A Cautionary Tale

Bloggers Neil Clark and Oliver Kamm were never likely to agree on much.

For one thing Clark is a noted defender of Slobodan Milosevic, whereas Kamm has always been rather less ‘nuanced’ about the ethnic cleansing which scarred Central Europe in the 1990’s.

That’s blogland though – you can find all sorts of mutually hostile political positions with just a click of your mouse.

In my experience a website offering political opinion stands or falls on the quality of its posts – the better sites survive because they attract a readership that trusts the reporting and finds value in the posts while the less good ones languish largely unread. It’s a form of natural selection and a handy guide to who can be trusted in the still largely unregulated republic of blogs.

In an ideal world there should be no threats of legal action against fellow bloggers who provide fair comment on a matter of public interest even if one don’t like what that person says.

Not everyone agrees with that of course and according to Oliver Kamm’s most recent post Neil Clark served a defamation writ on him back in April of this year in what is probably the first example of a UK libel action against a blogger.

Read the whole tawdry story here.

Needless to say in attempting to silence views he disapproved of Clark proved to be nothing but a pompous blowhard who took poor legal advice.

Nonetheless the rest of us owe Oliver Kamm thanks for his decision to use his own money to help preserve the right to express opinions without fear of vexatious litigation.

Update: Neil Clark responds.