While courts can slap gagging orders on established media to stop certain information being published, it’s very clear that they have little control over what members of the public post online on blogs and forums.
So it is with the case of Brendan Sokaluk, the man accused of deliberately starting one of the bush fires in Victoria, Australia.
The court may have stopped the newspapers from divulging Sokaluk’s photo and street address, some bloggers have been posting such information online.
Police deputy commissioner Kieran Walshe says that this action could jeopardise the case against the accused. Apparently “police are looking into what can be done about the blogging”, though I’d say “precious little”.
With a mass of bloggers comes a myriad of opinion over what is acceptable to publish and what should be left alone. It’s going to be an increasing problem for the judicial system. Just because it’s illegal or, at least, unethical to divulge case details online, it’s virtually impossible to stop it completely, particularly as it’s quite easy to post near-anonymously online.
(Via Australian IT)