I have used some material on this thread to pull together a piece for the fundraiser site:
This is Your Fight too:
Anyone who thinks that they do not have an interest in this effort is mistaken. If you operate a blog, chat room, forum or any site where you allow others to make comments and observations, or if you participate on such sites, some people want to limit your participation in public debate. They do not want others to hear your opinions or views. They want to control public discussion.
The internet allows millions including those at home or who may be immobile or disabled to join in a form of coffee shop chatter, conversation and debate. Restricting the internet amounts to blocking many people from participating in public dialogue. All people are important - so are their arguments and opinions.
And it goes so much further - including the censorship many don't see. The CBC never opens their comment feedback section on any news story involving Muslim based atrocities or terror related items for example. Try entering an opinion at a site you own on Omar Khadr for instance. You don't have the option. They can report later that Canadians are tolerant of Islam when a great many of us are not.
Libel chill can kill internet discussion and debate as we now know it. If site owners are forced into to taking responsibility for whatever is posted to their site and are libel for any defamatory posting, they will have no option but to screen all posts for approval. We will be back to the days when a political debate took place over days instead of hours. Worse, forced into surrogate censorship, owners will edit to avoid legal entanglements stifling our use of fair comment and fairly held opinion.
Even then, no one is safe as under current defamation law, a complainant only has to show that a phrase he considers defamatory was printed on the internet. The person charged and site owner must then prove that the words cited are not defamatory. The costs of defending a couple of alleged defamations can put a web site owner out of business even if the allegations are baseless.
As long as we can post an issue to a web site and then dozens or even hundreds of others chime in with their views, politicians and governments cannot channel or limit debate. The internet has not only opened public dialogue to millions of people in North America, the discussions forums have made media outlets and politicians at every level very, very nervous. So far, they have not been able to control internet content.
If we can strike fear into the hearts of those who seek to control us, we can get our country back from their clutches. If they can use libel chill to stifle our voices, they will control public dialogue and enslave us.
The most effective way to stifle democracy is to transfer decision-making from the public arena to unaccountable institutions: activist judges, human rights tribunals, parliamentary committees, civil service bureaucrats and political party hacks.