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Monday, November 28, 2005

Censored by the State Part 2: St George's Revenge

I reported a couple of days ago that the Scottish Parliament had forced fellow Witanagemot blogger, Gareth, to remove a spoof Scottish Parliament homepage.

They wrote to his ISP and said they didn't want to make a fuss (tip: find out who you're up against before you start censoring people) but would they remove the offending page as it had found its way into the media and falls foul of their draconian copyright statement which basically says you can't use their logo for satire.

A dictionary definition of satire is in order here I think ...
satire, term applied to any work of literature or art whose objective is ridicule. It is more easily recognized than defined. From ancient times satirists have shared a common aim: to expose foolishness in all its guises—vanity, hypocrisy, pedantry, idolatry, bigotry, sentimentality—and to effect reform through such exposure. The many diverse forms their statements have taken reflect the origin of the word satire, which is derived from the Latin satura, meaning “dish of mixed fruits,” hence a medley.
So what the censors at the Scottish Parliament are basically saying is, you can use our logo as long as you are praising us but if you wish to criticise us in the form of a joke then we'll kick up a fuss.

Now forgive me for being, perhaps, a little naïve but I was under the impression that one of the things about democracy was the ability to criticise the government and the government's inability to censor you from doing so.

Anyway, I have managed to acquire a copy of the web page in question and will be hosting it until such time as the Scottish government force me to remove it. However, to make this less likely to happen, I would urge as many bloggers and webmasters as possible to host a copy of the page. They don't want to make a fuss and they won't want to spend all that time and money pursuing a large number of largely anonymous people for taking the piss out of them - hardly good publicity is it?

If you want the files, please contact me.