Thursday, December 08, 2005

Freedom of speech in a blogging world

When it comes to the freedoms we in the United States are afforded, the line between it and persecution can sometimes get blemished. For example, I believe NBA players should conform to the rules about their uniforms but should not have their freedom of speech stripped.

For a better example, take a look at the case of a blogger and student at Marquette's School of Dentistry. According the the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (Marquette suspends dental student for blog comments), the student was "suspended for the rest of the academic year and ordered to repeat a semester after a committee of professors, administrators and students determined that he violated professional conduct codes when he posted negative comments about unnamed students and professors on a blog." The unnamed student "was brought before the committee for a conduct hearing last week after a classmate complained about his blog, a Web site that contained musings about topics ranging from his education to videogames and drinking."

This is an interesting case of freedom of speech and blogger rights. It should be noted that Dr. Daniel D’Angelo, the dental school's ethicist, maintains "... that [the student’s] entries on his blog do not rise to the level of ethical violations of the [school's] codes of conduct."

As blogging becomes more and more popular, we will start seeing an increase in the number of court cases involving freedom of speech, libel, privacy and the like. Blogging and the Internet are still in their infancy and that means there are many legal challenges ahead in determining how to police them.

Until then, take a look at Electronic Frontier Foundation's Legal Guide for Bloggers or the Handbook for bloggers and cyber-dissidents provided by Reporters Without Borders.

See also:


Blogger John McAdams said...

Although the suspension has been overturned, the student still faces some non-trivial punishments:

Dental School Blogger: Dean Reduces Punishment

1/06/2006 12:21 PM  
Blogger Saint Christopher said...

Thank you for the follow-up. More information can be found in the link listed in John McAdams' comment as well as here.

1/06/2006 5:28 PM  

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