A couple of days ago I received the following email from Henrik, of the blog Viking Observer. I’ve been delayed in posting it by our satellite internet troubles, but better late than never.
It concerns the legal difficulties of Kim, who keeps one of the most prominent Danish blogs, Uriasposten:
Uriasposten is currently under attack by a journalist and a photographer of the newspaper Nyhedsavisen. A couple months ago, he posted a copy of an article mentioning him as source for documentation of “false” rumors and accusation that MP of communist party Enhedslisten Frank Aaen had taken part in torture of an Egyptian caught in Afghanistan by the Soviets in 1980 (he was visiting as a correspondent for the paper of the young communists, and admits he “interviewed” the Egyptian in the notorious Pul-e-charki prison in Kabul about his training in fascist Germany — as a CIA-agent of course. The Egyptian was never heard from again).
Kim of Urias posted the picture of the article as an illustration, and beneath it quoted from the article, picking its accusations against him apart.
The problem now is that one of the journalists who wrote the article has hit him with a threatening letter, demanding payment of 5,408 crowns (about $1,000) within two weeks, and threatening a lawsuit if that doesn’t happen. He also says he insists on his right to sue him for further compensation on top of that, no matter whether the payment is made or not. The photographer behind a picture that was with the article hit him a couple days later with a pretty much identically phrased letter demanding another 1,500 crowns (about $250-300).
There are unsubstantiated rumors that the letters are part of a politically motivated attack — that the journalist in question was told to do it by Nyhedsavisen‘s political editor and the editor-in-chief. The editor-in-chief is a Che Guevara fan, by the way.
In response, Kim has so far refused to pay up, contacted a lawyer to get legal advice, and started a legal defense fund entitled “Knud Brix’s Vacation Fund” (Kim Brix is the name of the journalist who initiated the action). By day 2, the fund was at 10,000+ crowns (about $2,000) and is growing. This is money put into the pot no matter what. People have pledged several thousand crowns more at least if he does not pay up and lets it go to court. He has promised, if the journalist drops the threats, or if there is money left after an eventual case, that it will go into a general defense fund for bloggers.
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In a surprising twist, even the leftwing blogs have closed ranks with Kim (some more than others), and two of them have republished the picture of the article Kim is threatened with a lawsuit over.
It is also slowly emerging into the semi-MSM. Friday, far-left pundit Rune Engelbreth Larsen wrote on it and suggested people contribute on the website of the left-of-centre paper Politiken (I haven’t seen whether it’s in the paper version), and the Saturday web-paper 180degrees, a (European-, not American-style liberal publication — as a first in Denmark, it actually calls left-wing radicals left-wing radicals, for example). We’ll see if it gets any further.
The postings in question on Uriasposten:
Henrik sent me a follow-up note yesterday:
It occurred to me that I should mention the following in connection with the case of Uriasposten. It goes to provide background.
In Denmark we don’t — unlike you in the US — have a “fair use” doctrine. Instead we have a copyright law that says that as long as you follow “good citation policy”, you can cite from articles. The only problem is that there are no guidelines for what that really is, and that such guidelines are only very slowly made by setting precedents in court. Especially when it comes to the internet and blogging, that has only barely been done, which makes this case — if it goes to court — so important. We need to set a precedents in law that, with luck, protects against such lawsuits against blogs in the future.
The fund, as of Saturday, was at 11,600crowns, btw (about $2,000).
I recommend a visit to Uriasposten. Even if you can’t read Danish, go boost Kim’s traffic in solidarity with a fine Viking blogger.
He doesn’t seem to have a PayPal button; as far as I can tell, there’s simply a Danske Bank account number for donations. I’ll ask Henrik to supply us with instructions in English so that we Anglophones can contribute to the cause.
Text corrections have been made! Thanks, Mackety.