Heavy hand of the law (14 Oct 2004)
The latest raid is more than just emblematic of the conflict between one radical anti-government organisation and the establishment. It highlights the potential for conflict between law enforcement agencies and citizen publishers and sends a warning to anyone involved in web publishing operations.
"Certainly on face value it looks like an attempt to gag an independent media organisation," says Barry Hugill, a spokesman for civil liberties organisation Liberty. "It is just possible that there is a legitimate reason for this action, but we certainly need more clarification."
At a time when mainstream media is being opened up to the masses, such crackdowns deal a blow to citizen journalism. Threats to the freedom of web publishers could damage the amateur investigators and webloggers who are the lifeblood of independent online journalism. The lack of information given about these seizures raises the potential threat that anyone could see their content removed without warning or explanation. It shows how fragile internet publishing can be - even in the hands of major media organisations.
Article URL: http://www.guardian.co.uk/online/story/0,3605,1326244,00.html
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