Tuesday, 14 July 2009


'Freedom of speech' shouldn't be used as an excuse to lambast and publicly humiliate people one doesn't particularly like. Saying and writing things with authority doesn't always mean that they are true.

This was highlighted yesterday when ChessBase posted a typical effort by Edward Winter (http://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=5578). Winter is, of course, a fine chess historian but in my opinion his habit of attacking well respected chess personalities lets him down. It's usually the same old stuff recycled time and again.

Naturally, this sort of thing is rife on the Internet (where having to speak face to face isn't a deterrent) but some people are slow to realise that the laws of slander and libel must still be taken into consideration.

Carrying the can for verbal assaults is a dangerous and tricky business. It was interesting to see that yesterday's Winter post was censored a short time after being put on the ChessBase site, with a particularly biting set of comments against a World Champion being hastily deleted.

I still find the post childish and unworthy. ChessBase is one of the finest sites on the Internet and should be above hosting and disseminating second hand hatred and prejudice.


Roger said...

I know you're British, and thus have a different (in my view inferior) sensibility on free speech, yet I'm confused as to why the article you linked to contains anything legally actionable. It was only mildly offensive, and seemingly justified.
Considering that Ireland just passed a ridiculous antiblasphemy law, I wonder what's happening on the isles?

Sean Marsh said...

The original article, before certain parts were censored, contained a much stronger attack on a World Champion.

The basic tone was to repeatedly call the champion a liar (hence the long nose).

The version now on ChessBase has removed all of that particular content, probably due to a threat of legal action.