Defaming the bigoted

The Citizen Media Law Project have launched an important new project, a Legal Threats Database.

The “goal is to create an accurate and complete collection of legal threats directed at online speech.”

Take the case Khalaji v. Derakhshan:

In October 2007, Mohammed Mehdi Khalaji, a fellow of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, filed a defamation lawsuit in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice against prominent Iranian-born, Canadian-based blogger Hossein Derakhshan. Khalaji alleges that, in a number of posts beginning in October 2005, Derakhshan made defamatory comments about him in Persian.

Specifically, Khalaji takes issue with Derakhshan’s claims that he (Khalaji) was working for a right-wing think tank that openly supports the policy of “regime change” in Iran, that he was “giving ideas to the cruelest and dirtiest enemies of Iran and humanity,” and that he was “the only Iranian who has worked for both Khameni’s office and Dick Cheney’s, who intends to bomb Khalaji’s former office building plus thousands of men, women and children living in the surrounding area.” Derakhshan disputes the accuracy of Khalaji’s translations of these statements.

In his lawsuit, which was filed on October 19, 2007, Khalaji seeks $2 million in damages based on these and other allegedly defamatory statements, which he claims are malicious and designed to incite violence against him and his family.

Prior to the lawsuit, on July 27, 2007, Khalaji’s lawyers sent a letter to Derkhshan, his domain registrar (GoDaddy), and his hosting service (Hosting Matters, Inc), demanding that defamtory posts about him be taken down. Hosting Matters ultimately terminated Derakhshan’s accounts in August 2007. Days later, Derakhshan’s blogs were back online with a different hosting service, 1&1 Internet, apparently with the disputed posts still in place.

Text and images ©2024 Antony Loewenstein. All rights reserved.

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