imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Subscribe Calendar Publish RSS
Tell the NSA: StopWatching.US

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
link:

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

KPFK is in double trouble, credit cards misused, and... A24 3:48PM

WW Broad & The War On Public Education In LA A19 8:05AM

KPFK= more. Tired of the turmoil? we are too. A18 4:22PM

KPFK Work Reductions ....signs of an ending now, so soon ? A18 10:30AM

kPFK under threatening duress - even to it's long-established staff by new Gen'l Mgr A16 8:46PM

Secretive Glonvec weapons manufacturer in town A13 9:21AM

KPFK in MeltDown.NOW. A11 11:31AM

KPFK RADIO is essential to Pacifica, who also umbrellas KPFA that may be falling away A07 7:26PM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

Unkilled Hack Generator Download Free Solution S04 2:41PM

[BEST] On The Run Hack Free Tool Cheats S04 2:10PM

False Reports of Russian Military Intervention in Syria S04 11:50AM

Western Support for Israeli State Terror S04 11:21AM

Beach Hack Android ioS add diamonds S04 9:09AM

Suppernanny, Jo Frost Tour Casting S04 6:18AM

Bina Warren S04 6:14AM

Israel's Failed Anti-Iranian Nuclear Deal Campaign S04 5:43AM

Dungeon Boss Hack apk cheats ios android S04 4:59AM

Vladimir Putin Straight Talk S04 3:01AM

Probabilités de fin d'humanité S04 1:15AM

The Shortwave Report 09/04/15 Listen Globally! S03 5:21PM

Zomon The Path of Heroes Hack iOS Android Cheats S03 2:43PM

League of Angels Fire Raiders Hack Tool Online S03 2:20PM

Western Leaders Snub China's WW II Victory Commemoration S03 11:51AM

Obama's Covert Drone War on Syria S03 11:23AM

Propaganda alert: 6 weeks after nuclear deal: "Israel more ready than ever to strike Iran" S03 9:56AM

Philippines: Bongbong’s whitewashing of Marcos name anathema to 2016 plans S03 5:30AM

Guatemalan President Resigns: Faces Corruption Charges S03 5:11AM

Veto-Proof Senate Margin Achieved for Iran Nuclear Deal S03 12:38AM

La pensée conditionnée S02 11:36PM

The truth of our time S02 7:12PM

Kurt cobains half brother hit and the mom of Kurt brown. Saint ram bone S02 2:09PM

Dollar As World's Reserve Currency Threatened S02 10:43AM

More Lawless US Sanctions on Russia S02 10:20AM

New Israeli Police State Measure S02 3:51AM

Gaza: A Socioeconomic Dead Zone S02 1:46AM

Dream ending for circus lions rescued in South America: Huge airlift to take 33 lions home S01 4:49PM

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