Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland until I return to the Murcia region of Spain in the Autumn for a month or so
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Saturday, 22 July 2006

The dangers, for job security, of frank blogging

There have been a few noteworthy cases over the years of bloggers upsetting their employers and suffering the consequences - summary dismissal. Free speech and 'fair comment' seems to be quietly brushed under the carpet.

Two cases which I've come across very recently both, curiously, involve lady bloggers. La Petite Anglaise, who worked for a British firm in Paris, thought she was being reasonably discreet in the way she chose to write about her work environment, although including her photograph (which her employers said allowed her to be identified) was a step too far, it seems - she is bringing a case for unfair dismissal against her former employers. I wish her all success, although it may be that this notoriety will itself result in other more interesting opportunities for this particular blogger.

Whilst both cases are alarming it is probably true to believe that the second one may have more far-reaching consequences. Christine Axsmith was a 'CIA contractor' (employed by BAE Systems) who wrote in her restricted-access blog about many things apparently, some whimsical, but occasionally on topics which the CIA didn't find at all to its liking - she thought she was on relatively safe ground when she chose to write about the Geneva Conventions by commenting "Waterboarding is Torture and Torture is Wrong." - this even reflects (current) CIA policy. It is also a pretty normal way of looking at things. Not of course, until recently, the way that the US military viewed this practice! Nor the current US administration!
(thru Andrew Sullivan, who also blogs today about a new book published in the US which will, he thinks, be: "a turning-point in the U.S. military's resistance to the appallingly inept civilian leadership of the past few years" - Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq is available here and [in the UK] will soon be available here).

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