This morning it was announced that Paul Chambers who had been convicted of making a ‘menacing’ tweet under the 2003 Communications Act, has had his conviction quashed. He was found innocent of all charges by three Appeal Court judges.
To most people reading this the news is not only brilliant for Paul, his partner Sarah (@crazycolours) and their families. It is also a victory for freedom of speech and expression, especially online. So it is with extra joy that the news was first reported and now is being celebrated on our favourite social media platform.
Without detracting to much from Paul’s big day and the wonderful feeling of relief and sense that justice has been done – at last (his case went on for over two years), I want to ask a question.
Does everyone who is celebrating today support freedom of speech – FOR EVERYONE?
One of the things I have done in recent years is heartily piss off some academics. By criticising their work and their political positions in the area of sex and gender. Of those academics, three have tweeted support of Paul Chambers and his great verdict today. But I want to know if they actually believe that people – including me – have the right to express our views freely, on twitter, on blogs, by email, in ‘RL’.
So I ask Petra Boynton whose writing on sex research I have critiqued recently, and who I hear is not very happy with me and my ‘behaviour’, if she supports freedom of speech for all?
I ask Mark Mccormack who had my (critical) review of his first book on ‘declining homophobia’ taken off a sociology website a few months ago, if he supports freedom of speech for all?
And I ask Chris Ashford, a gay academic who on twitter told his academic colleagues taking part in a conference using a #hashtag that ‘This Is A Troll’, this meaning me, and who thinks I should be ‘ignored’ on twitter, if he supports freedom of speech for all?
The following academic has not tweeted support of Paul Chambers today but I want to ask him too:
Finally I ask Ian Rivers another gay academic and an expert in ‘bullying’, particularly ‘homophobic’ bullying, who is a senior colleague of Mark Mccormack and who did not challenge him taking down my review of his book from the internet, and who also seems to be disapproving of me and what I say online, if he supports freedom of speech for all?
I think my questions may be answered soon and I will be sure to report the answers on twitter, if I am allowed to that is.