Thursday, March 30, 2006

Success! Transparency International Backs Down against Moni

So Goliath falls again. This time Goliath was massive company Transparency International, who has provided a statement, in writing, to Moni stating that the law suit against Moni will not go forward. The letter has not been published, but Moni’s lawyer, Udo Vetter, is satisfied that this case is now closed.

Notice that I, and most of the German bloggers out there, are claiming success. But success did not come from the rehiring of Moni’s friend, because that was not the issue, though many missed that. The issue was one of free speech. The issue was a company so dedicated to open, honest, and fair practices by companies and governments suppressing any opinions about the company. DW-World quoted Moni as saying:

"To be honest I had actually expected that they would welcome a critical comment," Moni told "After all, Transparency International, as anyone can read on their Web site, explicitly approves whistle blowing."

For their part, it appears that it’s finally beginning to dawn on Transparency’s governing body that they made a mistake in attacking Moni. TI’s General Manager said that they were sick of being the most searched for company on the web, at least so long as all the searches maintain a negative connotation. He goes on to say:

"We simply asked our lawyer to get involved in the case," she said. "It's definitely possible to debate if the extent of the action was appropriate." When asked what TI's next steps would be, Jochen Bäumel, a TI board member, replied "nothing. It doesn't matter what we do, it will be wrong," he added. "Maybe we shouldn't have reacted at all."

Yes, Dagmar, that is the point. You should not have reacted at all. You have the right to decide to hire or fire, and what wages and hours to offer. But you never had the right to try to intimidate someone for questioning your decisions. And that is where the company erred.

Larko points out that this will not be the last incident of its kind. He is right on target when he says that censorship takes place all over the internet, and that most cases go unpublicized. He stresses the importance to remember those people who fought to preserve their free speech, people like Moni, who are true heroes. And Sapere Aude points out that already another case of free speech for a blogger is brewing.

But while I have not received a good translation of the new case yet, the translation I have received makes it quite clear that Keine Panik a blogger who was told to remove content from his blog, would have let it pass, would have let his right to free speech be violated, had he not read about Moni, not seen that he does have rights as a blogger, and as a person.

And that’s where the whole Moni incident is so important; it tells people everywhere that they have the right to speak their mind on their blog, and that in Western countries, that right is protected, both by the laws of these societies, and by the blogging community itself, who sill not stand idly by while censorship occurs. That’s how Moni made a difference!

Now that the case is closed, I want to take one moment to thank three people: First, Larko, a great Estonian blogger who has been helping me make sure my translations are accurate. Second, Sapere Aude, who’s passion for this case has been obvious as he consistently greets my posts with more news and updates.

And finally, Moni, a brave woman who stood up for her right to free speech. She wasn’t looking for money or fame, she just wanted to be treated fairly. Like so many other heroes, Moni never wanted to be a hero, but she did what needed to be done, and helped protect the rights of millions of bloggers around the world. Thank you, Moni, I will not forget you!

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Posted by Scottage at 12:01 PM / | |