A Swedish blogger has been reported to the police for libel. The background to the story is that the Church of Sweden made a decision on 27 October to bless partnerships between homosexuals. Blessings were supposed to be voluntary and the church will not force a priest to perform this act against his or her will.
Some found this decision to be very controversial and Yngve Kalin, a priest in Hyssna outside Gothenburg, started an online petition for priests that refused to make this blessing and disagreed with the decision of the Church of Sweden.
The topic has been widely discussed in media and in the Swedish blogosphere. There is currently a counter-petition here. But Kalin found that one blogger went too far, by for example calling him a “devil in a cassock” so he reported the blogger to the police and demanded that the blog should be shut down.
The blogger also posted a photo of Kalin’s family which made a family member report him to the blog host for abuse and the blog host (Blogsoft) apparently removed the photo from the blog without notifying the blogger.
This story raises a number of interesting questions (that I’m not entirely sure how to answer):
– How does freedom of speech protect a blogger from legal actions?
– What right does a person have to not have his photo published on a blog against his will?
– What information about an individual can you publish on a blog without breaking the personal data protection act?
– What right does a blog host have to edit the intellectual property of a blogger without prior notification?
In the user agreement for the blog host (webblogg.se by Blogsoft) it says that they have the right to delete information on a blog, that breaks a number of rules, like for example publish photos of drunken people, or advertise commercial services (!). No corporate blogs on Blogsoft in other words?
“Portalansvarig har rätt att i efterhand granska all information som läggs ut på webblogg.se, samt ta bort den information eller de inlägg som strider mot dessa regler.”
We will definitely see more conflicts regarding blogs and freedom of speech in the near future. My advice to bloggers is to stay out of trouble – be careful about using very negative descriptions of other individuals and don’t publish photos without asking for permission.