Saturday, September 04, 2010

Freedom of Speech Canuck-Style- Blue Host Shuts Down Blogger At Behest of Canadian Immigrant Dr. Asad Raza

There are some who obviously have no clue about the concept of 'freedom of speech', or 'public domain', 'fair use' or what the definitions of slander, defamation and libel are. Perhaps it's because freedom, let alone free speech, doesn't exist in the countries they emigrated from, but it's something most Westerners cleave to, like a baby to its mother's breast. It's something we cherish deeply and will defend at any cost. We might disagree with what an individual says or does, but we almost always agree that they have the right to say or do it. That is, as long as it harms no-one physically.

Many non-Western immigrants who move to the West are grateful for their new opportunities and new-found freedom. Many others have a challenging time adapting to certain aspects of Western society including the fact that we are all entitled to criticize anyone or anything we choose, right or wrong. And whether they like it or not it's one of our inalienable rights, at least in the U.S. At least for now. I'm not so sure about Canada, as it seems our poor cousins up north are going the way of the UK, and their freedom of speech is being challenged left and right. Using the Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC) as a weapon, bloggers are being sued by these people for alleged 'hate crimes' for something that is nothing more than criticism. My Canadian blogger buddy Blazing Catfur has written extensively about the problem there. We haven't quite reached that point in this country, yet, but I'm sure we're not too far behind. Thankfully, we can still blast someone here, including our President, without being thrown in jail or killed, like in Egypt or Pakistan or Iran. And suing is something that is becoming very common with many of these entitled immigrants when they feel they are being criticized or their demands are not met. And with the help of the CHRC in Canada, and organizations like CAIR (Council on American and Islamic Relations) in the U.S., they often win. As a result, all they have to do is threaten to sue and people cave in to their demands.

This is what happened to a Canadian blogger, Marginalized Action Dinosaur (MAD), who wrote a post about one Dr. Asad Raza, founder of a website that no longer seems to exist called . Essentially a site dedicated to griping about being an immigrant in Canada, Dr. Raza wrote a list of top 8 things he hated about his adopted country including the health care crisis, high taxes and cost of living, no jobs, no culture and the bad weather. (U.S. Obamacare proponents take note!) An ingrate, sure, however all that criticism was absolutely within his rights in a free country; although I'm assuming no-one put a gun to his head and forced him to emigrate to Canada. MAD then chose to respond with a post of his own, referencing Raza's gripe-fest and commenting on each gripe made. Absolutely within MAD's rights too, in a free country. No slander, no defamation, no libel. Raza has since left Canada and has been working in the U.S. on an H-1B Visa, though I'm not sure what his legal status is since he was querying about it on online immigration forum just seven months ago.

The bizarre thing is, MAD's post was written back in 2007, but for some reason Raza stumbled upon it, got a bug up his you know what and decided that MAD's criticism was slanderous and defamatory and demanded that he remove it. Hmmm. Lets see. What's the dictionary definition of slander:

a malicious, false, and defamatory statement or report: a slander against his good name.

Since all MAD happened to do was re-post something Raza actually wrote, with a link and attribution along with a few side commentaries (none of which were defamatory, as you can see for yourself), there is quite obviously no slander involved. Had he called him an incompetent, psychopathic pedophile axe murder, that's a totally different story; yes that would be defamation of character and slanderous. But being critical of someone for something they said or did is not defamation of character, nor slander if it's based on unequivocal truth. Gossip maybe, but not slander. And in this case, these were Raza's own words. But when the doc didn't get his way, like a spoiled child, he turned to MAD's ISP BlueHost.Com, which in turn threatened MAD and eventually shut him down. It was re-instated, several days later, but not before causing MAD much grief. He was threatened for publishing called personal and private information from the dear doctors website.

Excuse me, but none of the information MAD published was personal or private. The Internet is a public forum, as was Raza's website, and if you don't want people to access that information then stay away from the world wide web. If you're stupid enough to think that anything you write won't be accessible (forever!) through google's cache, and that you won't eventually be tracked down if you post your email address and deep 'private' thoughts on some public forum, then you deserve what you get. People have been fired because they have posted something critical about their work place or bosses on some forum or social networking site or via email, and their bosses happened to discover it. People have not been hired for the same reason. Word to the wise, nothing is private on the WWW. If you don't want the world to know it, don't write it.

So, as a result of the initial shut-down of MAD's blog by Blue Host, fellow freedom-loving Canuck bloggers became naturally outraged, banded together and took to their respective blog platforms to rally against this obvious attack on freedom of speech. This has sent the already angry doc into paroxysms of rage, and now he's on a rampage threatening to sue everyone for defamation. Good luck with that one.

Message to Asad Raza if you happen to google your name and come across this post:

The West is very different, doc. Please adapt. Get to know our laws. And had you understood the concept of 'freedom of speech', and the notion that if you can criticize so can others, and that this post was three years old, and had you left well enough alone and not forced an ISP to shut down a blogger, none of these people would be writing about you on their blogs, and you wouldn't be threatening to sue them if they refuse to remove their posts about your foolish actions. Don't even think about suing me, because this is a free country and your legal status here is questionable. And yes, I am giving you permission to criticize me for my commentary- you have as much right to criticize me as I have to criticize you, so go ahead, I'm a big girl, I can take it. But please just move on with your life. It's not worth it. You made this non-issue into a huge one by challenging those who embrace freedom with as fierce a will as a lion mama protecting her cub. Just know that we will continue to fight for your right to criticize Canada (and wherever, whatever and whomever else you choose) along with our right to criticize you.

Physician, go in peace. You'll have a much better life.


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Marginalized Action Dinosaur said...

It's been nu8ts having him hound me when he doesn't get concepts like free speech, but I haven't given up yet. though Bluehost screwed my blog up big time.

I bet he's already sent your host 3-6 emails saying you slandered him.

Incognito said...

MAD: actually, am on blogger so all he could do would be to complain. Plus he knows he wouldn't have a leg to stand on, as far as his legal status goes here.
pathetic man that he is.
you must be back up and running.
keeping my fingers crossed for Canada.