imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Subscribe Calendar Publish RSS
Features
latest news
best of news
syndication
commentary


KILLRADIO

VozMob

CopWatch LA

ABCF LA

A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List

LAAMN List





IMC Network: www.indymedia.org africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech
printable version - js reader version - email this article - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

Eroding Free Expression in Israel

by Stephen Lendman Monday, Mar. 04, 2013 at 8:24 AM
lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net

freedom

Eroding Free Expression in Israel

by Stephen Lendman

Israel targets anti-war dissent. Demonstrators are beaten and arrested. So are journalists and activists. Arabs are vulnerable. So are Jews.

Military solutions are prioritized. Opposition is called endangering national security. Saying so bears no relation to reality. Israel claims might justifies right. Police states operate that way.

Courts also silence criticism. The Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) said so. Its new report is titled "The Silencer: Libel Litigation as a Threat to Free Speech."

Israel targets social, political, and environmental activists. Bloggers and social network users are endangered. Politicians, businessmen, and other influential figures don't hesitate to sue.

Whether defamation occurred isn't important, said ACRI. Nor is compensation sought. At issue is silencing criticism. ACRI's report explains. Its effect on free expression is chilling.

In the 1970s and 80s, these type suits emerged in America. They followed years of social activism. They're called SLAPPs (Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation).

Plaintiffs use them to silence, intimidate or punish. They're used against outspoken individuals or groups. They target public activism.

Nine US states ban them. How effectively is at issue. Clever lawyers circumvent legal provisions. They find ways to do so.

In the past decade, SLAPPs became more common in Israel. ACRI received numerous complaints. Legal defenses are costly and time consuming.

SLAPPs are a strategic tool. They're used against employees "struggling against exploitation and deprivation, demanding their rights, or attempting to organize a union."

Enormous disparities exist between employers and employees. It's no fair fight. Plaintiffs can bankrupt defendants in the process.

Activists, likeminded organizations and academics, alternative media, and independent local politicians are vulnerable. So are consumers criticizing faulty products. Quashing their efforts is prioritized.

Although many SLAPPs end inconclusively, they chill free expression. Defendants need costly legal representation. Requiring it gets some to withdraw.

Some victories end up symbolic. Time and expense go for naught.

Two types of SLAPPs exist:

(1) Public interest

Some lawsuits follow participation in public discourse. Generally it reflects something of common interest. It may be worker rights, pollution, taking over public lands, or faulty products.

(2) Chilling effect: intimidation

SLAPPs by their nature are chilling. No one wants to be sued. Plaintiffs consider "the likely damage to the public's willingness to participate in public discourse whether the plaintiff's intentions are malicious or pure."

Most SLAPPs reflect other characteristics:

• Defamation: They're based on Anti-Defamation Law grounds

• Economic power imbalances: Pitting ordinary people against deep-pocketed interests assures fights wholly unfair.

• Local disputes: the more local, the smaller the number of people willing to influence public action.

• Absurd claim amounts: some are unconnected to damage caused.

• Baseless, borderline or negligible suits: SLAPPs rest on shaky grounds. Some courts reject them. At the same time, defendants must enlist legal help.

• Plaintiffs' refusal to accept an apology or correction. Doing so ensures protracted legal war.

• Warning and threatening letters: Sending them intimidates enough to silence.

SLAPPs entail social costs. Free expression is chilled. Public activism and discourse are discouraged. Doing so exacts a heavy price.

Democracy dies in shadows. Sunshine is the best disinfectant. SLAPPs deter its effectiveness. They divert arguments from public space to courts. Ordinary people are greatly disadvantaged.

Civil suits take years. They're financially and emotionally draining. Defendants have a heavy cross to bear. Proceedings often end inconclusively. Vital critiques are silenced.

According to ACRI attorney Avner Pinchuk:

"(W)e are witnessing libel claims with a weak or even outlandish basis, yet which are an effective silencing measure against social and environmental activists who speak on matters of public importance."

"Though the court seeks in the course of the trial to maintain a balance between freedom of expression and the right to maintain one’s good name, it fails to see the big picture."

Defense attorney Ishay Shneydor added:

"(S)uing for libel, or writing a letter threatening such a suit, is an inexpensive procedure through which powerful forces succeed in deterring civic participation, placing their critics in a defensive position and preventing or dampening public dialogue on issues of importance."

"If we don’t recognize this phenomenon and develop tools to deal with it, then we are abandoning the public and strengthening those who have the power to silence their opponents."

Haaretz addressed the issue. Its editorial headlined "Speak out against silencing."

It discussed a disturbing reality. Growing numbers of people fear "participat(ing) in public discourse due to fear of being sued and becoming embroiled in lengthy, expensive legal proceedings."

"This is a serious blow to the already fragile fabric of democratic life in Israel." Many examples reflect what's ongoing. Mayors sue opposition councillors.

Social and environmental organizations are threatened. Consumers fear complaining about faulty products.

Solutions require raising awareness. Protective laws need enacting. Israeli ones "merely bolster the deterrent power of" SLAPPs.

Restoring free expression needs to be prioritized. It's too important to lose. It's eroding because powerful interests target it.

Israel's most extremist government in history won't help. People are on their own to demand better. It's their struggle to win or lose.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour
Report this post as:
Share on: Twitter, Facebook, Google+

add your comments


Local News

THE WHITE CITIZEN'S COUNCIL ... AKA KPFK AND FOLKS ON THE WESTSIDE J27 11:16PM

Hundreds March Long Beach to Compton to Protest Los Angeles Sheriff Murder of Noel Aguilar J27 11:14PM

Bernie Sanders at The 2016 Rose Bowl Parade J27 4:25PM

Bernie Sanders at The 2016 Rose Bowl Parade. J27 3:54PM

Vigil for O'Day, Helen, Barry, and Carol-Ann Short, killed by racist terrorists in Fontana J25 8:55PM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

La Relación Mortal Entre el Abuso de Drogas con la Falta de Educación. F08 8:36AM

Capitalism's growth problem F08 2:39AM

Super Bowl 50: Super Militarization and Super Inequality F07 7:09PM

NOT A GRIMM FAIRY TALE F07 2:16PM

The GOP Plan To Steal The Ohio And National Elections F07 12:59PM

28 Reasons To Defeat Jeb Bush's Presidential Ambitions F07 11:49AM

Paraphysique de manipulation mentale et sociale F07 1:36AM

Cartoons Worth a Thousand Words F06 2:01PM

Mortal Kombat X Free Koins F06 10:08AM

Make A Heaven of Hell F06 9:56AM

The world awakens F06 8:11AM

Our Very Own Age of Madness F05 10:05PM

Evidence of police state F05 4:48PM

America's Promise & The Reality F05 9:36AM

Paraphysique de l'autorité F04 11:10PM

The Shortwave Report 02/05/16 Listen Globally! F04 4:45PM

Sanders Coattails: Tim Canova FL23 F04 3:40PM

Overthrown USA Government F04 12:44PM

What's In Hot Dogs, Sausages, Cold Cuts? F03 7:39AM

LAS VIOLACIONES DE LOS DERECHOS HUMANOS EN LA ACTUALIDAD F03 6:52AM

Who is the Radical? Bernie Sanders F03 5:02AM

Sans liberté, sans égalité, sans fraternité F03 2:09AM

Congressional Hearing Examines Puerto Rico Debt Crisis F02 1:31PM

Partial List of Hazardous Waste Places by US States {The USA Atlas Doug Henwood] F02 9:47AM

In 2000, A Tornado Hit Ohio Factory Farm.. Hundreds Of Thousands Of Chickens Bulldozed F01 2:23PM

Some countries question participation in NATO F01 1:47PM

New Canadian government brings opportunity to address housing crisis F01 12:29PM

For US Citizens Article on Medicaid Enrollment 2016 F01 10:37AM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2003 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy