A week or so ago I blogged on what I consider the main weakness of this new media. The inability to defend yourself from legal threats that the main stream media can laugh off. I just found a prime example on BoingBoing.
Christophe Grebert of France blogs on the government in the city he lives in. To say the city is not happy with what he writes would be an understatement. Last May(2004) they tried to arrest him.
Christophe criticizes the city management so much that they have tried to stop him for months, the city mayor has even sent him threats over the phone that he recorded and blogged, of course.Well time has passed but the city still wants his head on a pike. So this year they have decided to sue him. Setting aside 40,000 dollars to hire one of the cities best lawyers they are now out to really shaft him.
Today, he has been stopped in the street by the Police Municipale (the local French Police) who tried to arrest him for his blogging. Fortunately for Christophe, the National Police arrived immediately as they found what was happening weird, and let him go.
The city has voted a budget of 29 000 Euro's (!) to attack him. Christophe will be in front of judges on June 21st and had to borrow money from friends to organize his defense. If you would like to support him, Christophe just added a paypal tipjar donation button and already received close to $1000 of donations from fellow bloggers. I can't believe this story and I hope of course he will win.Regretfully the issue of him being right or wrong is not the issue as much as it is the city outspending one person. With his own tax money.
I google translated a page from his site and he said this.
The persons in charge places from there at the town hall of Puteaux, by attacking me for slandering, by mobilizing one of best lawyers of the capital (remunerated on the municipal budget by height of 27.000 euros), without to have ever tried the least conciliation with me, know that all that is likely to lead to the closing of www.monputeaux.com . Because even if I gain this part, I could not financially face multiple legal procedures!I normally avoid monetary issues online, but if you have a few dollars to throw his way it would be greatly helpful to him. Heck, it is against the French government. That makes it fun.
Even if I am innocent, the simple fact of having to take a lawyer to show it costs me all my wages! Whereas opposite, that do they risk? Money of the taxpayer, therefore my own money!