is often extended to every member of the public. Speaking the truth about someone in a way that damages their reputation can be a crime - even if it's 100% provable truth!

In most places that even pretend to have it, 'freedom of speech' is not a freedom to say what you want. That's the American definition. In fact, pretty much everywhere outside of the US, when you hear the term 'freedom of speech' they are actually explaining that what you say is tightly limited and controlled. This is 'freedom' in the same way that jail represents a certain freedom from choice.

It's reciprocal though - other countries don't get us either.

Think about it from this mindset: Your government locks down on speech, and you expect every other government to do so as well. Then someone in another country speaks badly about your religion, and they are NOT jailed! This means that country is EXPLICITLY supporting that viewpoint!

What a change from what we see as Americans, where the onus is on the listener to not be offended, not on the government to jail the speaker.

... anyway, the problem here is that you ever thought that freedom of speech meant to the British what it means to Americans.  It never has.
2012-10-08 04:12:33 PM
2 votes:

machoprogrammer: Say what you want about America, but at least we have pretty damn good freedom of speech here. Despite a lot of peoples' efforts, you cannot be arrested for offending people here, thankfully.


Sorry, but people continue to use "freedom of speech" wrong. Freedom of speech (even here in the good ole US of A) does NOT mean you can say anything you want. Like all rights, it is limited when it infringes on the rights of others. For example, despite freedom of speech it is still illegal to slander, lie under oath, misrepresent under contract, incite to riot, harass, threaten, conspire to commit a crime, relate information to which you are bound to confidentiality, violate noise bylaws, endanger, etc.

In this case, it could easily be considered to rise to the level of harassment, which would be prohibited here in US.
2012-10-08 03:23:21 PM
2 votes:
orbister:

Is that the America where a teacher has been disciplined for using the word "squaw", because someone found it offensive?

By and large, you're free to be offensive in the UK. What you are not free to do is to cause distress - the courts interpret that as causing harm in much the same way as physical assault causes harm.

You are confusing the issue. The teacher was disciplined by her employer for using language deemed inappropriate due to the nature of the word; when you work for someone you have to follow their employment code when you are on the job. This is a case where the police powers of the state have come down to remove someone's freedom for making a joke on the internet.

Do you see the difference between the two situations?
2012-10-08 02:59:52 PM
2 votes:

orbister: JeffDenver: Stories like this make me so glad I live in America.

Yes the guy was an asshole. Being an asshole should not be a criminal offense. You are not entitled to not to be offended.

Is that the America where a teacher has been disciplined for using the word "squaw", because someone found it offensive?

By and large, you're free to be offensive in the UK. What you are not free to do is to cause distress - the courts interpret that as causing harm in much the same way as physical assault causes harm.


Getting distressed over something posted on a privately-owned and maintained website is entirely optional. Facebook isn't a necessity or broadcast in any way. You actually have to point your browser towards facebook to see any of the content.
2012-10-08 01:12:47 PM
2 votes:
The most alarming part of the article is not that he was arrested, or prosecuted, or sent to jail. The most alarming part is this:

"Chorley magistrates heard members of the public were so upset about his posts they reported them to the police."


Cripes. "Help us, police! Spare us from being offended!"
2012-10-08 12:58:40 PM
2 votes:
www.polyvore.com
2012-10-08 10:20:01 AM
2 votes:
I can't tell if it's Saudi Arabia or England anymore.
2012-10-08 10:46:23 PM
1 votes:

Last Man on Earth: Yeah, if that's the case, then I'd completely agree. If they weren't actually targeted by his comments, then he's in no way liable.


Except he is, and has already been convicted and sentenced. So if you've ever posted anything on the internet that might offend someone in Britain if someone were to take a picture of it and post it on someone else's web page, get out now if you're there, or don't go there if you're not.

/don't go to Canada or Australia either
//they're still bound by British law, even if their own laws are different
2012-10-08 09:01:20 PM
1 votes:

orbister: JeffDenver: Stories like this make me so glad I live in America.

Yes the guy was an asshole. Being an asshole should not be a criminal offense. You are not entitled to not to be offended.

Is that the America where a teacher has been disciplined for using the word "squaw", because someone found it offensive?

By and large, you're free to be offensive in the UK. What you are not free to do is to cause distress - the courts interpret that as causing harm in much the same way as physical assault causes harm.


Oh, the progressive PC word police do their best to control thought through speech.

They might rally the troops to get you censured at work or do their best to have you shunned in public, but it still doesn't end up in jail time.
2012-10-08 06:16:59 PM
1 votes:

Pert: orbister: JeffDenver: Stories like this make me so glad I live in America.

Yes the guy was an asshole. Being an asshole should not be a criminal offense. You are not entitled to not to be offended.

Is that the America where a teacher has been disciplined for using the word "squaw", because someone found it offensive?

By and large, you're free to be offensive in the UK. What you are not free to do is to cause distress - the courts interpret that as causing harm in much the same way as physical assault causes harm.

So much THIS.

You are free to criticise the government,the royal family,the police, etc. You can make sick jokes on any subject you like.

What you can't do is deliberately go out of your way to publish something deliberately that will, in all likelihood, cause huge emotional distress to a great many friends and family of a missing child and who are already gong through hell.

Joke down the pub to friends is one thing. Publishing something is different. Live with the consequences.


Posting on facebook isn't publishing. He put it on his wall, someone else put it on their page.
2012-10-08 05:49:10 PM
1 votes:

orbister: JeffDenver: Stories like this make me so glad I live in America.

Yes the guy was an asshole. Being an asshole should not be a criminal offense. You are not entitled to not to be offended.

Is that the America where a teacher has been disciplined for using the word "squaw", because someone found it offensive?

By and large, you're free to be offensive in the UK. What you are not free to do is to cause distress - the courts interpret that as causing harm in much the same way as physical assault causes harm.


So much THIS.

You are free to criticise the government,the royal family,the police, etc. You can make sick jokes on any subject you like.

What you can't do is deliberately go out of your way to publish something deliberately that will, in all likelihood, cause huge emotional distress to a great many friends and family of a missing child and who are already gong through hell.

Joke down the pub to friends is one thing. Publishing something is different. Live with the consequences.
2012-10-08 04:37:44 PM
1 votes:

Last Man on Earth : machoprogrammer: jabelar: Sorry, but people continue to use "freedom of speech" wrong. Freedom of speech (even here in the good ole US of A) does NOT mean you can say anything you want. Like all rights, it is limited when it infringes on the rights of others. For example, despite freedom of speech it is still illegal to slander, lie under oath, misrepresent under contract, incite to riot, harass, threaten, conspire to commit a crime, relate information to which you are bound to confidentiality, violate noise bylaws, endanger, etc.

In this case, it could easily be considered to rise to the level of harassment, which would be prohibited here in US.

I doubt it would be considered harassment here in the US, since harassment usually only involves repeated action (if he posted it just once, it wouldn't likely be considered harassment). And yes, there are limits (i.e. slander, inciting riots, etc) but in general, freedom of speech is pretty good here.

True, but there's a basis for a civil suit under Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress. Typically, that only really applies in extreme situations, like a cop or similar authority figure psychologically abusing someone reporting a rape (it's happened, there's been at least one case), but in context like this, the postings may qualify.


I can't confirm it with any of the news stories online (though most articles say that the guy posted the comments on "his Facebook page"), but the posters in this thread say that the family only learned about the offensive comments because some busy body took a screen shot of the comments and shared the image on the family support page. I don't see how anyone could make an argument for harassment or even "Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress" unless the guy actually tried to share his jokes with the little girl's family.
2012-10-08 04:14:11 PM
1 votes:

orbister: Girion47: Getting distressed over something posted on a privately-owned and maintained website is entirely optional. Facebook isn't a necessity or broadcast in any way. You actually have to point your browser towards facebook to see any of the content.

So what? Does that lessen the distress of people hurt by the deliberate and cruel actions of this man?


It makes it non-criminal.
2012-10-08 04:08:24 PM
1 votes:

mauricecano: You are confusing the issue. The teacher was disciplined by her employer for using language deemed inappropriate due to the nature of the word; when you work for someone you have to follow their employment code when you are on the job. This is a case where the police powers of the state have come down to remove someone's freedom for making a joke on the internet.

Do you see the difference between the two situations?


I see many differences. I see, for example, that in the first case an agency of the state imposed a penalty for an unintentional act and in the second case an agency of the state imposed a penalty for an act of deliberate harassment.

Do you, by the way, see the difference between "posting a joke on the internet" and "posting a sexual slur on a support group for parents of a missing child with the intent of causing distress"?

Ian
2012-10-08 03:36:38 PM
1 votes:

theMagni: namegoeshere: Heinrich von Eckardt: reillan: It's assholey of him, sure, but I've seen worse on Fark. And laughed at worse. And posted worse.

I would have to disagree that you have posted worse.

This guy's electronic communication was so grossly offensive that it incited a mob of fifty to try to lynch him. He was arrested for his own safety.

You and the other Farkers are amateurs compared with this guy.

What did he post?

He said, "What's the difference between [the guy who raped and murdered the kid] and Santa Claus?

[the rapist] comes in April!"

Fark the Brits, I was making 9/11 jokes before lunchtime. Being an asshole is not a crime, I don't care what they think they're doing over there.

They probably threatened him with tens of thousands of dollars worth of legal costs vs. some community service. Lose years of your life fighting the charges or serve at a community centre for 100 hours? Take the hours and hope for superpowers.


Not sure how that threat would work - in the UK you can get Legal Aid, meaning the state picks up the tab for your lawyer. It's so that people on a low income can't be threatened with your scenario.
2012-10-08 03:00:25 PM
1 votes:

orbister: JeffDenver: Stories like this make me so glad I live in America.

Yes the guy was an asshole. Being an asshole should not be a criminal offense. You are not entitled to not to be offended.

Is that the America where a teacher has been disciplined for using the word "squaw", because someone found it offensive?

By and large, you're free to be offensive in the UK. What you are not free to do is to cause distress - the courts interpret that as causing harm in much the same way as physical assault causes harm.


Disciplined vs Jailed hmmmm

Let the mob kick his ass and drop the charges Of assault on the mob.
2012-10-08 02:51:00 PM
1 votes:

JeffDenver: Stories like this make me so glad I live in America.

Yes the guy was an asshole. Being an asshole should not be a criminal offense. You are not entitled to not to be offended.


Is that the America where a teacher has been disciplined for using the word "squaw", because someone found it offensive?

By and large, you're free to be offensive in the UK. What you are not free to do is to cause distress - the courts interpret that as causing harm in much the same way as physical assault causes harm.
2012-10-08 02:26:10 PM
1 votes:

quietwalker: ... anyway, the problem here is that you ever thought that freedom of speech meant to the British what it means to Americans.  It never has.


You seriously think that's the problem? Governments "lock down on speech" and Americans are the ones with the problem when they point out the repression?

I believe that restricting free speech has nothing to do with culture and everything to do with power and politics. Oppressive political climates may affect a culture and how that culture sees us, but you cant sugar coat something like Iranian law and say that what little expression Iran allows is freedom of speech. With its blasphemy laws and censorship, the words do not apply.

I appreciate your point about perspective, but we should appreciate what freedoms we have in the US. While the our speech protections are imperfect, they are among the best in the world...and that sucks for the remaining countries with crummy speech protections.
2012-10-08 02:21:01 PM
1 votes:

theMagni: "What's the difference between [the guy who raped and murdered the kid] and Santa Claus?

[the rapist] comes in April!"



"Santa comes in December" is a better punchline.
2012-10-08 02:03:31 PM
1 votes:

Bhruic: Saners:
So... British law is based on mob rule now.

When you consider the fact that he's actually being charged with child abduction over some Facebook posts, it's hard to argue with that claim.


No one's being charged with child abduction over Facebook posts.
2012-10-08 02:01:50 PM
1 votes:
Stories like this make me so glad I live in America.

Yes the guy was an asshole. Being an asshole should not be a criminal offense. You are not entitled to not to be offended.
2012-10-08 01:57:45 PM
1 votes:

machoprogrammer: Say what you want about America, but at least we have pretty damn good freedom of speech here. Despite a lot of peoples' efforts, you cannot be arrested for offending people here, thankfully.


On the other hand, we can post the N-word on websites without everybody getting into a fainting fit about it. Sure, it's deeply offensive, but what's the point of having freedom of speech if it doesn't cover deeply offensive stuff.
2012-10-08 01:50:33 PM
1 votes:

Saners:
So... British law is based on mob rule now.


When you consider the fact that he's actually being charged with child abduction over some Facebook posts, it's hard to argue with that claim.
2012-10-08 01:45:04 PM
1 votes:

Heinrich von Eckardt: reillan: It's assholey of him, sure, but I've seen worse on Fark. And laughed at worse. And posted worse.

I would have to disagree that you have posted worse.

This guy's electronic communication was so grossly offensive that it incited a mob of fifty to try to lynch him. He was arrested for his own safety.

You and the other Farkers are amateurs compared with this guy.


He didn't incite them, the newspapers that picked up on the story incited them. Such is the British way. They sit at home braiding rope and sharpening pitchforks waiting for the paper to be delivered so they can find out who to go and lynch.
2012-10-08 01:44:38 PM
1 votes:
Reminds me of this other thread.

First everyone gets all bent out of shape about hurting each others' feelings, then the speech codes come, and finally you get some guy thrown in jail for posting a (gross/cruel/funny) joke.

Is this your Utopia?

If it is, you've definitely traded freedom for security! Even worse, you've made a hell in which all opinion will soon converge on groupthink with all the depth of a Hallmark card.
2012-10-08 01:43:56 PM
1 votes:
Wow so England will put the "max" for some social post that harmed nobody, but let a child molester free from jail because he's "afraid of jail"? UK has become a seriously farked up country.
2012-10-08 01:40:58 PM
1 votes:

farkeruk: The UK instead has huge numbers of laws that are only prosecuted when the authorities feel like it, which is actually like a feudal state.


That's the key to any authoritarian society. Make everyone a criminal, so that there's no question of if you can prosecute them, only if you will...subject to their behaving in accordance with the required patterns. Almost as popular in the U.S.
2012-10-08 01:34:40 PM
1 votes:
As a Brit, I consider this as not only against freedom of speech but also vindictive punishment.

The law they used is never normally prosecuted. Calling Tony Blair or David Cameron a coont also falls under this law. Technically speaking its illegal to cuss on the phone or send photos of your penis to your girlfriend.

That's what is most objectionable about this case and makes an ass of the law. The law should be applied equally. The UK instead has huge numbers of laws that are only prosecuted when the authorities feel like it, which is actually like a feudal state.
2012-10-08 01:22:27 PM
1 votes:

Ken at Popehat: The most alarming part of the article is not that he was arrested, or prosecuted, or sent to jail. The most alarming part is this:

"Chorley magistrates heard members of the public were so upset about his posts they reported them to the police."


Cripes. "Help us, police! Spare us from being offended!"


This was the part that really bothered me:

"The reason for the sentence is the seriousness of the offence, the public outrage that has been caused and we felt there was no other sentence this court could have passed which conveys to you the abhorrence that many in society feel this crime should receive."

So... British law is based on mob rule now.
2012-10-08 01:22:13 PM
1 votes:

jjorsett: People on Fark say things that offend me every day. If they're in the UK can I have them thrown in jail?


Start with the politics tab
pla
2012-10-08 01:18:47 PM
1 votes:
ElLoco : It's funny when an internet troll gets biatchslapped right back.

Yep. Funny indeed. Not much more satisfying than seeing a good comeback put a troll in his place.

Not quite so funny, however, when a 19YO gets sent to prison for three months for a bad joke. Personally, I'd call that the only crime here (well, other than, y'know, whoever abducted the kid).

Sense of proportion, folks. Get one.
2012-10-08 01:12:06 PM
1 votes:
I'm not familiar with April's case, but the McCanns are scary people. They no likey anyone questioning their version of things. I can see them behind prosecuting this guy.

This post is the opinion of the Farker known as namegoeshere. It is not to be taken as fact. It is for entertainment purposes only. So fark off, McCanns' legal team.
2012-10-08 01:09:03 PM
1 votes:
I'm from the UK (though moved) and can't believe how much it's become a indignant mob society.
2012-10-08 01:03:50 PM
1 votes:

DammitIForgotMyLogin: serial_crusher: Does anybody who lives in a country that actually has freedom of speech have a copy of the joke? If it offended that many people, it's got to be funny right?

It's the Weeners here

As far as I understand it, it's not so much that he posted the joke (which isn't even particularly good), but that he posted it on the support page people had set up for the family.

If he'd said it within earshot of any of her family, or anyone who knew them, he'd probably be waking up in the hospital.


It's assholey of him, sure, but I've seen worse on Fark. And laughed at worse. And posted worse.

/ticket please
2012-10-08 01:01:44 PM
1 votes:
As far as I can tell, he didn't post it on the support page. He posted it to his own page on facebook, and somebody else (as yet unidentified) posted a screen shot the the support page.
2012-10-08 12:58:26 PM
1 votes:
Wow. So being a douchebag is illegal in Britain?
2012-10-08 12:57:27 PM
1 votes:
Say what you want about America, but at least we have pretty damn good freedom of speech here. Despite a lot of peoples' efforts, you cannot be arrested for offending people here, thankfully.
 
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