Council of Europe looks for right of reply on the 'net

If the Council of Europe were to have its way, they would be able to create a direct link from my story here to an article on their site, rebutting it. Further, they might be able to require me to put actual content on my site if they so choose.

To top it off, they want this "right" to be granted to anyone who might be criticised in an online article.

An article from CNet deconstructs the proposed recommendations that will be finalized for shipment to the constituent governments today.

I read the orignal draft and was a bit surprised by the comments from the folks at CNet, until I read the revision linked above. The key change was that the Council has decided that it is no longer sufficent to burden just the online professional media with this requirement, but that any site whose main purpose is to "collect, disseminate, or edit" information, including providing opinion, should be held responsible in this way.

Of particular irony is the masthead on the page, whose title is: "Human Rights: Protecting Media Freedoms".... yep, protection through dication and supression, still not quite getting that whole freedom of speech thing there, are we?

The internet is both a wonderful and terrible place. It is wonderful because everybody with an opinion may place it online. It is terrible, because too many people think that if they find something in Google that supports their position it is fact.

These folks, unfortunately, don't understand that the way to protect the public isn't to give the organizations that are best organized and funded a mandatory voice (because these are the people who will make use of these provisions, not those who are downtrodden), but to make the public understand that they need to seek out the truth on their own.