Anonymous writes "ICANNWatch recently published an article based on CIRA's press release concerning an alleged libel by CIRAWatch and the retaliatory lawsuit by CIRA.
Jonathan Cohen, an ICANN Director, personally commented on CIRAWatch in an article entitled "A Personal Opinion" in which he called a CIRA libel response 'draconian'. Cohen continues with "If at any time the CIRA Board should avoid being high-handed, this is it and I feel that over sensitivity, like the kind it has displayed in response to this article, is not only entirely inappropriate and a mistake, but also very disappointing."
"Cohen concludes with "I submit that if it is felt this article/criticism (or any other), is not factually correct, unfair, biased, bigoted or the like, a reasoned and articulate response from CIRA will be far more effective (in all respects) in silencing such critics than a lawsuit."
Isn't CIRA in the middle of an election to the Board? In the meantime, who is running the show, the current Board, which includes the likes of Michael Geist, or the staff? They certainly don't appear to be listening to ICANN, whom have significantly more experience in dealing with public scrutiny (if that's saying anything). I shudder to think of what would happen to this site if ICANN came down on you every time you said boo - I wouldn't know ANYTHING about ICANN if it weren't for this site."
[Editor's note: Thanks for your concern. CIRAWatch has to contend with Canada's laws. Being based in the USA, ICANNWatch benefits from some of the most protective libel laws in the world: Not only is truth an absolute defense, so too is a good-faith effort to ascertain the truth. (Plus, we have absolutely no assets worth suing for.) As regards what our users contribute as comments, we are shielded by the Communications Decency Act: commentators have liability for their posts, but we mostly don't. That said, I don't consider our moral responsibilities to be defined simply by the libel laws. We do hope that our contributors to think carefully about their contributions, and we don't run every article we are sent for the main page. Although editorial approval isn't needed to post article comments, we have on rare occasions in the past deleted material that even if it didn't create liability, because it failed to meet even our minimum standard of acceptability. These deletions are always disclosed.
As for Mr. Cohen's comments, although he and I have had our differences in the past, I think he's surely right about this one.-mf]
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