Edwards 1 – SST 0

11/02/2011

The media is supposed to be one of the guardians of free speech, why then would a national newspaper seek to muzzle a blogger?

Brian Edwards has had a series of blog posts on Amanda Hotchin and the Sunday Star Times. 

His second last post on the matter was a carefully worded one in which he reported on four affidavits from witnesses who backed Ms Hotchin’s story. It was a model of how to give the facts without disclosing an opinion.

The SST has responded by threatening him with defamation.

The email informing him of that is headed not for publication:

I have chosen to ignore that advice. The Sunday Star Times is a national newspaper with a circulation massively bigger than my website. It has a large and powerful voice. If it is unhappy with what is said about its content or its writers, it has the opportunity, not available to the average citizen, to make a public response which will reach a large audience. Instead, in this case, it has chosen to send me a lawyer’s letter, marked “Not for Publication.” My response is that I am not prepared to be bullied or intimidated, and certainly not in secret.

Edwards 1 – SST 0.

The blog is probably read by only a few hundred thousand people but the threat ensures it will be read by many more.

It was referred to a post on the journalist’s chat group Journz last night.

It’s made the  NZ Bloggers Union see red. Cactus Kate , Kiwiblog and Whaleoil,   three  of New Zealand’s most widely read blogs, have taken up the fight for free speech.

And the paper’s only rival, The NZ Herald, is loving it.

What would have been a story read by a few hundred people is now reaching 10s of thousands.


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