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Freedom of speech? Not in Wiltshire

Sometimes something comes along that’s so jaw-droppingly stupid you think that it can’t be true. But this one is. According to Guardian Unlimited, the writer of a website in Lyneham, Wiltshire has been threated with being issued with an anti-social behaviour order (ASBO) because of a joke the man published about the Pope’s death. Local councillors have claimed that the website is "causing a lot of damage to the community", and have asked the police to investigate.

ASBOs, which have proved wildly popular with the electorate, are effectively a method of punishing people who haven’t committed anything that they can be prosecuted for. They’ve effectively become lazy law enforcement: it’s expensive to ask the police to gather evidence over minor offences, so instead councils have turned to ASBOs instead.

This case, though, takes the biscuit. Would the council apply the same thing to a local newspaper editor who was critical of the town?

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • http://mediawatchwatch.org.uk David

    Hi Ian

    I found your blog via a technorati search for Lyneham. I too was amazed at the stupidity of slapping an ASBO on a webmaster. I decided to show my support for the guy by linking to his lynehamvillage.co.uk site with “Lyneham” as the anchor, hoping this would up his google ranking against his asbo-weilding rival. Care to join me?