Tonight I was served with a court order notice instructing me to “take down or disable material from the blog Your NZ that mentions or identified [person’s name] or [company name], or any of it’s associated companies directly or indirectly” and “introduce a full time moderator systems so that no comment that is harmful to said person is placed on the blog “Your NZ”.
I make no comment on the dispute itself between Pete George and the party who gained the court order.
I am concerned however that a Judge has made a ruling that a blogger must “introduce a full time moderator systems so that no comment that is harmful to said person is placed on the blog”.
It is unclear under which statute the Judge has made the ruling. It may be the Harmful Digital Communications Act, but this is not stated in the court order.
I don’t have a problem with an interim order instructing content be removed. That is a proper and not entirely uncommon thing to occur.
But an order that a blog must introduce a full time moderator system is deeply concerning. If such an order was granted against Kiwiblog, I would probably have to stop publishing.
It isn’t even clear what the court means by a full-time moderator, but I presume it means you must manually review and approve every comment made before it appears. For a large traffic blog such as Kiwiblog, that would kill the discussion threads and possibly the blog.
So again I have no view on the dispute itself, but I am concerned that a Judge has made such a wide-ranging order. If the order is under the Harmful Digital Communications Act, then it shows that the concerns about that Act had considerable validity.
UPDATE: Some readers have said they don’t think the action is under the HDCA as most of it is not in force. The court ruling (which I have seen) does not mention the Act at all. But I am told by someone who knows the plaintiff or complainant that the action is under Sections 222 to 25 of the HDCA, which are in force.