Thursday 19 August 2010

A question of freedom of speech

Towards the end of last year, I posted a blog entry which merely repeated some correspondence that I'd had with a former tenant. I'd been asked by the council for his details as they felt he owed them council tax, and I provided those details. For that I was subjected to a torrent of abuse and threats. I wrote about it as it was one of those episodes in life that are memorable and even terrifying and I'd been shocked by how someone could behave.

I'd forgotten about it until today, when I received two emails from him demanding I remove the post and all traces of it. It goes against the grain...after all I was doing no more than report something that had happened. It was entirely factual. I don't think I did anymore than a newspaper, or the BBC could do. But as a gesture, I've edited it to remove the name and contact details. I've no idea whether this is sufficient.

But the point is, this is re-writing history, changing a report of something that actually happened. That's what Orwell wrote about, that's what totalitarian regimes do. This person doesn't want the world to know what he's really like. That seems dangerous to me.