Today’s Opinion: Support

POSTED: 05/5/11 12:28 PM

We marveled at the support from Prime Minister Wescot-Williams for the free and independent press in St. Maarten. We surely appreciate that support, but it is about time that somebody defines the limits of that freedom.

We’re not waiting for anyone to put us on a short leash, not at all, but we think that it is time to call a spade a spade. Freedom of speech is not absolute. It is for instance forbidden by law to slander people. It is also forbidden to incite hatred or violence.

We have no problem with those rules. But when we look around us, we see that there are others, especially in the so-called blogosphere, that don’t give a rat’s behind about those rules. Automatically these days, the name of Internet terrorist Judith Roumou comes to mind. She raves and rants all over the web, insulting people, accusing them without a shred of proof of anything and everything….and guess what: the current penal code has no provisions to punish her for her outrageous behavior.

We even hear about some darker sides to these Internet-activities, but because we currently have no proof, we will hold back here, instead of falling into the Roumou-trap by making unfounded allegations ourselves.

While we cherish freedom of speech and while we will always defend the right of others to express themselves freely, even if they are called Roumou (unless they break the rules of decency), we suspect that the media law that is in the pipeline may come down hard on certain media-outlets if they do not clean up their acts.

That would be a bloody shame, because when governments start to interfere with the media one thing is certain: there will always be rules that are going to hamper the free flow of information.

While the internet seems to be the ideal tool for this, the abuse as practices by the Roumou’s of this world puts the freedom of others needlessly in jeopardy.

 

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