When Everyone Is A Blogger, Nothing You Say Is Off The Record

From TechCrunch:

When Everyone Is A Blogger, Nothing You Say Is Off The Record
by Robin Wauters on November 28, 2008

There’s a lot of buzz here in the Belgian blogosphere and mainstream media about an incident involving a New York-based blogger, who was fired from her job as a bartender after publishing a post on the bar visit of a Belgian politician. I’m generally hesitant to share ‘local’ stories here because I want to keep it relevant. In this particular case, I think it is.

Current Belgian Minister of Defense Pieter De Crem apparently stumbled into a Belgian bar in New York City on Monday evening with his entourage. Following his visit, bartender Nathalie Lubbe Bakker blogged about their visit (in Dutch), talking about how disgusted she was of how drunk De Crem was and how embarrased she was about his behavior. Worst part, she wrote, was the fact that one of the politician’s advisors admitted to her that the meetings they were there for on taxpayer’s money were in fact cancelled because the UN was meeting in Geneva (which is about 330 miles from Brussels). He reportedly told her they had decided to come to NY anyway despite being aware of the cancellation because the policital situation here was ‘calm’ and that he’d ‘never visited the city anyway’.

A couple of days later, someone from De Crem’s office had a telephone call with Nathalie’s boss, after which she was promptly fired. This was initially denied by the politician, and it remains unclear if her termination was a direct result of the call or the blog post in question.

Read the whole story.

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About James G. Milles

Professor of Law, SUNY Buffalo Law School

Posted on November 28, 2008, in Privacy, Reputation. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. DE CREM AND THE POLITICS OF OPACITY

    Congratulations to Nathalie, and her blog we badly need this kind of criticism. Fascist reactions like the one of minister De Crem confirm the web’s democratic potential and the continued repression of Freedom of Speech anno 2008: corrupt, obscure individuals like De Crem CAN and SHOULD be criticised, through whateer medium (mass media, internet, etc.).

    Nathalie’s blog indeed sheds light on the importance of OPACITY in current Belgian Politics, and politics in general: the less the people know, the better (for corrupt politicians). This kind of scandals should become public more often in order to live in a fairer world. It’s astonishing to see that corrupt minister De Crem is still in power while I am writing this: he should of course have been fired, not because of his smallmindedness, but because of abuse of public funds, and publicly lying about his abominous, shameful act of vengeance: firing an innocent girl overseas, and simultaneously and perversely adopting the role of the victim. I hope many more of us will keep blogging and contribute to a more transparent, fairer world.

    Keep blogging, Nathalie!
    Keep blogging, folks!

    Final note: I visited the Belgian Parlement on July 21. What stroke me was that there are NO windows in the amphitheater where our Ministers debate. A perfect metaphor for some of our politicians: they are trapped in their political games and truly miss a “window on the world”.

    Kris
    (a Belgian abroad, with a critical view on the world)

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