Satire site shut by police lives again

Freedom of speech


The satirical Web site, thinkofthechildren.co.uk, has reactivated - after it was shut down following intervention by police.

Last week, officers from the Metropolitan Police Service's Obscene Publications and Internet Unit contacted the hosts, Host Europe, alleging that that its content had offended some people and could incite others to violence. The site's hosts heeded the police request and shut down the site.

Now the site is back up again. And the man behind the site, Paul Carr, says he wants police to obtain a formal warrant to close down the site - or allow him to continue publishing his satirical work.

In a letter to police Carr said he has re-published the site to "challenge your [the police's] informal request to remove thinkofthechildren.co.uk from the Internet".

He also says he's taken this stand in a bid to "safeguard the right to freedom of speech on the Internet".

Said Carr: "The fact that a small number of people may be confused by the nature and purpose of thinkofthechildren.co.uk is not sufficient grounds to remove it from the public domain."

"If you seriously believe that thinkofthechildren.co.uk is likely to incite violence or public disorder then I would be grateful if you would do me the courtesy of attempting to prosecute me for the offence. Proper legal channels exist for this purpose and I'm sure you know how to use them," he said.

If police continue to apply "informal pressure" on the site's hosts to close it down then Carr says he will establish mirrors outside of UK jurisdiction and seek redress under the European Convention on Human Rights. ®

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